Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Indoctrinating You and Yours

There's a new book out which just received a good write up on Big Government, which looks as if it will be very much worth your while to read. I haven't read the actual book myself, yet, but the blurbs and comments in the reviews of it are by turns shocking and entirely unsurprising to me. For instance, here's one about teachers indoctrinating their grammar students in leftist ideology,
"But more and more American K-12 teachers are bringing their politics into the classroom, brazenly acknowledging their effort to indoctrinate and recruit a new generation of radical, anti-American students.

“The long period of self-censorship among educators regarding class and labor issues may no longer hold,” wrote radical educator Rob Linne in his book “Organizing the Curriculum.”
“We cannot claim to be teaching for social justice if we ignore the class warfare being waged all around us. Bringing labor into the arena of K-12 education will undoubtedly meet political resistance, but an increasing number of educators are motivated to take up the challenge.”
That frightening approach to teaching is what motivated Education Action Group to publish a new book titled “Indoctrination: How ‘Useful Idiots’ are Using Our Schools to Subvert American Exceptionalism.
Personally I don't find that at all surprising... do you? Really? Here's another,

"In his foreword for the book, FOX News contributor and former Clinton advisor Dick Morris bemoans the fact that educators are willing to brainwash young minds before they have the ability to fully understand and judge issues on their own.

“We have become accustomed to hearing American history and politics misinterpreted by leftist university professors,” Morris writes. “But (now) we see the insidious indoctrination at the elementary and secondary levels. At least university students can think for themselves. (The book) explains how 7- and 8-year-olds are taught to embrace an atheistic, leftist philosophy virtually from the time they enter school.”
And one more, just for fun,

"The book also discusses Chicago teacher Kati Gilson, who taught her preschoolers about her 2011 trip to Madison to protest the collective bargaining policies of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. She also taught them new words like “strike,” “collective bargaining,” and “negotiate.”

“My preschoolers understand what a protest march is and why it is important,” Gilson wrote.
“As we gear up for what looks like a big battle it is important for us to teach our children and families why we are taking a stand.”
Is this what we pay school taxes for?"
Isn't that special? But is it surprising?

No. Not in the least. Why do I say that?

You don't read this blog much, do you?

A post or two ago, I mentioned a fellow I was going back and forth with on facebook, who I called "FR", who described himself as an 'avowed socialist', and who proclaimed quite cooly that he did not believe in individual rights, and that he felt government using its power to create basic rights and minimum entitlements was just fine, and what it should do:

"You mistake rights without realizing that they are both means and ends.
More importantly, I think falling into this rights language lets us ignore the reality: that all of society is about coercion and force. You exercise force over people all the time. There isn't anything particularly more remote than a government doing it, compossed of people who pass rules made by people. Government is a body we've agreed represents a broader consensus than most personal interactions of force.
I also think there's a broad strawman about the government making decisions 'for you'. Yes, the government took your tax dollars. The government then provided health care for a 12 year old child who's family can't afford it but wanted it. In one sense, the government did make a decision for that family. On the other hand, that government also provided them with something that they needed but couldn't have. The reality is that when we talk about the government 'making decisions' for you, what really mean is that the government, as a collective action body for a society, benefits some over others and tries to control those benefits. Well, yes. It is force.
But it is only different in that it has legal force behind it. Society and living in one is about social coercion at all levels.
The federal government did have to intervene and make decisions for people in a wide array of circumstance that we certainly approve of now: forced integration of public facilities, protection of minority voters and their voting rights, etc. It's not always the federal government that does it best, but many times, the pure scale of the effort mandates a larger response.""
I mentioned at about that point in the post, that as I was reading his answers, a sick feeling overcame me and I clicked on his profile to discover that my sinking feeling was well founded - he was a teacher. Of World History. Not in a public school, but in what most people consider to be the more 'safe' sort, a Charter School.

What I didn't mention, was a very forthright equivalent of intellectual racism which he was proudly teaching to his students - this is from a comment on his facebook page, in thanks for a blog post of his that was picked up by Think Progress, In Teaching Cultural Literacy, Who Gets To Determine The Canon?, for which Ferny says:

"Thanks for the recognition! This journey I'm on with my students is going to continue and I plan on talking a lot more about the challenge of teaching students to enter a world of white cultural power, where their goal is to win and define their own cultural space for themselves and others.
I totally agree with the totalizing effect that Hirsch can have. Taken without criticism, the idea of cult...ural literacy just becomes a way to teach white trivia to our students.
I think, more importantly, this trivia needs to be taken as a reality of a culture of power and that we need to dismantle large parts of this privilege. Our goal is to empower our students so that they can do the hard work of expanding the canon for their generation and the next."[emphasis mine]
The post by Ferny Reyes, which was picked up by Think Progress, is here:

"Since I began the blog, I’ve switched locations and employment. Currently, I’m situated in Houston, TX, working at YES Prep SW, a high-performing charter school. When I say high-performing, I mean it: our test scores are among the highest in the state, we send 100% of our students to four-year colleges, and the selectivity of the colleges our students is only increasing. I recently showed a quiz I was giving my students for Islam to a couple of friends of mine who have attended college and taken classes on Islam.
The quiz covered material they would have covered in their college classes in 3-4 weeks of class. I did it in four classes, with a bit of homework. My students did well. I can confidently say that I have great students and that they work hard. Our goal here at SW is to prepare our students not just to be college-eligible, but to be college-ready."
Isn't that fantastic? His students were rigorously instructed about Islam, and their scores compared favorably with those of college students. Nice.

What do you suppose his enthusiasm level is for Western Culture? Yeah... good guess; in it he notes,

"To quickly summarize before continuing: power exists. As an educator who is training students to enter a culture of power that is not theirs, I have to make it explicit and I have to teach the cultural literacy behind the institutions of power they’ll have to navigate. I cannot, in good conscience, pretend that their cultural experiences will be valued for all that they are worth and that they won’t be judged for not having those markers of cultural knowledge. I forced myself to read the ‘classics’ of Western Civilization before attending school, but I constantly felt that the philosophers and ideas that were being dropped on a regular basis completely baffled me. I still can’t exactly tell the difference between the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and other famous rock bands, though I at least know a phrase or two from popular songs."
His students scored fantastically on Islam, but if Ferny was 'completely baffled' by Western philosophers... those guys who came up with 'white cultural ideas' like the rule of law, freedom, liberty... what do you suppose his students 'picked up' from him on them?

