Saturday, April 30, 2011

A pause for the cause and shoring up the foundations

I hope you’ll excuse my taking a necessary pause in the battle, a moment to reflect. I began this blog five years ago, as a place to take the place of the people I didn’t find available to talk to about what I was learning – after all, the people who have an interest in reading Sophocles and Shakespeare, Aristotle and Irving Babbitt and all points in between, are few and far between. I get that. Not a problem. This blog began as, and still is, a place for me to reflect upon the layers and depths I was finding between what I knew to be true on the surface, and the depths of what I was finding that that knowledge meant was actually True.

One of my favorite plays is Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, because it follows Oedipus as he finds that there is a very great gap between what he knew, and what it meant - though he found it out too late. One day Oedipus learns that there was a prophecy made which fated that he would kill his father and marry his mother, and understandably he was horrified at the thought, and sought to flee from it.

But Oedipus made the most common and fundamental mistake known to man, he assumed that the facts he knew, meant that he knew what he was dealing with, and how to deal with it – and he couldn’t have been more wrong. Oedipus assumed that the facts he knew, were the totality of what they meant, and as is nearly always the case, that was deeply wrong, and consequently the actions he took to solve the problem, and more importantly to consider it was solved and no longer worth consideration, brought about the fulfillment of the prophecy he thought he successfully fled from.

Oedipus fled his problem, which always seems a physical possibility, fled far away from his home to another country, where predictably he met a proud man at a crossroads who humiliated him and threatened him and in retaliation Oedipus killed him. Oedipus continued on to the capital of Thebes, dealt with a monsters riddle about the nature of Man, solved it, and considering that that was all there was to be contained in the riddle, pushed it from his mind as well. Thebes, newly lacking a King, his having been recently killed by an unknown assailant, awarded Oedipus his place, by marrying him to the newly widowed Queen.

The mother and father Oedipus knew as his parents, weren’t the people who conceived and bore him, his true parents, his true parents were the proud man and King, he had met and killed at the crossroads, and his widowed Queen – but they were told a prophecy when he was born, that their child would grow up to kill the King and marry the Queen, and so, seeking the easy, obvious, surface level conclusion, they ordered the baby to be exposed, abandoned on a hillside, where it was expected to die.

Problem solved, move along, no need for any further consideration.

But as happens, the truth will out. As happens, the surface level, unreflective answer, the obvious conclusion, is nearly always, if not wrong, at the very least not fully correct – and giving it no further consideration nearly always leads to worse problems down the road, often taking the shape of what you originally sought to escape.

Hamlet is another favorite of mine. The first line in the play is “Who goes there?!”, and the rest of the play, IMHO, is Hamlet’s discovery that he has no understanding at all of who goes about within his own skin. Hamlet, newly home from the University, discovers that all of his new modern ideas and schemes show themselves to be utterly empty, nothing but plans without substance, and the real substance he did have in his life, such as Ophelia, are rapidly destroyed because of them, and his own complete destruction builds and follows upon the emptiness of his newly minted knowledge.

You won’t find many accepted interpretations of Oedipus Rex or Hamlet which match mine, and that’s fine, for it is mine – but that doesn’t mean that either play has no form or meaning, or that it can mean anything to anyone and nothing to everyone, as the modernist, post-modernist, structuralist’s horrors of modernity would have you think.

Literature, History, Philosophy, have definite shape and form, they have meaning because the world we live within is real, and we are able to understand it. If I were to start a new literary theory, it might be called looking-glassism, and it would hold that plays, literature, history, etc, have definite objective form and meaning, just as a looking glass or prism does, but that that doesn’t lock it into some fixed and frozen state as if affixed to a museum wall. Their forms are there for you to grasp, examine, learn, admire, like a multi-faceted diamond, but unlike a diamond, they are not just for decoration – though they excel at that too, as any object of beauty does - but more than mere decoration, they are there for you to use and to develop your own understanding of yourself, from having used them.

The Liberal Arts are there for you not only to pick up, but to examine your world, and yourself, with, they can help you to see deeper and further than you would ever have been able to on your own, in short, they serve to fire your imagination and with your help, they can fan it into a mighty forge, and help you recreate your life and world into something more than it was or could have been without them. And perhaps most surprising of all, to the fan of the modern mind, is that when you look deeply into that forge, you’ll find that Religion was there all along, waiting for you to come back to the heart of the matter – it does work in mysterious ways.

Where am I going with this? Somewhere very relevant to the battle we are facing.

Critically vital to the world today, and our battle for it, is understanding that Imagination is not a trifle, it is not a thing to be entertained with or by, and then put away when more serious matters need to be dealt with, it is the very core of our lives, it is the indispensible flame of Reason itself, and it forms the heart and soul of Western Civilization – it is why the west has triumphed. The West was not sprung from the battles of Thermopylae or the politics Athens or Jerusalem or Rome or London, it, unlike other cultures, sprang from its own imagination through the works of Homer, The Bible, Brutus and Octavia, Shakespeare, and it was honed into practical form by men like Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Aquinas and Locke, and infused it further into our lives through our cultures religious understanding – we are a Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian culture, and if we cease to be, we will cease to be.

Imagination is critical to who we are, and its banishment, step by step over the last two centuries, has served as the measure of our losing who we once were and should be. Imagination draws connections and integrations, and together with the systematic examination of our choices and what we can imagine will follow from them – a method we know as Logic - Imagination, choice and logic have fused into our distinctive Western version of the faculty of Reason – and with it the West has risen to prominence in the world like no other in history, in fact there is no history, without it or us.

The hallmark of Imagination is that it is always integrative, always deepening the understanding of what we know, always illuminating and expanding the breadth and width of our comprehension of the world, and of ourselves, and consequently elevating our true positions within it; ever scaling and pursuing Truth, and the Good, the Beautiful and the True mark it’s place and passage, wherever we go. Michelangelo, Shakespeare, the Declaration of Independence are the signal signs of our Western Culture, and no other one on earth has, or can, approach them, except as they manage to follow in our footsteps.

It’s cultural opposite, and often crudely aping it, is the pursuit of power and thrills, it’s the disintegrative, the fixed, the shallow conclusion arbitrarily made and without support in reality – the Doubt over the Question - and it often achieves seeming places of power, but it is brittle, ugly, and disjointed, relying upon Quantities alone, having shut itself out of and away from Quality. Wherever it appears you’ll find, should you look below the surface, that it leaves gaps, holes, places of darkness and is always marked by mere actions of physical power and fleeting thrills – shock in place of wonder - and the ugliness of the disharmonious view is everywhere on display in modern art, as are the plethora of lies ‘noble’ or otherwise, that masquerade as its literature, economics or politics.

It is Evil, and I hate it with all of my heart and soul. That doesn’t mean I need to rant or demonstrate against it, such actions I find often masks what you wish were your response, but don’t actually feel, rather it is a response which emanates of its own, rather than a proscribed demonstration. In short, I hate the sin, not the sinner.

What benefitih it a man…
What does any of this have to do with politics? What does it have to do with the world today? It might be surprising, given my recent history, to hear that I don’t give a rat’s ass for politics, not in and of itself, the machinery of power has zero interest to me, I don’t care about it at all. I assume that’s surprising, because I was recently asked by someone I thought knew me well, “Would you rather be a fabulously powerful and wealthy communist dictator, or an utterly impoverished freeman?”, there was no consideration needed, I answered the later, and I was surprised to hear that those who asked me were surprised by my response. “I thought you’d choose the wealth and power, you’re always going on about it so”, and that took me aback for a bit.

On the surface, I suppose that seems to be so, I oppose, often loudly, those who would regulate businesses, tax away peoples wealth, weaken our military and push ugliness as art, but like so many surface facts, these are incidental results of what I believe, not the purpose or meaning of what I care about.