The book he is referring to, is by Ed Hirsh, an intellectually filthy barbarian, IMHO, whose idea of 'cultural literacy' Ferny accurately describes as:

"...If each local school system imparts the traditional reference points of literate culture, then everybody is able to communicate with strangers. That is a good definition of literacy: the ability to communicate effectively with strangers. We help people in the underclass rise economically by teaching them how to communicate effectively beyond a narrow social sphere, and that can only be accomplished by teaching them shared, traditional literacy culture. We only make social and economic progress by teaching everybody to read and communicate, which means teaching myths and facts that are predominantly traditional...."[emphasis mine]
This is what... this the ALL you can expect for those who view the purpose of 'school' as being to 'teach' socially and economically useful 'skills'. Our Founders saw the purpose of Education as being making one self aware, able to understand your ideas and your place in the world, inclined towards being moral, virtuous and able to govern yourself, so as to be capable of living in liberty, and contributing to your life and that of your society as a result.

One of those who contributed to that idea of Education and 'literacy', was Aristotle, one of those 'baffling' old dead white guys, who said in his Nicomachean Ethics,

"...for it is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; it is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician scientific proofs..."
and from his "On Metaphysics(Book IV)"
"... for not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education. "
In the Western Cultural tradition, Eduction was to improve your ability to Reason, in order to pursue, discover, test and recognize the Truth; familiarity with the same stories your grandfather knew was a useful result, a side effect, not the purpose, of an Education. Montaigne put it as “A traditional liberal arts curriculum of history, language, and literature--the arts that liberate," of educating one to be worthy of Liberty.

Those... are the ideas which Ferny, a World History Teacher, refers to as 'baffling'.

Doesn't surprise me a bit.

Why?

Do you remember my post on an earlier Cassandra, from 1920? He'd tried to warn of anti-American, socialists, communists, who were taking over the schools and colleges 90 years ago. 90 years... do you realize what can be accomplished in 90 years? Look at what Obama has done in three. Couldn't have happened without our allowing the last ninety.

How about the post that showed that this 'early' Cassandra, was at the very least, 60 years late to the party? This hasn't been going on since only the 1960's, 50 years ago, not even 90 years ago, it's been creeping into our national soul, through our children, for over 150 years.

If you aren't deprogramming and correcting your kids, you'd better get them out of 'school' - if you don't, don't you dare come to me in a few years and tell me about how stunned you were to hear that your kids are full of anti-American, anti-Western ideas.

Don't. you. dare.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Occupy Yourself In Giving Thanks!

Not to be forgotten, that even the best of men, sincerely seeking to do good, can mistake what they want to be good, for what actually is good.

From Gov. Bradford's recollections on the Pilgrims experiment with communism:

"...The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato's and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labours and victuals, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men's wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men's corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them."
No matter the zeal and good intentions with which it is entered into, collectivism fails, yet those same moral people, can with liberty, quickly prosper.

There's one heck of a lesson in there for us.... Occupy yourself in giving thanks this Thanksgiving, for living in a nation where you have the liberty to learn this the easy way, rather than the hard way... so far.

Comments, Socialists, Schools and the Truest Meaning of Left vs. Right

Commenting on Commentary on Current Events
A few... somewhat related comments from various sites. The first is from Steve Straub, who puts on the excellent "The Federalist Papers" page on facebook, and on the web as well. He recently posted a quote on his own page, by an economist who was celebrating the benefits of 'Income disparity',
Prominent economist Dennis Gartman said:
"We celebrate income disparity and we applaud the growing margins between the bottom 20% of American society and the upper 20% for it is evidence of what has made America a great country. It is the chance to have a huge income, to make something of one’s self; to begin a business and become a millionaire legally and on one’s own that separates the US from most other nations of the world."
Do you agree or disagree with this statement and why or why not?
Before going on, I’d be very curious as to your thoughts on that? I'll leave mine for the end of this post, because I want to run some other recent exchanges by you that I've had with some facebook friends, starting with Mytheos Holt. Mytheos is a real up and comer, who recently had an article on National Review online, which I recommend, entitled In Defense of Liberal Bias,
"This past weekend, I had the fortune of being able to attend a conference at Yale on the legacy of William F. Buckley Jr and his seminal work God and Man at Yale. Among those present were the publisher and editor-in-chief of this very magazine, as well as several luminari..."
Don't let the title fool you, Mytheos is no leftie, not by a long shot; what he is saying is that the Conservative movement is as strong as it is today, because those conservatives who've come through our schools and remained conservative, have been strengthened by the liberal bias arrayed against them - a mental 'that which does not kill you, makes you stronger'.

He notes that because there is a very obvious liberal bias on campus, the left's ideas have gone unchallenged, and for so long that they are becoming progressively more sloppy and weaker by the year, and as a result of imposing their inflationary wits upon their students, there are growing numbers of students, such as our Philip Christofanelli, who are not only bringing the nonsense taught in these biased classes to light, but who are speaking out about them, and are developing the mental skills and inclinations needed to shred the left's flabby ideas in every engagement with them.

Which is a beautiful thing.

What is usually Left unsaid
But, what with beauty being in the eye of the beholder, one fellow, I'll call FR, commented on Mytheos's Facebook page, that
"...when conservatives are talking about liberal bias, it's some bizarre parody of what I would construct as a joke."
I suggested that if he thought that, he should stop off in flyover country sometime, and have a look at classes such as this one which has liberal bias droppings splattered all over them, hard to make a move without stepping in it. To which he replied,

FR "That class sounds hilarious and really really stupid. That said, the guy that wrote the blog post is also absurd. I hate doing the both sides do it, but I can't imagine this person ever doing anything without an absurd slant."
Van ;-) you mean like this: / ;-)

Van (My post)
I let FR know that that was only one of several posts digging into the Communist Prof's Ancel's & Giljum's background, and that the manner in which the university systems reacted, or didn't, to their communist professors message, showed that their positions and their sympathy and toleration of them, were widespread throughout the two colleges in question.
Regarding my absurd slant, I told him that,

"...I don't come at politics from a political perspective, but from a philosophical point of view - heavy on volition (free will), rights and property rights - and that I tend to see anything that amounts to the 'abolition of property rights' as a direct assault upon not only my political rights, but my childrens lives and chance for happiness..."
, and also, that since the two professors, despite some statements of 'inappropriateness' and threatened dismissals, designed to shrug off bad-publicity, they are still gainfully employed at UMSL & UKC and are merrily professing the same foolishness as before, their ideas are probably prevalent not just in those two colleges, but throughout the system as a whole, and so with all of that in mind, and as opposed as they their messages are to what I expect my kids to be taught, I was actually being a bit understated in my post.

FR didn't back off, but he made some good natured and reasonable comments, obviously leftist, but not strident about it, which pricked my curiosity - the chance of questioning a leftist and actually getting answers, rather than put downs and diatribes, doesn't come along every day, and I was curious to hear more.
FR'd said of Prof's Ancel & Giljum, that "they're just standard commies." which is true, but I pointed out that they're not lonely ones, and as foolish as what they said was, I was more concerned about the acceptance of the ideas which their foolishness rests upon, and the degree to which it is accepted and widely endorsed. To which he replied,

FR Right. Like, look, I'm an avowed Socialist and I could trash these professors. I still think the rhetoric you were using about them getting fired is a bit hyperbolic.
An avowed Socialist. Well now, that goes way beyond stumbling upon an uncommonly lucid leftie, this put him into a whole new level of rarity... I just had to run some more questions by him. Obviously we'd need to 'agree to disagree' on most things, but while I didn't want to hijack Mytheos’s thread, I told him I was curious, and if he'd humor me a bit, I wouldn't snipe at his responses, and then asked the obvious,
"... for what reason are you an avowed Socialist? Or maybe for a shorter answer, do you put more value on providing people with a minimum of privileges and possessions, or on their having the Right to make their own choices (as well as their consequences)? Or do you see the issue from an entirely different perspective?
And a different perspective he did have.

FR Because I don't believe that a society where most people cannot access their rights due to lack of minimums is one where people are free. Simple as that. Public goods exist and should be provided by the government to ensure that the vast majority of population's state in life is not determined by the status of their parents. In the United States, a nation with the lowest income mobility in the OECD, this is definitely not the situation.
Yes. I am assaulting your rights from your definitions. That's fine. I care more about the vast majority. I think freedom is ultimately choosing a master. Oh well.
I could go into more details"
That's interesting, isn't it? "I care more" and "I think freedom is ultimately choosing a master", those are a couple of phrases that are just made for each other, aren't they? Freedom is just another word for slavery, and he has good intentions, after all, sooo... 'whatever' about the rest of it, rights and all, inconvenient live, truths and all the rest... whatever.

And here I'd said 'no sniping'. Ooh... so tough to bite my tongue and still my fingers from responding to that from every direction that came to mind... argh. Just 'keep to the questions', I told myself, just pry as many answers as you can from him.

"Van Ok, how do you define rights? Do you find their basis within the nature of a person, or in exterior needs? Or don't at all...?
And FR gave some very revealing answers.
FR To be fair, I don't actually believe in rights. I use that rhetoric because that's sort of the public space that's been created. Also because what I think is probably closer to that conception. I don't believe 'rights' exist in anything other than a definitional context created by societies. I don't believe in natural rights or absolute rights.
For a healthy society, there would be an obligations-orientation with a rights safety-net as a way to break coercive small relationships from completely overrunning people's ability to act.
I don't have a reflexive love of government. However, I think that government is a collective mechanism for the enforcement of certain things that I think all human beings should have at a certain point: food, shelter, health care, education.....
How's that for clarity? To be fair, I don't actually believe in rights. Can you believe that? I just shook my head and told him that it was refreshing that he had at least admitted the obvious truth that is always left out, that socialism and individual rights are incompatible, and that he didn't try to pretend otherwise. Very rare. Even rarer, I was actually agreeing with a socialist on something - go figure!
But how, I wanted to know, did he think that the govt/society was supposed to determine what people should have, or what the minimum was that they should have? How could a govt, removed from the realities of their life, possibly determine that? Did he think that the choices of an individual should even be taken into account in determining what they got or what they’d 'be allowed' to do in and for society? And... why?

I didn't really get an answer to those questions right off, but this one I did,
"...do you believe that people do have volition, that people have free will, or do think that people essentially pinball about within their environment?"
, and again, it was a surprising answer - this time because it didn't fit.

FR I do think people have free will, but I'm not too sure what that has to do it. There are certain physical and somewhat-physical things that you need, regardless of your volition or free will. Your free will doesn't suddenly determine if you need shelter - that's sort of a reality, given physical charectistics of human beings....
How can you believe in Free Will, and then deny people the ability to exercise their Free Will? How can you believe that people do make choices, but then prevent them from making them? What view does that express about the nature of being human, let alone the purpose and meaning of making choices, decisions, and why? Too many questions... he continued,
"...I think the way you determine what is necessary is largely through negotiation and definitely seeing what things we can figure out are primary qualifications to be able to exercise a wide array of freedoms. No one needs tents for camping. No one needs nice cars, televisions, ipods, etc. The government should not be in the business of providing this. Again, this goes back to the point that wealth inequality doesn't bother me per se; it's the realities of the people at the bottom. If they are well fed, have health care coverage, are able to access a decent education and have material needs met, I don't care if they only have that. I also particularly care if children have this.
Now, we can start talking about the role of government in a broader array of cultural and social issues, but that becomes a values fight very quickly.
How does a person come to such ideas? How does one person have the hubris, to choose to believe, that what another person has chosen for their own life, doesn't meet your approval, and so should be disallowed? How does a person ever become able to have such a thought without deep feelings of shame? School? Family? Circumstances?
... As for how it evolved, I'd say it came bit by bit. I think the core of it is from the fact that I grew up in a situation where I didn't have many of these things. It's important that people receive those things. A common response is to say that I made it, why can't others? You shouldn't need to be exceptionally brilliant (I like to think I am), hard working, etc. to be able to simply thrive in a way that isn't really that much above average. You shouldn't have to be in the 90th percentile in abilities to succeed. For many people that have those material necessities from the beginning, they can be in the 50th and be fine.
Which, as far as sources go, wasn't all that surprising, I think most people come to their positions out of what they consider to be generosity and basic human kindness, rather than through philosophical or political convictions. Doesn't make them any more ok, or lessen the damaging, even horrible consequences that follow from their positions, but going down that road didn't seem like it'd get us anywhere.
Instead I just told him that was a bit surprised at his honesty, and that,