I’m interested in what is true, and what makes truth possible for us to discover, and that is Reason, in the form as described above; imagination, choice and method, united as best as we are able, in the pursuit of and for the purpose of bringing ourselves into intimate association with what is True. In that quest follows, as it must, the Good, the Beautiful and the True, and with that is made possible a worthwhile life, as well as liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

What interferes with that, is my enemy.

I don’t give a damn about politics, but I care deeply about ideas, specifically about ideas that are True, and the place in our lives where ideas are most brought into action and affect our lives, is politics – it is to that extent, that I seem to be concerned with politics, business or wealth, but the ideas come first, because the Truth precedes both.

You may not care about this. I don’t really care if you do or not, this is my blog, not yours.

But I care about it, deeply, and IMHO you should as well, because whether or not your realize it, you are being swept up and locked in the same battle every day as I am, by those things you recognize as being important, such as politics, public education, the economy, and they are important – on the surface. But if they have no substance, no integrated meaning behind and beneath what you see, they will fail and fall, and so will we all, for as our Founding Fathers recognized, without Virtue, Principle, Morality – the ultimate marks of deeply integrated and non-contradictory ideals – our American world will fall and pass away.

And that which opposes us, the darkness which has found form in leftism, implicitly understands this.

Descartes, Rousseau, Hume, Kant, Hegel & Marx, began pulling the threads out of the moral and imaginative tapestry of our Western World, and it has been unraveling ever since and ever faster, due to the efforts of monstrous people like Antonio Gramsci, who understood where our true strength lay – our ideas and how we formed them – and he, and a few others, knew how to attack it and kill it, and how to unwittingly enlist our aid in our own destruction – through our best intentions.

You, today, can see the effects of these ideas playing out in the utterly soddenly grey matter of our children’s educational materials, textbooks, and the new reasons given for educating us with them, as well as in political measures such as banning children from playing games. Roger Stone was on Dana Loesch’s radio program the other week, and he hit the nail on the head. As she told him of the story of New York State’s attempt to regulate and ban kickball and other childhood games, he said “Sounds like they’re trying to banish imagination from our kids’ lives”, and that is exactly the case and true to the bone.

Imagine there’s no Heaven, it’s easy if you try…
The overwhelming focus of modern philosophy, especially visible in ‘thinkers’ like Wundt, Hegel, Fichte, is that Free Will is an illusion, that it doesn’t exist, and what we mistakenly think of as choices and decisions, are just the determined result of a complex game of billiards and multiple bank shots. Enemy #1 of such an idea is imagination. Imagination is the supreme expression of Free Will, and the ultimate refutation of determinism in every form, and on one level or another, it has been viciously attacked, discounted and subjected to insult and putdowns. Look in your school today at what they try to substitute for imagination, simple incongruity… odd and unexpected random actions and activities. Hat day, pajama day… disintegrated and idiotic randomness… but real imagination, Harry Potter for instance, is savaged right off the bat, discounted and dismissed.

You might say “Well, that’s ridiculous to tie those things together, that’s simply unrelated, those are just cases where regulators are looking to expand their power”, which is partially true, on the surface, but why are they seeking to, and why are they looking in that particular direction to do so?

To dismiss this is to not fully realize the extent to which fundamental ideas are expressed, even when not explicitly understood to be at play. In the same way that two people can grasp a concept to varying degrees, but still be working off the same core ideas, so too can the effects of fundamental ideas be guided by commonly held principles. The child and the philosopher who see someone given only half a bag of popcorn for their money, while another gets a full bag, might both say “That’s not fair!”, and both would be expressing their grasp of the same concept, but there is a difference in that the child probably does not connect the thought to anything else beyond that action, while the philosopher (assuming a real, non-modernistic one) can connect the underlying concepts and principles to their ethics, politics, economics, aesthetics and even to the realm of mathematics.

Our knowledge, to the extent that it is actual knowledge, is always reflected as being a part of one integrated whole – whether or not we manage to grasp and express it as a smooth sphere or as a jagged and disjointed thistle, it is still one, and the deeper the roots of an idea go, the more areas of life it will find expression in.

Look again at the scene I showed you the other week, the EPA regulator in absolute terror of acknowledging reality, his absolute refusal to state the word which he, and everyone else knows to be true, these issues, imagination, education and the use of political power, are deeply connected, in what they most fundamentally reject – imagination and free will.

Leftist ideals find their root in not only a denial of free will, but of our ability to perceive reality at all, a point that was again driven home to me by an extended email conversation I had with a leftist recently, that they actually do deny that we can know that reality exists.

Blink.

Seriously.

Via Hume’s assertion that we can’t know anything for certain, Rousseau’s denial of Rights and free will and Kant’s assertion that reality is ultimately unknowable, all are rooted in Descartes’ attempt to put consciousness before that which it is we are conscious of, he legitimized the arbitrary doubt and conclusion, putting his “I think” before and above, what is, “I am”, making it philosophically possible to make your desires more important and real, than the reality we live within.

There are implications that follow from those thoughts and in them are an opposition to reality and our ability to perceive it, and they consequently find themselves to be in direct opposition to Truth as such, as well as its many implications, and if you care to look, you’ll find them expressed in the ideas of Karl Poppers (and George Soros’) ‘Open Society’ and other aspects of ‘Social Justice’. Look at their Art, or what passes for it, and you’ll see their world and their soul reflected in the ugly splashes of color and lines. A denial of Free Will, of consciousness, a demand for and a denial of Natural Law and Individual Rights, as Hegel and Marx so clearly declared, can be seen on any leftist campus today, and they are no longer confined to ivy covered halls along our east and west coasts, they even spreads their darkness blatantly and openly, amongst us here in Missouri.

The supposedly separate issues of school curriculum and your right to your property, your income and life and Law, are all intricately tied together. The common ideas of modernity are fully and completely in opposition to everything that America is founded upon, and which the Constitution expresses, and these filthy professors, Judy Ancel and her associates from the Communist Party, know it, and they preach it, preach the disintegrated harshness of it in what they laugh about – the intimidation and violence of using force as an acceptable norm and means of persuasion.

Truth and trivia
The next leftie wit who asks you if you can recite Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, and takes that as a sign of your not understanding it (I’m assuming you can’t, as I can’t, though I’ve studied it for decades), you can take that as their self-confessed belief that they think that simple disjointed surface facts, having the substance of trivia, constitute actual knowledge and understanding.

Simply reply that having learned to read, and having the entire Constitution quickly at hand, perhaps even in your pocket, is sufficient enough, and then ask them if they can answer a more useful and telling question of whether or not they can tell you WHY there is an Article I, Section 8, Clause 1, or any other article, section or clause within the Constitution? Ask them if they understand that these passages exist to define the nature and limits of government, in order to secure liberty, establish justice and ensure the domestic tranquility through achieving the purpose of binding the powerful down to clear and defined laws? If you can do that, then if you are quick enough, you might be able to pull out your cameraphone and snap a picture of their backsides as they run away from you.

As you do so, know that you are their enemy, and that they fear you, and that is why they condone violence as a means of persuasion – they have no other means available to them.

They seek to break the chains which the Constitution binds the use of power down with, and once broken, they will willingly and eagerly release leviathan, perhaps oblivious to the fact that it is a monster, for on the surface of their minds they believe that they want nothing more than to help you, to make you safe in every way – but if you give that thought the slightest consideration which they evade, if you look beyond the surface, that intent should be as terrifying a prospect as Hitler’s Reich, for indeed, they came from the same place.

We are in a war, perhaps the most consequential one in history, because we are fighting not only for control of a geographical region, but for the realm of ideas and the survival of all that is Good and Beautiful and True.

Don’t shrug it off, think it over, and fight it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Do you like your iPad? What is it that keeps it in your hands? Hint: it ain't Che or Fidel or Karl.