Van My surprise comes because just as Socialism is not compatible with Rights, a denial of rights is not very compatible with affirming free will - socialism requires a deterministic view, which is why it has been the stated, or implied, position of most of the left's thinkers from Rousseau on down to today.
What Free Will has to do with the issue, is that it is the root of Individual Rights, and Rights (especially Property Rights) are a logical development once free will is acknowledged.
"A common response is to say that I made it, why can't others?" Well, while that's true, it's also true that many people who, though they may have a deep desire for financial success, just don't have what it takes, maybe lacking in brains, character, energy, will, skills, conflicting obligations or just plain bad luck. Bad things do often happen to good people - but I don't think that qualifies as a basis for government, anymore than I think any of the 'social contracts' do (not even Locke's)... but that again hinges on Rights, which is off the table at the moment.
My question is, why should remedying those situations be handled by the institution that exercises force over people and maintains the law in society, government; rather than by that of the members of society themselves?
Why should government make choices for you, rather than allowing you to make them for yourself - who does, after all, have the free will to make your own choices and be responsible for them - why is Govt, and the highly removed federal govt especially, the best and proper source for making basic decisions about your life?
He replied,
FR It seems silly to talk about free will though. If the idea is that you are capable of committing any action you want at any particular point in time, I'm convinced you are capable of it. But the realm of actions you'll think about are basically bound by the environment you grew up in...
I reject your philosophical premise that we can talk about rights as endowed or given by anyone. Even more important, however, is that given the rhetoric of rights nowadays, I can still use them and affirm that from your principles and given the context of today's society, most people can't utilize the full extent of their rights.
Freedom isn't having to stick in one job because it is impossible to get health care benefits; freedom isn't being unable to move to a potentially new location to find a good job due to economic benefits; freedom isn't being in a terrible community for education, simply by the narrative of birth.
You mistake rights without realizing that they are both means and ends.
More importantly, I think falling into this rights language lets us ignore the reality: that all of society is about coercion and force. You exercise force over people all the time. There isn't anything particularly more remote than a government doing it, compossed of people who pass rules made by people. Government is a body we've agreed represents a broader consensus than most personal interactions of force.
I also think there's a broad strawman about the government making decisions 'for you'. Yes, the government took your tax dollars. The government then provided health care for a 12 year old child who's family can't afford it but wanted it. In one sense, the government did make a decision for that family. On the other hand, that government also provided them with something that they needed but couldn't have. The reality is that when we talk about the government 'making decisions' for you, what really mean is that the government, as a collective action body for a society, benefits some over others and tries to control those benefits. Well, yes. It is force.
But it is only different in that it has legal force behind it. Society and living in one is about social coercion at all levels.
The federal government did have to intervene and make decisions for people in a wide array of circumstance that we certainly approve of now: forced integration of public facilities, protection of minority voters and their voting rights, etc. It's not always the federal government that does it best, but many times, the pure scale of the effort mandates a larger response.
If you know me at all, you know that at that point we'd passed the 'no sniping' zone, I started in on reply after reply, but then I did something that I usually do at the beginning... and I did it because as I was thinking about what he'd been saying, and the particular post-modernist way of saying it... it occurred to me that it smacked of a particular, distinctive dialect, that of educationese... oh... no... yep. It was true.

Not only is FR a teacher, but he is a World History teacher.... and not in just any school, but in one of those schools which seem to be seen as a veritable panacea of solutions, in the mind of most Conservatives, a Charter School.
Color me surprised.

Van Well. I started typing a reply, and by the time I glanced down I was up to nine pages... and still only half way through your comment. That isn't going to work in facebook. I've tried before. So. Brevity being the soul of agony, I did my best to write the least that I could manage.
But then I finally made it down to this: "that all of society is about coercion and force.
You exercise force over people all the time." This is jaw dropping. I read it and finally clicked over to your profile and realized my worst fear - you're a teacher. Gadzooks. Who do you know outside of govt that exercises force over people all the time?
An example from today's headlines of using similar means for distinctly different ends: The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are examples of mobs of people using coercion and actual force to try and get their way, which is in direct opposition to the earlier Tea Party rallies, which were examples of people gathering together in an effort to persuade the public and legislators to their point of view.
What makes the one a mob, and the other a gathering, is the inability, or refusal, to see the difference between coercion and persuasion, perhaps as a result of being taught by folks such as yourself, that rights are non-existent, and that power can and should be seized if you have the numbers to force it.
"given the rhetoric of rights nowadays, I can still use them and affirm that from your principles and given the context of today's society, most people can't utilize the full extent of their rights." Lol, so let me get this straight, you will happily use what you do not think exists, in order to form principles you cannot believe in, in order to lay claim something you want to take from someone else. Wow.
"Freedom isn't having to stick in one job because it is impos..." Freedom isn't being free of any and all obstacles. Freedom isn't about being fed, clothed and cared for like a pet. Freedom isn't about not having to struggle to live, there IS a word for that though, it's called death... which I freely choose to avoid for as long as possible... by way of my right to make those choices and actions I see as being most worthwhile for me and my family.
Freedom and Liberty is about being able to make your own choices without either having to ask permission of, or being restrained by, the threat of physical force, and in recognizing your need for that, extending the same consideration to others.
"You mistake rights without realizing that they are both means and ends." On the contrary, you mistake Rights for being something other than a reasonable expectation of non-interference in making those choices and actions which a human being needs to be able to take in order to live their own life, and That is the real root of Rights – making the choices you choose to make in order to live your own life, and Free Will is central to it.
I'd be happy to go into greater depth on that (but... yes, this is an example of me being brief).

*Coerce - to restrain or dominate by force

*Persuade: to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action.
Do you really see no difference between the power of persuasion and the persuasion of power? To ignore the issue of actual force, to equivocate between choice and force... do you agree with the New York Times then, that "Reason Seen More as Weapon Than Path to Truth"?
I neither engage in coercion or force (leaving aside those unfortunate altercations with various drummers & drunks decades ago). In civil society the only avenue open to you to deal with your fellows is persuasion, and persuasion doesn't cease to be persuasion, unless you threaten or inflict actual physical force, in order to get your way.

No further reply from FR.

I'll have more to say about FR's comments, and what he said about what he feels is important that he teach to his students (it's pretty awful) and how it is that people come by these ideas as a result of our schools, and I'll even toss in a particularly offensive comment by a leading consultant to our own DESE in Missouri, but that'll have to wait for another post.

But have a look at this latest afront, from one school district away from my home,

"Fort Zumwalt high schools have placed an emphasis this school year on enforcing student ID regulations. Students are required to display identification at all times. Faculty at the five high schools have been instructed to increase enforcement on students violating the policy. Four times this year, the schools have done a spot check to track the number of students following the policy."
Students are required to display Identification on their persons at all times. In school. This is not the same situation as employees having to wear ID in a business, where you are on private property and are there by voluntary consent. This is government property, where students are required, to attend - that is bad enough - but on top of that they are to be required to 'Show your papers!' at all times, in order to not be penalized for being where they were ordered to be.

Well.

What can you say to that? My immediate reaction, was that if nothing else, this goes a long way to uphold that immortal principle of 'each person being presumed guilty unless proved innocent', not to mention the future benefits of implementing Lincoln's dictum that the philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. And of course it is way more personable than having to wear a yellow star. Right? Hello? Is this thing on?

Is that too harsh? With the entire history of public education in America in mind, no, I don't think so. But even if you disagree... can you imagine the time, confusion and waste of time this requirement will result in, and take away from the little real education they have a chance of receiving in school?