Do you have any prized possessions? Even something mostly trivial, but which you delight in... an iPod or an iPad maybe? Suppose you're enjoying it, and a fellow walks up and says,
“Hey, you like yer iPod? So do I, hand it over, you don't have no right to keep me in silence, hand it over. Or else...!
Imagine if the people standing all around you, all began to nod in agreement, not with you, but with the person demanding your property. Authorities, over hearing what's going on, approach, glaring at you and nodding for you to hand it over. Does that sound like a place you'd like to live in? Or does that sound like the sort of place you'd flee from? Fast...?

Does such a place sound to you like one that's discovered the true meaning of Justice, or like one bringing on the destruction of, Justice? Well that scene is the message that is being taught as an ideal to your children in Missouri's college system today; the message that if others have what you want, and if there are enough numbers 'in solidarity' with your group, then you can and should force those who have what you don't, to spread the wealth around - or else - or else they will have their property smashed and their bodies beaten or even killed.

And I'll bet there's a good chance that, in some ways, you've helped push that message along as well, even if you didn't know it. Have you ever bought or maybe smiled an 'Ooh edgy!' thought about someone wearing a Che shirt? If you don't have a visceral reaction of dread to the term Communism, then you have almost certainly helped to further it in one way or another.

Modern political philosophy began when Jean-Jacque Rousseau declared that he’d traced the origins of injustice to the first man who fenced off property and called it his own, married a woman and started a family, that was the source of all injustice, and his solution was that,
“Each of us puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will, and, in our corporate capacity, we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole.”
Everything else in political modernity is rooted in that thought, and it is in absolute, irreconcilable opposition to what this nation was founded upon, Property Rights and the family. I've got news for you, that idea, and your iPad, cannot remain within the same society for long, and it doesn't matter if you realize it or not; when you start down a path, you will wind up where it leads you, unless you change course.

All of modern political thought is rooted in that fundamental idea of Rousseau's, Kant made it respectable,
Hegel gave it a mystical appeal and a scientific sheen, Marx popularized it, and Robespierre, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao put it into practice and showed us what it must ultimately end in - rivers and oceans of blood.
Socialism, Communism, Marxism, Fascism, Progressivism, are all only different flavors of the same anti-property rights koolaid.

Rousseau mixed up the very first batch of this modern koolaid, his admirer Robespierre poured the first round, and modern intellectuals have been thirsting for and gulping it down, ever since. Rousseau fully understood what his ideas meant, and he understood that people such as those in small towns perhaps, would " ... get bitter, they'd cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people ", he knew some would resist poeple who would try and take their lives from them, they would bitterly cling to their property and families with antipathy towards those who would try to 'free' them of them. For most people, when you come for what is theirs, it wouldn't matter that experts from the likes of Rousseau to Obama would claim to know better what's best for them, they'd want to keep what is theirs. With that in mind, Rousseau followed it up with the statement that legislators, whom he idealized as gods among men, must understand, that for the common man, the bourgeoisie , you, that, "This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free.", and that is just what they did during the French Revolution, cutting the heads off of thousands of those who didn't fit in with their democratic plans.

Rousseau's ideas (particularly with "Emile, or education") have formed the foundation of our modern ideas of education, so it should be no surprise that today these monsters of banality are teaching your children that violence is an acceptable tactic, that threats and intimidation must be used to force the rich and the 'bourgeoisie' to comply with their ideas of 'social justice'.

But when these people talk of 'eating the rich', you should keep in mind that they hate the bourgeoisie even more than the rich, for it is you, the middle class, who are the ones that they see standing most in their way, you are the ones preventing them from establishing their Utopia - in the place of what was once yours.

When a Union organizer brags, in a university classroom, as instruction to STUDENTS,, that, as KMOX put it,
"The tape also shows Giljum telling students how his union intimidated a company CEO by sending union members to his church and a shopping mall to “bump into him” and ask the CEO how the negotiations were going. To the delight of students giggling, Giljum said the CEO became so intimidated that he started wearing a “flack jacket” on the plant floor to protect himself."
What the hell else is that, if not,
"Your money or your life!"
And truer words were never spoken - if you don't give them your money, and renounce your right to it, they will take your life - given the chance. If you don't think that that is the lesson that is being taught, and learned in your university system!, then explain this next quote to me,

"Another student, a young woman, poses the question of how many people have to attack a bank before it’s no longer considered an act of terrorism, but part of a revolution."
Do you recognize who is saying those words to you every day of your life? In your favorite T.V. show? On the News? In your Schools? In your Government? The old joke of conservatives hunting under beds for communists falls flat today, you'll find them standing in public, just look to your left... and to your right too.

How long do you suppose they will stop at only saying these words, how long before they begin acting upon them?

Communists support the abolition of property rights – what is it you are counting on to protect you when they do? What toys do you suppose you’ll have left, when you don’t have a right to retain anything of your own, or to even listen to what or who you wish to listen to? Madison said you had a property in your life... what’ll that be worth?

What are you counting on to protect you? The good will of these instructors or their fawning students? Are you assuming that you can count on protection from the Constitution? Are you counting on the Rule of Law?

If you've supported the idea that the government should confiscate the earnings of Executives, then you're supported throwing out the principle that anyone has a right to their property - what is it you think is going to keep them from taking what was once yours? If you've supported a Govt run healthcontrol system which mandates that you must purchase it or face fine and/or imprisonment, do you not realize that implementing such systems means throwing out the Constitution, the Rule of Law, and the principles they rest upon?!

Your Rights depend upon the Rule of Law, and that depends upon Property Rights; without that, law is just the enshrinement of force for the whims of particular men. Far from being the origin of injustice, Property Rights are the very foundation of Justice. As a friend said the other day, in response to Rousseau's comments,

"The "first man's fence" was his government."


It is only once you have the ability to say 'this is mine', while at the same time recognizing your neighbor's Right to do the same, only then do you have a basis for considering what can and cannot properly be shared, and the responsibilities which come with that understanding - that each person has a right to their own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Without that understanding, which is the very root of Justice, that fence won't be used as a tool which enables others to more easily respect what is yours and theirs, but as a weapon for Øthers to use in restraining you, and those like you, the 'bourgeoisie'.

Think of Nazi Germany,
Think of the USSR
Think of Red China
Think of Cambodia.
Think of the Berlin wall...

Do you really think the people who supported these regimes in the beginning, did so with dreams of slaughtering millions of people? I don't. They intended to do good, they intended to better the lives of their fellow man... but good intentions alone, won't save a single life. Anyone who advocates violating anyone's right to what is theirs, is just another brick in that very same wall.

Have you thought about what the loss of that principle must mean? The people who began the regimes in this table, didn't - and disaster followed in their wake.

Trophies from the Democratic Khmer Rouge
When Communists talk about 'Democracy', about overthrowing property rights, this is what their idea of Democracy looks like!

When you vote for well meanng policies like healthcontrol, when you support giving unions the power to force businesses to employ them, and force everyone working there to support them, when you willingly give money to schools like UMSL and UMKC who indoctrinate their students with the idea that violence is a useful tactic, then you are helping them to turn their words today into the nightmarish reality of a tomorrow that must eventually come - unless we stop and change course.

Thanks to ... you?

Have you called your legislators? Have you called the University Chancellors? Have you called your local news station and demanded to know why they haven't run this story?


The megamurdering states of the 20th century
have murdered:

The Communist Union of Soviet Socialist Repbulics (1917-1987)

61,911,000

The Communist Peoples Republic of China (1949-1987)
35,236,000

National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi) Germany (1933-1945)


20,946,000

Cambodia Democratic Kampuchea - Khmer Rouge(1975-1979)

2,035,000

Socialist Republic of Vietnam (1945-1987)
1,678,000

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (1948-1987)
1,663,000

If not, then that tomorrow is that much closer to coming to pass, thanks to you.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One if by land, two if by sea... three if by classroom....

In one of todays popular lessons, brought to you via video from a Missouri College classroom, and courtesy of Big Government, Communist party member, and co-teacher, Don Giljum describes how to use intimidation to get ‘favorable’ negotiating positions – or time off – by intimating that valuable industrial equipment might possibly become sabotaged.

Judy Ancel, ever the concerned educator, is quick to ask “You never said anything, did you?
“No... no... we just downloaded pictures and had them appear throughout the plant”
and wouldn’t that be a shame if something should happen to the valuable machinery? Or, he says that another really effective tactic is having groups of his guys begin popping up at the CEO’s grocery store, his church and so forth, and
“We wouldn’t say nothing, just kinda bump into the guy and say ‘Hey, how you doin’... how’s the negotiations going, I hear they’re not going too well...”
Giljum continues with a particularly striking part of the days lesson, describing the particular air of understanding and civility this produced
“It got to the point where, the guy became very paranoid, very concerned, when he would walk out into the plant he would wear a flack jacket...”
Missouri College Professor Ancel can be heard laughing loudly at that.

Isn’t that just the sort of lesson you want your sons and daughters to learn when they go to college? Isn’t that how you like to see your tax dollars at work? Teaching your children to fine tune the tactics of John Gotti and Al Capone?

No need to be shocked, the movers and shakers in American education have long stated, clearly and publicly, that they intended to use their classrooms, in your educational system, for, as John Taylor Gato notes, “a tool to accomplish political goals “, such as in an early and influential textbook on instructing how teachers should be taught to teach,
In The Great Technology (1933), Harold Rugg elucidated the grand vision:
A new public mind is to be created. How? Only by creating tens of millions of individual minds and welding them into a new social mind. Old stereotypes must be broken up and "new climates of opinion" formed in the neighborhoods of America.

Through the schools of the world we shall disseminate a new conception of government—one that will embrace all the activities of men, one that will postulate the need of scientific control...in the interest of all people.”
What do you suppose those political goals might be?

Well, if you’re a Communist, or a sympathizer, those goals, the ones you put in writing (you knows what I'm sayin'?) are:
“Until we win enough support to change the system, communists call for radical reforms under capitalism. We call for nationalization of the banks, railroads, and industries like steel and auto. Everyone who wants to work should be guaranteed a job or get unemployment payments until she/he can find a job. We say put the unemployed to work at union wages on massive public works programs to rebuild our cities, provide affordable housing for the homeless, build mass transit, and clean up the environment!”
You, as a parent, paying the way of a child's 'Education' might want to read that as,
“So ah... how dose reforms comin’, eh? I hear they’re not going so well... that’s too bad. Say, that’s a nice looking kid you got there... be a shame if something should happen to them, eh?”
Personally, as long as mine don’t go to UMSL or UMKC, I’ll consider myself lucky, and them far more likely to receive an Education - off campus. Sadly I can’t say the same for my tax dollars.

How aboud you?

These people’s goals are, at best, anti-property rights and anti-individual rights, which... unfortunately ultimately means anti all rights, and that means they are anti-American to the core. And they are on the attack. But there's no need to look to the borders for a coming invasion, we've already been invaded, and they didn't need tanks or even coyote's, just our classrooms.

The problem is and was, that we too often forget that we are a nation of ideas, and instead think we're an ordinary nation of geographic boundaries, and so seeing no tanks rolling over the borders, we think all is well. It ain't. And because fundamental philosophical ideas, such as considering Natural Law and Individual Rights to be  "nonsense on stilts", are the core of the invasion, there need be no coordinated conspiracy (though there are plenty of small scale plans)... everyone who believes in their ideas, which are the ideas which lead to,
  • Progressivism,
  • Socialism,
  • Marxism,
  • Communism,
  • Fascism,
, will make the 'logical' choices needed to implement them, and brush aside what doesn't agree with their alien ideals. But all of their ideas are fundamentally the same, and explicitly opposed to the ideas which our nation was founded upon - and these are the ideas have formed the basis of what has taken over our system of education.

The Communist Party, and all of it's doppelganger's, are violently opposed to Property Rights - that is their common core - and they know very well that without Property Rights, America, and all of the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness you can imagine, vanishes with them.

Your enemy is aware of what it takes to destroy your life. Are you?

As John Adams put it,
“ 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. ”
If you live in Missouri, call your representatives and demand than these people be removed from your children’s brains – while you, and they, still have them. Bill Hennessy has a few good suggestions for you to make to your representatives:

  1. Shut down Labor Studies until the department’s been purged of anti-American radicals
  2. Fire Missouri state employees who invited David Giljam and that communist into classroom
  3. Apologize to Missouri taxpayers who pay $400 million a year for that university system
  4. Apologize to the students and their parents who sat through that filth
It’s a good start. Pick up the phone, get to it.

Oh, and for those of you outside of Missouri, if you think that Missouri is the lonely leading edge in this, you're nutz.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Newspaper is terrified of a commenter, but just fine with their guest columnist communist professor

The Kansas City Star, with such abysmal syncronicity not seen since the New York Times published an article by Weather Underground terrorist turned teacher, Bill Ayers, with a photo of his boot on the American flag (hey, might there be a connection here?) ... on the morning of 9/11; published a guest commentary yesterday by Judy Ancel, she who had a starring role in my previous posts video (courtesy of Big Journalism and Big Government), saying how wonderful, liberating and jobs promoting it would be to continue to force people to join unions in order to work at a company that had been forced to accept being unionized.

The Kansas City Star, however, showing their journalistic integrity, and the resulting yellow streak down their backs which that presumes, deleted the quickie comment I made to that article. Lucky for you, I can reproduce it here (and fix my typo), which I began by quoting a line from her commentary:

"Tell the backers of SB 1 to stop offering deceptive nonsolutions and start working to enact policies to create good jobs — the only basis for a prosperous economy."

Would that be created through the non-deceptive methods of 'co-teaching' with communists like Don Giljum? Or by non-deceptively promoting sabotaging our businesses and using "Violence as a tactic" to the children we send to you to be 'educated'?

Missouri Education Watchdog has some transcriptions of ms. ancel's comments in the videos on her post.

If these people aren't made to feel cautious about promoting communism to our children... then they will succeed in promoting communism to our children.
No vitriol, no profanity, no insults, just using her words to express my opinion. For a 'newspaper' to delete such opposing views simply because they are opposing, is shameful. We wont' get into the fact that they consider such views to be opposing views.

If you think this is happening only in Missouri (Universities or Newspapers)... you are definitely not from the Show-Me state.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Educational: One video is worth my 20,000 words

Teaching Your Children Treason
I've been writing a series of posts on Education, covering how it got so far afield from the system of Education which produced our Founding Father's generation, and what the key factors are which are driving us further still from it.

Some people felt I've gotten more worked up over the issue than need be.

You've surely heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps. But if that's the case, then a video is easily worth the 20,000 or so I've written so far.

Doesn't mean I'll stop of course... but I've gotta admit, it gets to the point a lot faster than I've been able to.
What point? Have a look at two 'educators' educating in just the fashion the modern system of education advocates from start to finish. In it you'll see, from Big Journalism & Big Government:


video
"Judy Ancel is the director of UMKC's Institute for Labor Studies.

Don Giljum is a lifetime union leader and proud member of the Communist Party. He is the business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) at Ameren UE.

In the class, the Professors not only advocate the occasional need for violence and industrial sabotage, they outline specific tactics that can be used. As one of our colleagues pointed out, its the matter-of-factness of it all that is so disturbing.

And yes, the schools, and the professors’ salaries, are funded by taxpayers."
If you dare stand up for this, I strongly suggest you do so well out of arms reach from me. And I'll warn you, I can lunge. Pretty damn fast.