Fortunately there is at least one member of the school board with sense, Laure Schmidt, who had the good sense (and which I know her to be chock full of) to note,
""All this time is being spent checking ID badges, and it has nothing to do with education," she said.
Schmidt said multiple teachers have expressed a dissatisfaction with the policy.
"I have teachers coming up to me and their exact words are, 'You've got to help us," Schmidt said. "
But it isn't entirely true that it has nothing to do with 'education', if by education you mean the education public schools were designed, from the beginning, to inculcate upon our students. And no, it didn't begin with the Dept. of Education under Carter. Not by a long shot. As I noted earlier this year,

"For those who think the Dept of Education is a recent creation, no, it's not, only it's cabinet level position, the original Department of Education was formed in 1867 to ... (whadaya think?)...as the Dept of Ed site puts it,

"...collect information on schools and teaching that would help the States establish effective school systems. While the agency's name and location within the Executive Branch have changed over the past 130 years, this early emphasis on getting information on what works in education to teachers and education policymakers continues down to the present day..."
It certainly does, and the Morrill Act in 1863, and the second Morrill Act of 1890 gave the"Office of Education" responsibility for administering support for the forbidden fruit of the Civil War, our system of land-grant colleges and universities."
But, as I also mentioned in that post (and many others), the problem goes even further back than that. At right about the same time that the fruits of True Education, as the Founder's era knew it, was bearing fruit - the Founding Fathers - some of those very founders were already looking to trash that system and replace it with the 'New! Modern!' ideas of (my favorite demon in human skin) Rousseau.

I've given a lot of grief to Noah Webster and his efforts to replace the well written, imaginative, time tested classics of the West (Homer, Cicero, etc), with disconnected, dry as dirt 'just the facts ma'am' essays, which were the forerunner of modern textbooks. But another Founder, who was important to the revolution and who was truly exceptional and remarkable in many ways, Benjamin Rush, was maybe just as bad, if not worse, for the future of education in this nation, than Webster was. I knew Rush was on the 'throw out the classics' bandwagon, but the extent to which he followed through on that I'd somehow missed.

See if you can recognize any of the ideas of FR, not the flowers, but the seeds, in what soon became not only the ideals of modern education, but the entire top down, anti-federalism oriented, all powerful State, in these snippets from Rush's "Thoughts Upon The Mode Of Education Proper In A Republic," Philadelphia, 1786:

  • "In the education of youth, let the authority of our masters be as absolute as possible. The government of schools like the government of private families should be arbitrary, that it may not be severe. By this mode of education, we prepare our youth for the subordination of laws and thereby qualify them for becoming good citizens of the republic."
  • "Let our pupil be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public property"
  • "Our schools of learning, by producing one general and uniform system of education, will render the mass of the people more homogeneous and thereby fit them more easily for uniform and peaceable government."
  • "From the observations that have been made it is plain that I consider it as possible to convert men into republican machines. This must be done if we expect them to perform their parts properly in the great machine of the government of the state."
How did the bilge of Woodrow Wilson come to enjoy not just widespread public approval, but become nearly 'self-evident' on the parts of lawyers and judges who were undoubtedly 'well educated' enough to know just how incompatible such notions were with the original ideas of the constitution? Don't forget Abraham Lincoln's dictum, that -

"...the philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next..."
Which brings me back around to one final friend, an old flame who's living in New York, she's getting a degree from a school that is about as close to the original gates of philosophical hell as you can get, The New School (someday I'll finish my posts on Common Core Curriculum) and she's even helping to administer a foundation's grants, which extend into many an activity I'm sure I'd be appalled at.

At one point she'd mentioned giving the benefit of the doubt to the Occupy Wall Street punks people, that they were just idealistic, and maybe not so different from the Tea Party, which I'm afraid I went a bit off on (sorry Liz). She is definitely not a standard leftist, but she does get an earful of the standard leftists comments about the Tea Party - (ignorant, fearful of white culture being challenged, etc), and I suspect she's a bit baffled at how I can be so deeply involved with them.

But the fact that she has been getting a degree at "The New School" (whose history is at the very heart of the establishment of modern education, and she still retains an open mind, reaffirms my belief (bordering on desperately clutching at as if a life preserver), that though you may be aware of a central principle, that doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't other principles, perhaps just as, or more important, at work as well, which you might be blissfully unaware of.

Even so, after the mobbery the other day (November 17th), I had to send her a note,
What with your having front row seats, I was just wondering if you've had any other thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street'rs? Any further evaluation of the Tea Party?
Or on how the Rights of the few, the individuals, intersect with the demands of the many, the mob?
Our local OWS'rs talk the talk, but something in them (or at least in those they're trying to drive) keeps them from being able to walk it... they come up lame and ludicrous in the attempt - not like your guys, or Oakland's... thank goodness.
Stay safe,

Van
Back To The Beginning
And so now it's time to go back to the quote at the opening of this post, yes I agree with the gist of that statement. Show of hands for who was surprised at that? ;-)

You cannot live without making choices, and those choices require that you observe, consider - reason - making choices is a Requirement of human life. If you don't choose, you cannot make choices, you die. Rights and Life, go hand in hand, they are as inseparable, diminishing one, diminishes the other.

I believe each person has the Right to live their own life, and to do that you must have the ability to make your own choices and to retain the fruits of your efforts. In doing that you have to respect the Right, the necessity, of others being able to do the same... and that will inevitably mean cooperating and transacting with them - and benefiting from that.

The result of creating sizable amounts of wealth - inequalities of wealth - is that the cooperation and efforts of others must be involved, in order to accomplish it. You CANNOT produce wealth, without also, in one way or another, involving yourself with the enriching actions of others as well.

Adam Smith called that the "system of natural liberty", or the Free Market, and only America has (increasingly past tense 'had') a system of govt that was designed to enable that, by establishing a government that was primarily designed to uphold and defend the Individual Rights, Contracts, and so the Liberty, of its people.

Some people will make choices that will result in wealth that measures in the lower 20%, or less... others will make the choices, and the determined efforts, that will place them in the top 1%, and many others will make those choices which result in producing the wealth that measures out somewhere in between.

But ALL of them benefit, increasingly so, by their ability to freely associate and live their own lives, and even the bottom 1% will find themselves enjoying the effects of the wealth which those who succeeded in making better choices and more determined efforts, results in being created (paved streets, utilities, medicine, Arts, etc).

Every forceful action which requires some to NOT make the choices and efforts which they Rightfully (and respecting of rights) would have, diminishes the wealth and prosperity of all that society.

Another commenter on that thread, Dominic, responded that,
"Their philosophy is we are just not smart enough to make the choices that are right for us and our families."
Which is exactly so, and that is why those societies produce only poverty. The poverty which inevitably results from Socialism, in matter and spirit, has less to do with politics, than with the fact that when society is run decisions made at the top, and forced down, the number of additional decisions that are able to be made, is diminished - the more totalitarian the structure, the fewer are those making decisions. Such a process results in a society where the potential wealth that could be produced by the individual efforts of millions, is reduced to that which can be produced by only those few who are allowed to actively make (and who need to be very careful that they don't make decisions that anger those above them), which have to be distributed amongst millions.

It is literally throwing wealth - the productive decisions and efforts of millions of individuals - away.
A totalitarian state burdens itself with having to somehow distribute the wealth which those few who are partially allowed to think, and act, can produce, amongst a population many, many times its size.