Hanah Arendt had a term for describing Adolph Eichmann, in his trial for masterminding genocide as a Nazi, and it caused quite a stir at the time; her term for his competent middle manager demeanor was the “banality of evil”.

It still fits. And it's more terrifying than any movie monster could ever be. It requires no special effects to operate, requires no suspension of disbelief to be taken in by. It simply requires you and me to stand by and do nothing.

Additional Links:
BigGovernment Part 2
Washington Times

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A tale of two lessons - Education outside, and inside, wackademia

An Educational Experience... and through the looking glass to its reverse
This last Saturday night, I had the pleasure of spending the evening in the company of people paying their beliefs the deepest respect possible – examining and questioning them -not doubting, but questioning, exploring, examining them - an important distinction. Sunday morning I awoke to the mirror image of that experience.


Lucretia And Tarquin
Education is alive and well in America... outside of our schools
This last Saturday night, about 25+ people gathered for about 3 hrs in the living room, dining and kitchen areas of a local residence, as they repeatedly have for several months running, to learn lessons they weren't taught in school. One of the homeowners, Jim, started the evening off with with a slide show recapping their previous lessons, which have led them from the political ideas of Thomas Hobbes Leviathan through Locke’s ideas of Individual Rights and liberty in society, to Montesquieu’s study of Republican government. He capped the review off with a good summary of the origin of the Roman Republic, complete with classic paintings, recounting the founding episode of the Roman Republic and it's break from their last King, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, over the rape of Lucretia by his son Sextus Tarquinius. Lucretia was going to take her own life rather than submit to him but she relented - for awhile - when he threatened to dishonor her in death. She waited until her husband and his company came home, told them the whole story and then took her own life before them, which brought on the vow by Lucius Junius Brutus,

The Dying Lucretia
‘ Brutus, while the others were absorbed in grief; drew out the knife from Lucretia's wound, and holding it up, dripping with gore, exclaimed, "By this blood, most chaste until a prince wronged it, I swear, and I take you, gods, to witness, that I will pursue Lucius Tarquinius Superbus and his wicked wife and all his children, with sword, with fire, aye with whatsoever violence I may; and that I will suffer neither them nor any other to be king in Rome!"
If the story seems unusual to you, or the notion of death before dishonor, it was an extremely well known tale in our Founders era, and it might be worth wondering why it, and many others like it, are recalled by so very few people today. You certainly won't find it in our schools proposed Common Core Curriculum. Jim's review concluded with the curious origin of the Fasces (visible on our early coins, Lincoln Memorial... and in the name 'Fascist'), and we were ready for the main event.

Jim introduced a new set of DVD lectures they were going to start in on, a total of 12 half hour lectures in all, from the Great Debate: Advocates and Opponents of the American Constitution, given by Professor Thomas L. Pangle, Ph.D., University of Chicago, The University of Texas at Austin. Fair and balanced, Jim gave some of the Professors history, a tenure battle which he won on principle against Yale, and then resigned (he gets extra credit for that), and noted that the professor approaches issues from a Straussian point of view which some accuse of illiberal leanings. I’m no fan of Strauss, and IMHO that viewpoint does come out in his lectures here and there, but identified, it is defused, and takes nothing away from the fact that it’s a very good set of lectures (which I also own and recommend). Introductions complete, we began to watch the first of the evenings two lectures on the ratification debates over the constitution, between the Federalists and anti-Federalists.

Keep in mind, the majority of these people had previously had little or no interest in historical or ‘intellectual’ issues, few had ever had much interest in politics, but they were now voluntarily and eagerly looking into the historical basis of Classical Republicanism, how the ideas of Montesquieu differed from those, and how the Federalists and Anti-Federalist differed still from his, then, popular ideas. They are doing this because they feel a need to be better informed about the issues facing our nation today, and they recognize that that means they need to become better informed about the issues our nation was formed from, over two centuries ago.

What a concept, eh?

At the end of the first lecture there was a brief Q and A before stretching and walking about. Clusters of people formed and circulated about, locked in conversation while consuming cookies, cold cut snacks, coffee and punch, discussing the points made by the lecturer and their own impressions of them. Talking about what they liked and disliked, picking apart the ideas of Madison and Hamilton and the anti-Federalist positions of ‘Centinel’, ‘Brutus’ and others. Were they good? Were they right? Who had the better arguments? How has it worked out? How has the passage of time borne out the various claims and predictions of each side? How do these ideas apply to the world today? Do they?

With not a bit of difficulty, Jim rounded us all back to our seats for lecture two, followed by a lengthier Q and A, a little droning on by yours truly, and an excellent and very relevant discussion by David Roland on how he sees these issues applying to our lives today. David has helped form an organization together with his wife, and fellow attorney, Jenifer Zeigler Roland, called the Freedom Center of Missouri, to take up cases where the violation of constitutional issues, State and Federal, are affecting the liberty of us all (one recently in the news is the case where the City of Hazelwood forbade Girl Scouts from selling cookies in their own yard).
Note: There are no big money backers here, do yourself a favor, have a look at some of the cases they are championing, I think you’ll see they are defending your freedom, and if so, please click the Donate’ button, as I just did, $5, $10, anything you can contribute will help!

By the end of the evening the (still) highly regarded figures of Madison and Hamilton did not come through these discussions unscathed, but they did come through it better understood by all, and all were looking forward to the next gathering, when they will go through another couple lectures, looking still further into the detailed issues of the great debate.

Again, these are regular people... policemen, teachers, salesmen, techies, homemakers, a couple of which are bloggers such as myself, another who runs a popular email list and even a constitutional lawyer; people who are gathering together in order to try and better understand the system of the Constitution of the United States and the American way of life, which, through their various Tea Parties, they are making their best efforts to defend and protect.

It was one of the most heartening evenings I’ve spent in quite awhile... and I’ve every reason to believe this isn’t an isolated incident. Similar scenes are happening around the nation, either as Jim and friends are doing in their own homes, or as I and many others have been doing in more typical classroom settings, where we are reading and discussing books and videos about what it is that goes into saying that you're an American. People are, on their own, and in groups, studying, reviewing and discussing books such as the Five Thousand Year Leap (there are four FTYL classes occurring right now in the St. Louis area that I know of), and others such as We Still Hold These Truths, as well as engaging in groups sessions like Jim's or participating in  Webinar’s such as that of the upcoming Hillsdale College session this Saturday morning (4/16/11) - personally I hope that the in-home meetings are outstripping the classes, but whatever the case it is extremely encouraging that these are taking place, and I of course encourage any of you out there to follow suit.

I’ve long said that this is the only way I see of actually helping to save our nation from the illiberal ignorance, the shallow ‘common sense’ assumptions and the parasitical demagoguery which is consuming us, and to our credit, this system of self education is happening around the nation. We The People are turning our attention to where it is  truly needed, seeking to understand critical ideas, events and history, and educating ourselves about them. All the politics and all of the legislative battles, no matter how well funded, no matter the number of ‘wins’ that may be made, none of that will achieve any lasting effect, unless We The People change our understanding of why those ‘wins’ are useful and why they are necessary.

Through the looking glass into the opposite of education in wackademia
My Saturday night educational experience contrasted greatly with what I saw Sunday morning, courtesy of a C-SPAN rebroadcast from the ‘church of reason’ preached from an Ohio college classroom. Their cameras broadcast a class from a typical college classroom in American wackedemia, on the History of Progressivism and Theodore Roosevelt by one Mitchell B. Lerner, Associate Professor of Ohio State University at Newark's History Department.

Neither Examining nor Questioning are words I’d use to describe the 90 min class I witnessed. Lerner strutted about as he, er, exuberantly regaled the class about the wonderful intentions and achievements of the 19th and early 20th century progressives, their admirable efforts in service of the little people, and their effort to ‘fix that wagon’ of America. I kid you not, not once did he question the history or basis for the progressives beliefs, not once did he wonder aloud whether the ideals he so obviously admired, and clearly expected to be admired, might be misplaced, or in any way faulty, and not once did he engage in anything like a discussion of whether or not such efforts might have been constructive or destructive to the rights, liberty, or lives, of We The People.