Essentially what socialism does, is to select a quantity of 'Experts' equal to the population of a small village, and confine an entire state to having to live off the wealth which they might manage to produce. It doesn't matter how brilliant those experts are, the rest of the population is prevented from contributing their own productive decisions and efforts, and are prevented from making even the tiny corrections which the common sense of any knowledgeable person on the ground might make, and so the many can only consume what the few manage to produce.

The result is poverty. It's really not rocket science. Only wackademics.
Dominic replied that
"...Socialism leads to Totalitatianism, or are one in the same."
Yep. Behind their supposed differences, Socialism, Proregressivism, Marxism, Communism, Fascism... are little more than stylistic differences for varying degrees of depriving people of their Right to make their own choices and to retain the property resulting from them.

And just as an object falls at 32 feet per second, per second, the system which enters into any of these variants, will descend faster and faster towards hitting the pavement of Totalitarianism, in the (very messy) end.

Someone made a comment elsewhere the other day, about how the Left-Right political spectrum didn't seem to help much in describing the difference between Democrats and Republicans (or RINO's).... here's a suggestion to make what is being measured more meaningful.

On the left side of the spectrum, label its pole "Denial of Property Rights" and place this quote from Karl Marx, as an explanation for it:
" In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property."
, and on the Right, the Protection of Property Rights, this quote by John Adams wherein he describes what the purpose of a Republic is,

"... . It signified a government, in which the property of the public, or people, and of every one of them, was secured and protected by law. This idea, indeed, implies liberty; because property cannot be secure unless the man be at liberty to acquire, use, or part with it, at his discretion, and unless he have his personal liberty of life and limb, motion and rest, for that purpose..."
For the very same reasons that Adams and many of the other Founders spoke so adamantly of the importance of Property Rights to all of our Individual Rights, Marx insisted upon their being abolished.
So there are your two poles, Left and Right.

There is of course some distance between them, but if you've got some notion that the distance is marked by a slippery slope, one that you can leisurely traverse, pause, change your mind on and reverse course upon, you might want to strike the word 'slope' and replace it with 'precipitous drop', for that is a much better description of the result of stepping to the left of "Preservation of Property Rights", and it equally describes the effort required to move from the left position, back towards the safety of the Right.

The last time we did it, it took a Revolution to accomplish.

Just sayin'.

Monday, November 21, 2011

And now for a few words from one of our Sponsors...

Hey, when the opportunity comes along to match up Jon Stewart, and John Adams... who can resist? First enjoy a moment of honest & highly humorous insight from Jon Stewart on The Daily Show about the class warfare within 'Occupy Wall Street' at Zuccotti Park:

And then a couple words from one of our Republic's sponsors, John Adams; see if you can find some parallels between yesterday and today, in what he says in his Letters to John Taylor... ring any bells for ya?

"...Take the first hundred men you meet in the streets of a city, or on a turnpike road in the country, and constitute them a democratical republic. In my next, you may have some conjectures of what will appear in your new democracy.
V.

When your new democratical republic meets, you will find half a dozen men of independent fortunes; half a dozen, of more eloquence; half a dozen, with more learning; half a dozen, with eloquence, learning, and fortune.
Let me see. We have now four-and-twenty; to these we may add six more, who will have more art, cunning, and intrigue, than learning, eloquence, or fortune. These will infallibly soon unite with the twenty-four. Thus we make thirty. The remaining seventy are composed of farmers, shopkeepers, merchants, tradesmen, and laborers. Now, if each of these thirty can, by any means, influence one vote besides his own, the whole thirty can carry sixty votes,—a decided and uncontrolled majority of the hundred. These thirty I mean by aristocrats; and they will instantly convert your democracy of one hundred into an aristocracy of thirty.
Take at random, or select with your utmost prudence, one hundred of your most faithful and capable domestics from your own numerous plantations, and make them a democratical republic. You will immediately perceive the same inequalities, and the same democratical republic, in a very few of the first sessions, transformed into an aristocratical republic; as complete and perfect an aristocracy as the senate of Rome, and much more so. Some will be beloved and followed, others hated and avoided by their fellows.
It would be easy to quote Greek and Latin, to produce a hundred authorities to show the original signification of the word aristocracy and its infinite variations and application in the history of ages. But this would be all waste water. Once for all, I give you notice, that whenever I use the word aristocrat, I mean a citizen who can command or govern two votes or more in society, whether by his virtues, his talents, his learning, his loquacity, his taciturnity, his frankness, his reserve, his face, figure, eloquence, grace, air, attitude, movements, wealth, birth, art, address, intrigue, good fellowship, drunkenness, debauchery, fraud, perjury, violence, treachery, pyrrhonism, deism, or atheism; for by every one of these instruments have votes been obtained and will be obtained. You seem to think aristocracy consists altogether in artificial titles, tinsel decorations of stars, garters, ribbons, golden eagles and golden fleeces, crosses and roses and lilies, exclusive privileges, hereditary descents, established by kings or by positive laws of society. No such thing! Aristocracy was, from the beginning, now is, and ever will be, world without end, independent of all these artificial regulations, as really and as efficaciously as with them!
Let me say a word more. Your democratical republic picked in the streets, and your democratical African republic, or your domestic republic, call it which you will, in its first session, will become an aristocratical republic. In the second session it will become an oligarchical republic; because the seventy-four democrats and the twenty-six aristocrats will, by this time, discover that thirteen of the aristocrats can command four votes each; these thirteen will now command the majority, and, consequently, will be sovereign. The thirteen will then be an oligarchy. In the third session, it will be found that among these thirteen oligarchs there are seven, each of whom can command eight votes, equal in all to fifty-six, a decided majority. In the fourth session, it will be found that there are among these seven oligarchs four who can command thirteen votes apiece. The republic then becomes an oligarchy, whose sovereignty is in four individuals. In the fifth session, it will be discovered that two of the four can command six-and-twenty votes each. Then two will have the command of the sovereign oligarchy. In the sixth session, there will be a sharp contention between the two which shall have the command of the fifty-two votes. Here will commence the squabble of Danton and Robespierre, of Julius and Pompey, of Anthony and Augustus, of the white rose and the red rose, of Jefferson and Adams, of Burr and Jefferson, of Clinton and Madison, or, if you will, of Napoleon and Alexander.
This, my dear sir, is the history of mankind, past, present, and to come.