The absolute closest he came to giving any criticism of the proregressives, was when he admiringly said of Theodore Roosevelt’s actions when intervening in the Mine Workers strike, that he,
“... probably had no legal or constitutional right for doing it, but that doesn’t stop Teddy Roosevelt!”
He simply took it as a matter of faith that their ideas were good, and as such he preached them to his class. He began with a one sentence definition of Progressivism:
“America’s first comprehensive and national response, America’s first real successful response to the changes sweeping America as a result of industrialization and urbanization process.”
Ok... ‘successful’? Obviously they had much political success, and he recounts how they swept local government, mayoral positions, governors offices, etc, but do you interpret that use of ‘success’ to be limited to simply winning political contests? Personally, especially while watching and listening to him, I took that to mean that their movement was a correct, right, good, necessary and thank-god-they-came-along-when-they-did! form of success. Such a thing might be appropriate to say, IF it were backed up with why the professor thought it was so, together with an examination of the pro’s and con’s of their positions and actions – but that didn’t happen. At all.

He continued his summary with ticking off their,
“Four fundamental beliefs
1. Government can be good [and he adds“nothing earth shattering to us... we accept that...” - and don't you forget that students]- first to see the Federal Govt as a benevolent agent for change.

2. Industry can be good but needed to be tamed and brought under control [no discussion of what affects such ‘control’ might have upon Individual Rights, Property Rights, Liberty, etc... shhh move along]

3. Humanity was good. Progressives believed in people... very much about shaping public opinion, educating and guiding people for change [anyone else hear Rousseau’s “They must be forced to be free” in that?].

4. Incredible faith in social science, experts, could sit down, analyze a problem, issue massive reports and come up with solutions for modern life.
Solutions... from experts... issued to ‘solve’ the problems which they saw inherent in modern American life.

Not a scintilla of recognition shown for how pregnant that summary is with meaning, unintended consequences and potential for abuse... a phrase such as ‘The Final Solution’ didn’t even seem to buzz about his ears or eyebrows, no hint that there might be a darker side to all that hope and change stuff. Not a hint was dropped that there might even have existed another view of Roosevelt's vaunted ‘Trust Busting’, such as is indicated here; or that regulatory law might benefit the rich far more than the poor. I'm not asking for or expecting his agreement here, but as a teacher he should have at least  explored, or even just raised the fact that many people do question the wisdom of such policies. Nope. The uninformed ‘common sense’ inherent in his characterization of the progressives actions is simply assumed by him to be sufficient and goes unquestioned in his classroom. It is in this way that, in the choice between ‘what is right and what it easy’, the typical college classroom opts out for what is easy.
The Choice of Hercules (between the easy and hard road)

According to this professor, the Progressives simply brought change to help America... successfully. Itsallgood. Move along.

Professor Lerner goes on to say that,
“Progressives used these tools as weapons to restore qualities America needed, order, stability, social justice, that industrialization started to change.”
At least the first part is accurate. And he did offer one very important lesson, which we will hopefully learn from today, and that was that Progressivism first began its successful run by imposing its solutions at the local level. He notes that "it begins locally, primarily in the cities and works its way on up”, and goes on to give some detail about these efforts, such as one of the first, in Chicago no less (Duh), with,
"...Houses designed to help with poor, Hull House in Chicago 1889, by 1910 there were 400 social settlement houses in America.
 Volunteers would come to live in inner cities, where they would reach out to local communities... in many ways... offered educational programs to people struggling to survive in city life. Education, English language classes for immigrants, social gathering, cooking, sewing, offered space for mtgs, neighborhoods, union, anything they needed to soften the edges of industrial society."
Note:This is a lesson we need to learn for ourselves today, not by repeating the history of what the proregressives did, but, as Mark Twain might say, by rhyming with it. We need to bring our ideas in to visible action on the local level, and I think organizations such as  Freedom Center of Missouri, noted above, are perfectly suited to that sort of task; very visibly righting the wrongs of expert solutions which govt has imposed upon our fellow citizens. That, and house to house ‘classes’ of course,... and...? If you want to help change the world, there’s a question for you to pursue, how can you help bring your ideas of constitutionally limited government into action in your community?


There was of course no class discussion of why the proregressives efforts came about, no discussion of where they got their ideas from (see my previous posts ), or why they felt the current system was ‘out moded, old and broken’; is it possible that he covered some of that in previous classes?... perhaps... but my bet is that if they were discussed, they were ‘examined’ with the same level of scrutiny as the other assertions made in this class.

At the end, Professor Lerner asked
“Ok, questions, comments, complaints [stony silence from class]... ok, you’re outta here”.
So there you have two contrasting views of Education in action, like night and day... don't you think?

[Mea Culpa - sorry folks, I didn't realize I had my Nike keyboard out last night. I think I've removed most of the massive run on sentences... never try to rush something out by midnight - there's a lesson to learn!]

Saturday, April 02, 2011

You Could Become Educated... but wait...There’s Less! Our Rotten Common Core Part 3b

You could become part of the greatest culture on earth... but wait... there’s less!
So in the previous post, I wound up with noting how the primary lesson which the new 'agricultural/mechanical colleges had to teach, was,

  • the 'lesson' that classical learning, and all of its virtues, were so much hogwash,
  • skills were more important to the little people than high falutin' ideas and history,
  • the little people should stay in their place.
Then as now, what their intent was, was to keep the people who are formed by their environment (you there, rabble), in their environment, though modified by experts to optimum efficiency, so that real experts would be free to do what was best for them, and number one on their list was discrediting and doing away with the very materials and ideas which had formed the supports of Western Civilization for centuries. The fact that that knowledge and those ideas were what made their slick new technology possible, was simply ignored. Poof. Gone.

This was and is the message of those who are again calling themselves 'Progressives'.

How could this happen? Where did such ideas come from? Why the mania for such cultural suicide? There are many reasons, but for brevity's sake (coming from me, that's gotta make you laugh) we'll boil them down to three visible 'root causes', and look at how they began to be implemented, often by fine people with entirely different intentions in mind.

Without getting too distracted by the Philosophy itself (which takes shape with Descartes, but I, um, doubt you want to take a 20 pg. diversion down that alley. Maybe later), we'll concentrate on the delivery system, best exemplified by the new ideas of education of Rousseau, who in his political philosophy managed to popularize the idea that people shouldn’t worry about trying to become more civilized, since civilization was itself ‘the problem’. In his view, your choices were never really made by you, but instead are the result of what occurs outside of you in your environment, the effects of which are necessarily responsible for molding you into whatever sort of person your environment determines you will become. Ideas such as free will, virtue, goodness and particularly the family and private property, were seen as artificial creations of civilization, corrupting and doubly damned.

Rousseau’s ideas on education flowed from that philosophy and were just as bad, as the originator of 'child centered' notions, as expressed in his book "Emile", he advised letting the child lead his own education, he claimed this wasn’t the blind leading the blind, since the child was so much nearer to the state of mind of the 'noble savage' than that of the corrupted and civilized adult, therefore it is the child who actually knows better, if not more, which is a thread that has run through all of the variants of the radical left, in themes such as ‘back to nature’, ‘healthy food’, ‘environmentalism’, etc. In the Rousseauian view, the child should lead the way in his education, looking more to ‘if it feels good... do it!’ as their guiding light, rather than to the examples of those who supposedly know more and know better.