And one more summary, a bit more concise, particularly for Bill Gerling, a consultant for Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, who sees no problem creating 'Social Studies Standards for Missouri' which are teaching our children that we are a Democracy, or a “constitutional democracy” or a 'democratical republic' rather than what we are, a Constitutional, Representative Republic; perhaps he'll find a few moments of concern and caution from another of Adam's letters,Who, btw, can be reached at:
Bill Gerling

Social Studies Consultant\Assistant Director of Assessment
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

573-751-0398
800-845-3545
573-526-0812 Fax
Bill.Gerling@dese.mo.gov

"...No simple Form of Government, can possibly secure Men against the Violences of Power. Simple Monarchy will soon mould itself into Despotism, Aristocracy will soon commence an Oligarchy, and Democracy, will soon degenerate into an Anarchy, such an Anarchy that every Man will do what is right in his own Eyes, and no Mans life or Property or Reputation or Liberty will be secure and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral Virtues, and Intellectual Abilities, all the Powers of Wealth, Beauty, Wit, and Science, to the wanton Pleasures, the capricious Will, and the execrable Cruelty of one or a very few."
And finally for some incredibly correct words on politics, rather than political correctness, this from John Adams' Discourses on Davila,, for those who are oh so very impressed with our 'knowledge' and technology,

"First follow nature; and your judgment frame
By her just standard, which is still the same."
Alexander Pope
The world grows more enlightened. Knowledge is more equally diffused. Newspapers, magazines, and circulating libraries have made mankind wiser. Titles and distinctions, ranks and orders, parade and ceremony, are all going out of fashion. This is roundly and frequently asserted in the streets, and sometimes on theatres of higher rank.* Some truth there is in it; and if the opportunity were temperately improved, to the reformation of abuses, the rectification of errors, and the dissipation of pernicious prejudices, a great advantage it might be. But, on the other hand, false inferences may be drawn from it, which may make mankind wish for the age of dragons, giants, and fairies. If all decorum, discipline, and subordination are to be destroyed, and universal Pyrrhonism, anarchy, and insecurity of property are to be introduced, nations will soon wish their books in ashes, seek for darkness and ignorance, superstition and fanaticism, as blessings, and follow the standard of the first mad despot, who, with the enthusiasm of another Mahomet, will endeavor to obtain them.
Are riches, honors, and beauty going out of fashion? Is not the rage for them, on the contrary, increased faster than improvement in knowledge? As long as either of these are in vogue, will there not be emulations and rivalries? Does not the increase of knowledge in any man increase his emulation; and the diffusion of knowledge among men multiply rivalries? Has the progress of science, arts, and letters yet discovered that there are no passions in human nature? no ambition, avarice, or desire of fame? Are these passions cooled, diminished, or extinguished? Is the rage for admiration less ardent in men or women? Have these propensities less a tendency to divisions, controversies, seditions, mutinies, and civil wars than formerly? On the contrary, the more knowledge is diffused, the more the passions are extended, and the more furious they grow. Had Cicero less vanity, or Cæsar less ambition, for their vast erudition? Had the King of Prussia less of one than the other? There is no connection in the mind between science and passion, by which the former can extinguish or diminish the latter. It, on the contrary, sometimes increases them, by giving them exercise. Were the passions of the Romans less vivid in the age of Pompey than in the time of Mummius. Are those of the Britons more moderate at this hour than in the reigns of the Tudors? Are the passions of monks the weaker for all their learning? Are not jealousy, envy, hatred, malice, and revenge, as well as emulation and ambition, as rancorous in the cells of Carmelites as in the courts of princes? Go to the Royal Society of London. Is there less emulation for the chair of Sir Isaac Newton than there was, and commonly will be, for all elective presidencies? Is there less animosity and rancor, arising from mutual emulations in that region of science, than there is among the most ignorant of mankind? Go to Paris. How do you find the men of letters? united, friendly, harmonious, meek, humble, modest, charitable? prompt to mutual forbearance? unassuming? ready to acknowledge superior merit? zealous to encourage the first symptoms of genius? Ask Voltaire and Rousseau, Marmontel and De Mably.
The increase and dissemination of knowledge, instead of rendering unnecessary the checks of emulation and the balances of rivalry in the orders of society and constitution of government, augment the necessity of both. It becomes the more indispensable that every man should know his place, and be made to keep it. Bad men increase in knowledge as fast as good men; and science, arts, taste, sense, and letters, are employed for the purposes of injustice and tyranny, as well as those of law and liberty; for corruption, as well as for virtue.
Frenchmen! Act and think like yourselves! confessing human nature, be magnanimous and wise. Acknowledging and boasting yourselves to be men, avow the feelings of men. The affectation of being exempted from passions is inhuman. The grave pretension to such singularity is solemn hypocrisy. Both are unworthy of your frank and generous natures. Consider that government is intended to set bounds to passions which nature has not limited; and to assist reason, conscience, justice, and truth, in controlling interests, which, without it, would be as unjust as uncontrollable.*
Americans! Rejoice, that from experience you have learned wisdom; and instead of whimsical and fantastical projects, you have adopted a promising essay towards a well-ordered government. Instead of following any foreign example, to return to the legislation of confusion, contemplate the means of restoring decency, honesty, and order in society, by preserving and completing, if any thing should be found necessary to complete the balance of your government. In a well-balanced government, reason, conscience, truth, and virtue, must be respected by all parties, and exerted for the public good.* Advert to the principles on which you commenced that glorious self-defence, which, if you behave with steadiness and consistency, may ultimately loosen the chains of all mankind. If you will take the trouble to read over the memorable proceedings of the town of Boston, on the twenty-eighth day of October, 1772, when the Committee of Correspondence of twenty-one persons was appointed to state the rights of the colonists as men, as Christians, and as subjects, and to publish them to the world, with the infringements and violations of them, you will find the great principles of civil and religious liberty for which you have contended so successfully, and which the world is contending for after your example. I could transcribe with pleasure the whole of this immortal pamphlet, which is a real picture of the sun of liberty rising on the human race; but shall select only a few words more directly to the present purpose.

“The first fundamental, positive law of all commonwealths or states is the establishment of the legislative power.” Page 9.
“It is absolutely necessary in a mixed government like that of this province, that a due proportion or balance of power should be established among the several branches of the legislative. Our ancestors received from King William and Queen Mary a charter, by which it was understood by both parties in the contract, that such a proportion or balance was fixed; and, therefore, every thing which renders any one branch of the legislative more independent of the other two than it was originally designed, is an alteration of the constitution.”

Americans! in your Congress at Philadelphia, on Friday, the fourteenth day of October, 1774, you laid down the fundamental principles for which you were about to contend, and from which it is to be hoped you will never depart. For asserting and vindicating your rights and liberties, you declared, “That, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution and your several charters or compacts, you were entitled to life, liberty, and property; that your ancestors were entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural born subjects in England; that you, their descendants, were entitled to the exercise and enjoyment of all such of them as your local and other circumstances enabled you to exercise and enjoy. That the foundation of English liberty and of all free governments, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council. That you were entitled to the common law of England, and more especially to the great and inestimable privilege of being tried by your peers of the vicinage, according to the course of that law. That it is indispensably necessary to good government, and rendered essential by the English constitution, that the constituent branches of the legislature be independent of each other.”* These among others you then claimed, demanded, and insisted on, as your indubitable rights and liberties. These are the principles on which you first united and associated, and if you steadily and consistently maintain them, they will not only secure freedom and happiness to yourselves and your posterity, but your example will be imitated by all Europe, and in time, perhaps, by all mankind. The nations are in travail, and great events must have birth.
But... I'm sure that's all just 'old' stuff, outdated, and not relevant to our world today, right? I mean, obviously, having an iPod in your pocket is tantamount to the evolving of an entirely new species... right? Hey, do you suppose that means that new predators have evolved as well?