That forms the hippie-dippie naturalistic side of things. The other side, that of taking a more 'scientific' approach, meaning heavily measured and quantified, comes from the ideas of the skeptic Scottish Philosopher, David Hume, who concluded that outside of our own feelings, nothing could really be known or understood and no causes could ever really be known, the best that could be hoped for was whether something was likely or not, based upon experience. That being the case, the best we could do was to record and measure the after effects of events, never presuming to really know what caused them, but trusting instead only to quantifiable results... and of course anything that couldn't be quantified, should be neither respected nor trusted, from his ‘Treatise on Human Understanding”,
"...If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion...."
This is where Reason made it's change from how it was commonly referred to as "Right Reason", chock full and intrinsically dependent upon Truth and Virtue, to, in a development which would have horrified Aristotle (the father of Logic), become interpreted as a mere faculty for logical calculation, and thoroughly suspect if it contained even one jot of imagination (hello Mr. Spock).
So far we've got two streams:

  1. Against civilization and towards the 'authentic' feelings of the 'noble savage',
  2. Distancing from Virtue, Classical heritage, Art, to a desiccated number crunching system of doubt and quantities
Neither stood on it's own...and the West probably would have survived their separate attacks... but there is a third cause, and that united them.

The third central cause was the scrambled egghead of Immanuel Kant. Kant is usually cited as the modern philosopher, the one who set the tune for all who followed after him (it's a little shortsighted, but not without reason). Kant had two big influences in his adult life; the 1st was Rousseau (the only adornment in his home was reportedly a single portrait of Rousseau), and particularly reading Rousseau’s ‘Emile’, which literally stopped his clock (well… it stopped the clock of his neighborhood. His neighbors, knowing that Kant was a bit of an obsessive compulsive, actually set their clocks by his afternoon walks which he always took at exactly the same time of the afternoon – except for the day he read Emile which was the only time Kant was ever late.) His second big influence was coming into contact with the ideas of Hume.

Kant saw Hume's skepticism as a threat to religion and God himself (how much he must have actually thought of God can be guessed by his seeing him as being vulnerable to the prating of a foolish skeptic), and his ideas spurred Kant into philosophic action. As he said of Hume’s ‘Treatise on Human Understanding”, it ‘woke me from my dogmatic slumbers’, Kant was obsessed with eliminating the threat of Hume's skepticism, and the Enlightenment in general, and soon the confluence of the ideas of Rousseau and Hume, through an impossibly convoluted metaphysics and epistemology (theories of what exists, and how we know it) merged into a new, larger and much dirtier torrent, best summed up from his stated motive in the Preface to his Critique of Pure Reason,
"I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith."
Why would a philosopher ("a lover of wisdom"), say such a thing? Because he was the first major philosopher to construct a philosophy not as part of his quest for truth, but as a means of discrediting another's, Hume's, in order to make safe beliefs he felt weren't able to stand on their own. I translate his comment as,
'We must divert people down a false trail so that we can be secure in our pretensions to a faith we don't really have in a God we fear isn't strong enough to defend himself against the Reason he Created'
, and the diversions and pretexts which he spun, and which his follower Hegel elaborated upon, resulted in a metaphysics so convoluted that Nietzsche said of it “They muddy the waters in order to make them appear deep.”

Divide and Conquer
You might ask what does the babblings of dead philosophers have to do with our problems today? Unfortunately, everything, because those few fools ideas have altered the thoughts and actions of the entire world, and especially those of America.

Those two events led Kant to write his tomes of camouflaged skepticism, whose ultimate point is that we cannot really know anything about reality, only our ideas of it. That we must accept duty as a primary, that nothing can be considered truly virtuous if it benefits you in any way, and that since we cannot know the deeper meaning of anything, we must accept on faith the feelings of the majority of people (which is at least quantifiable - hello Polls), and no one should trust at all what is not visible and measurable. Kant, whose stated purpose was to end the Enlightenment, pitched his ideas so as to appeal to the scientific movement which was central to the Enlightenment ideas sweeping the Western world and reaching their apex in America; by calling his ideas a “Copernican Revolution” after the astronomer who first proposed the Sun centered solar system. He worded his theories is such a way so as to appeal to the appearance of being scientific (lots of measurements and theories), while all the while deliberately undercutting the very thing which science relied upon – reality and our relation to it.

Kant said, in effect, finding a midpoint between Hume’s outright skepticism, and Rousseau’s nature worship, that reality was unknowable to man, the only thing we could know intellectually was our common feelings about it, and that anything else beyond what could be measured, could not be trusted as anything more than theory.

This fouled stream which flowed from Rousseau and Hume, and out through Kant, formed the basis for the ‘the new German Method'’ in education that was mentioned above, and with its focus upon indecipherable metaphysics; facts, no longer integrated by Principles, became little more than dis-integrated data, simple trivia to be quantified, the more, the better. And if something couldn't be measured, well then obviously it wasn't worth studying – all of which left quaint old fashioned ideas such as Virtue, the Good, and any other concepts which couldn't be expressed as a fraction, Individual Rights for instance, out in the cold and no longer respectable.

The treasure trove of Western Civilization, Homer, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Virgil, Plutarch, the Bible... went from the indispensable foundations of wisdom... to discredited baubles, entertaining diversions, of interest only by the impressionable, ignorant and easily deceived masses.

These new ideas were becoming the rage in Europe towards the end of the 18th century and they filtered back into America through a growing stream of new and more fashionable forms of philosophy and education, and because they appeared so scienctific-ish, with lots of measurements, theories and methods, so like in appearance to the science which had brought so much progress in other areas of life, these ideas must obviously be superior to the old fashioned ideas which people of our backward States still held to. And society conscious Americans, then as now, so impressed by the sniffy style of Europe, flocked to taking European tours, especially those who fancied themselves intellectuals, such as a certain chemistry professor, Charles Elliott, who we’ll hear more about soon, he took great interest in the new German universities and their new methods and was so impressed in fact that he couldn’t wait to take them back with him to his college, Harvard; and he was far, far from being alone, as we’ll see.

Here also we have the beginnings of two fundamentally opposed sets of ideas speeding out on a collision course;

  • that of the new European ideals, that nothing could really be known, but with educated guesses we could play the odds through examining everything that could be gathered, measured, analyzed and used under the direction of experts in such a way as to reshape the social environment, necessarily reforming people into exhibiting more ‘right responses’ within a society that would of course have to become more orderly and efficient;
  • which went crashing headlong into the traditional American ideas that reality and truth were not only knowable but that a respect for both was central to becoming a virtuous and self governing person; that thoughtful consideration upon the best examples in Art, literature and history could aid us in developing the habits of virtue best able to help us overcome our faults, and that by follow those examples and lessons, a society might become more civilized, just and Good.
This clash is the source of another modern innovation for Americans: the divide between what would be intellectually fashionable with the elites, but thought silly of by the vast majority of the people.
Given that, the new European ideals saw the foundations of our Constitution, Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian virtues and the ideas of Natural Law which sprung from them, as being, in Jeremy Bentham’s words “nonsense on stilts”. Most Americans on the other hand saw such elitist ideas such as 'reality wasn't knowable' as stupidity on stilts, and accordingly they dismissed them out of hand. It was the American’s dismissal of these new fashionable notions which led to Americans being branded as anti-intellectual – and that is a notion which is something that you really need to stop a moment and think over, from a historical perspective.

Here we have America, the most literate and free nation not only on the face of the earth but in all of the known history of man, the nation which argued – not fought, but verbally argued together about how best to peacefully adopt a new form of government. They conducted these arguments both in halls and through essays and counter essays in popular publications, eighty-four of which would become known as The Federalist Papers – one of the greatest examples of political science in the history of the world – for public consumption and consideration in order to persuade the normal American, both the man in the street... and the farmer in his field, into peacefully voting for an improved method of governing themselves. The ratification debates occurred nationwide, and at their conclusion, We The People chose by vote, to adopt the Constitution of the United States of America.

These are the people who would become known to the sniffy set of modernity as being “anti-intellectual”?!
Americans weren’t anti-intellectual, they were anti-stupid. There is a difference… or at least there can be.
Still, as the American people wouldn’t credit such obviously ridiculous ideas, being a practical people they simply brushed them off. But such a reaction, then as now, is a very dangerous thing to do. The ideas were ridiculous, but that didn’t mean they weren’t dangerous as well, and they were working their way into dividing the American people, through the sons and daughters that they thought they were sending off to become better Educated.

Oak Trees and Thistles and sharpening the point
 The seeds of modernity were in part planted in our soil by some of the most eminent folks of the Founders era, one of several who helped sow these seeds of disaster, was the otherwise admirable Noah Webster, the originator of Webster’s Dictionary. He was one of those who early on began the push for ‘realism’ in education and the need to be more ‘scientific’, especially as Hume was mistakenly taken to represent it, and in an age which blended all of the new innovations abounding in sciences, technologies, industries and philosophies as each being equally improvements over what had been known in the past, he sought to push all of this new spirit of Progress into the ‘system’ of American Education. In 1788, while he was complaining that the classics – those materials which formed the Founders era, including himself - weren’t ‘useful’ enough (“recall Hume’s ‘Commit it then to the flames’”), he complained that educational materials needed to be more realistic, that they needed to be more focused on scientifically minded material, more concerned with just the facts and stripped of imprecise attributes such as imagination and beauty and so forth,
“The minds of youth are perpetually led to the history of Greece and Rome or to Great Britain; boys are constantly repeating the declamations of Demosthenes and Cicero, or debates upon some political question in the British Parliment. These are excellent specimens of good sense, polished stile and perfect oratory; but they are not interesting to children. They cannot be very useful, except to young gentlemen who want them as models of reasoning and eloquence, in the pulpit or at the bar.”
Darn that stuff that’s ‘not useful except as models of reasoning and eloquence’. Hmmm. Anyone want to take a stab at what chiefly marks out embarrassing examples of somuh ov today’s ‘educated’ ‘U.S Americans’? A lack of reasoning and eloquence, perhaps? Interesting to note, when researchers discover a previously unknown document of ancient Greek or Roman origin, one of the methods they use to date when the document was written, early in the cultures history, at its height, or period of decline, is to examine how the artful use of language, mastery of grammar, and overall coherence and eloquence was.

Not useful except as models of reasoning and eloquence? Really? Try comparing the writing of James Madison and Barney Frank... I guarantee you that one of the first things you’re going to take note of, is the eloquence which Madison has, and Frank is destitute of, and the next thing is the adherence to principles and logic which Madison’s exhibits, and not only the lack of the same in Frank’s, but his in your face disdain for logic and explicit reliance upon crude emotion to ‘make his case’.

I guarantee you that future archaeologists, when they dig up the html scrolls of our time, they will most definitely look for the artful use of reasoning and eloquence, in order to determine whether a discovered document was written by Americans in our prime... or our decline.

Thinking that you can separate the ability to use language from the ability to think effectively, or separate fine examples of imaginative reasoning from intelligent thought, and intelligent thought from what is considered to be Good and worthwhile thought, and what would be bad and unworthy thought, and even a central presence, or lack, of the beautiful, not the modern mess in galleries today, but of actual Art… is thinking that has somewhere strayed into the most unimaginably unproductive of areas. Civility, manners, intelligence are found together with a respect for language and beauty, and without them, well... look around you.


One world view leads you to this





The other leads you to this::

Do you begin to see the point?

Ok, back to the good intentions of Noah Webster. Mr. Webster went on to recommend that,

“… every child in America should be acquainted with his own country… he should lisp the praise of liberty, and of those illustrious heroes and statesmen, who have wrought a revolution in her favor…”
Which I fully agree with, but what ‘interesting’ mode did he have in mind to communicate those wondrous people and deeds?
“A selection of essays, respecting the settlement and geography of America; the history of the late revolution and of the most remarkable characters and events that distinguished it, and a compendium of the principles of the federal and provincial governments, should be the principal school book in the United States.”
Forget notions of eloquence, beauty and imagination; the new system of progress demanded facts and figures, Results! with no difficult ideas like integrated concepts and principles to slow you down and get in the way of what works - hello textbooks. Textbooks were quite literally tailor made for the new modernist style of thinking. Remember Cubberley from the previous post? I'll tie the two more tightly together later, but you think on it for awhile.

Webster was a good guy, I use his Dictionary often, but somehow he failed to imagine that those fact filled essays on geography might be about as interesting, exciting and inspiring as reading the… er… dictionary. Noah Webster was also one of the early proponents not only of textbooks, but of government involvement in public education,
“In our American republics, where [government] is in the hands of the people, knowlege should be universally diffused by means of public schools. Of such consequence is it to society, that the people who make laws, should be well informed, that I conceive no Legislature can be justified in neglecting proper establishments for this purpose.”
Other famous founding fathers, such as Thomas Jefferson, famously believed in such a policy, though to their credit none of them ever would have dreamed that the government, Federal or State, would control education, they simply wanted it to fund it… amazingly they never made the connection that who pays the piper calls the tune, nor the idea that small changes in details might introduce and steadily enable and reveal, principles over time that are opposed to your original goals. Interestingly, Webster witnessed this when he found himself 40 years later utterly amazed at the societal decline around him in 1837, and wrote to Charles Chauncey,
“Principles, Sir, are becoming corrupt, deeply corrupt; & unless the progress of corruption, & perversion of truth can be arrested, neither liberty nor property, will long be secure in this country. And a great evil is, that men of the first distinction seem, to a great extent, to be ignorant of the real, original causes of our public distresses.”
It really didn’t matter that Webster intended to grow Oak trees, the fact is that the seeds he planted were those of thistles, and ever since as their counter-revolutionary principles have taken root they have been slowly choking us to death.

What do I mean?

When you make an effort to remove notions of eloquence, beauty and imagination from your curriculum, what you have remaining is a system concerned only with efficiency and progress and Right and Wrong have less relevance ("Commit it then to the flames!") than facts and figures in order to get Results. Results of the sort which experts, intent upon efficiency and unconstrained by pesky qualities such as ethics, can come up with the darndest of things.

For instance. Gretchen, at Missouri Education Watchdog happened upon this little gem, which is something I suggest might be worth keeping in mind;

We know what the purpose of the educational data system is from the Illinois Data System Warehouse Document.
It is to provide the workforce:

“The term workforce is defined as consisting of the workers engaged in a specific activity, business or industry or the number of workers who are available to be assigned to any purpose as in a nation’s workforce.

The public workforce system is a network of federal, state, and local offices that function to support economic expansion and facilitate the development United States workforce. The system is designed to create partnership with employers, educators, and community leaders in order to foster economic development and high-growth opportunities in regional economies so that businesses find qualified workers to meet their present and future workforce needs. (Emphasis added)”
Isn’t that just the epitome of efficiency? Having detailed information about every aspect of a students life, their family and home life (we’ll look more about the data sets being gathered pretty much from birth now, in coming posts), enables the government to be aware of the number of workers who are available to be assigned for any purpose, in the nation’s workforce.

Does that not raise a ‘George Orwell’ shiver up the spine? If not... do you have one?

Maybe I’m being too touchy, too aware of and concerned about my individual rights, as defined by natural law, rather than that of what ‘the people’ might require of me for the greater good, but that doesn’t sound to me like anything which gives a goddamn about my choices and preferences, or those of my children and grand children. Personally an irrational efficiency, doesn't stack up to that for me.

You?

This should be a lesson to conservatives and leftists alike, that the road of good conservative intentions, though perhaps slower, no less surely will see you winding up at that roads inevitable end, in hell.

How things went from Noah Webster’s good intentions to Arne Duncan’s intention to gather all the information that might be used to track the number of workers who are available to be assigned to any purpose 'as required'... we'll start tying the loose ends together in the next post.