No need to worry though, really, there's nothing new under the sun, and so whatever the case, I'm sure that the old predators will suffice; and also true is that what was rare then, remains rare still, the race ultimately goes to those who seek after not what is new, but what is true.

Which are you? Where do you stand? Not fully clear on the question? Look at it this way, will you have the courage to live your own life? Or does allowing others to make your decisions for you, replacing the active part of you, within your own life, sound not all that bad? Does being a zombie sound just fine to you?

Really?

Do you really think that you can get by without making a choice?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The After Party #3 – Occupy your own world the old fashioned way – by living in it!

Thanks to everyone who came out last Thursday evening for the third St. Louis Tea Party, After Party.
We had an easy 100+ people turn out, this time at The Sky Music Lounge.

In addition to STLTP regulars Bill Hennessy, Dana Loesch, Michelle Moore, Adam Sharp, Jen E., Brian Bollmann, Darin M, Adam Bohn, we also had Frieda Keogh on hand to give a brief talk on the MOPP project, Missouri Precinct Project, which is working to mop up politics in Missouri, in general by,


  • Signing up more voters 
  • Increasing voter turn out
  • Educating people on their local government issues for – city, fire dist, school board, etc
, and more specifically by rebuilding the GOP from the ground up, replacing political machinists with constitutionally minded conservatives.

Through your efforts in the Precinct project, we can begin making our presence felt at the smallest division of local government, the Precinct captain.
Most of these positions are unfilled, but they play an important part in deciding who is appointed for local, state and even federal offices… fill them with constitutional conservatives.

Take a look at MOPP, and if you aren’t in Missouri, there are links that can help you with finding, or starting your own precinct project in your area... and you do want to do that, because I'm betting that your area doesn't look much different than our area, at least in this aspect:
"Did you know in the 2010 election, which was supposed to be an important election, 1.8 million Missourians voted out of a total registered voting population of 4.1 million, or 44%. Don’t you think we can do better than that. We don’t know the percentage of registered voters that are Republicans but without a doubt we should be able to increase voter turnout by 10-15% from conservative voters that support conservative principals.
One of the other goals of MOPP is to have conservative individuals running for Committemen and women in their respective Townships across the state. These are the individuals that form the party structure that determines the candidates for local and statewide offices. It is imperative that all of these positions are filled with constitutional conservatives to start turning our country back to a Jeffersonian Republic."
Michelle Moore MC'ing
Frieda Keogh MOPP'ing up

The After Party after party munchies with Me, Rick T., Shadowy Burns, Bill Hennessy, Chris Loesch, Dana Loesch & Adam Bohn

Why Bother?
Look at the news, we’ve got anarchists, communists & thugs occupying parks and city centers around the nation.

Why? Because they’re idiots. Figuratively speaking.

They believe in central planning, using the force of government to force your compliance with their desires. The effect of that, is the exact opposite of the Free Market, instead of enabling millions of individuals to live their own lives, make their own decisions, produce their own wealth and take advantage of the productive decisions taken by every other person who is personally involved in their lives and businesses... they instead insist that the decisions of a select, bureaucratic few, be followed by all, effectively removing the intelligence of millions of individuals from the market, and forcing them all to live on the little wealth that can be produced by the distant and disconnected decisions of a few bureaucrats.

Like I said. Idiots.

Are you really going to let idiots occupy your world? Your neighborhood? Your life?

What is the ultimate message of the Tea Party and of MOPP?

Occupy your world. You can do that by occupying the political system which controls the world. Do that by occupying the means by which your neighborhood is represented within it, by meeting and involving your neighbors in your own neighborhood. Do that, so that you can again occupy your own life.

Isn't it worth it?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Trick or Treat doesn’t end with Halloween - It's the Stupidity Stupid pt.2

I did a post not long ago about Robert B. Reich's advice to President Obama on putting together a Jobs Bill, which I'm continuing here, and later this week....why bother? I mean, Robert B. Reich...? Really? Why bother with what he says? Why does it matter what someone who no longer matters says or thinks? Well, along with the eye you should keep out for the upcoming super-committee budget meltdown later this week, again, you should keep another eye looking behind you towards Halloween and its Tricks & Treats. With that spooky night still fairly fresh in mind, I'll offer up an old treat by Niall Ferguson, historian & economist, who partly exposes the trick in his "History lesson for economists in thrall to Keynes", quipping off of Lord Keynes’s quip,

"It was Keynes who noted that “even the most practical man of affairs is usually in the thrall of the ideas of some long-dead economist”. Today the long-dead economist is Keynes, and it is professors of economics, not practical men, who are in thrall to his ideas."
But IMHO Ferguson only got that partly right, because the problem is that washed up economists like Reich, who are in thrall to long dead economists like Keynes, still have the ear of those many impractical men who are very much alive and holding the reins of power - see Obama's Jobs Bill and the budget super committee debacle at the end of this week - not only in America, but around the world; and the problem is that through them, the wealth & futures of practical men are being held in thrall, to the haunted cemeteries of these men’s minds.

And I for one am afraid of those ghosts.

Why? Because they are real. The problem with long dead economists, is that living ones still listen to them... and politicians, who can't make sense of modern economics themselves (because it is non-sensical), listen to them... even when there is no reason to believe that they were ever right, or ever cared about what would work... in the long run. That merry quipster Keynes had another quip for those sensible people who pointed out to Keynes himself that in the long run, his policies would exhaust the system, completely disintegrate and collapse the economy and that in the end his system, like a ponzi scheme, wouldn't work; he simply shrugged and said,
"In the end, we're all dead".
See what I mean? We're near the end, and he's dead... where does that leave you and me? Thinking which is that dis-integrated, which is so focused upon the here and now, tends to lead you into the sorts of dark times that are gathering around us now... meanwhile, those who led us to these ends are dead and gone. That's some scary stuff, and I for one am very much afraid of those ghosts, because that is what Keynesianism is all about, and we are being haunted, robbed and beaten up by it to this day.

But even that isn't the most frightening part of this - the really scary part is that Keynes entire corpus of non-sense was exposed and disarmed long ago - Henry Hazlitt demolished Keynesianism 50 years ago in " The Failure of the 'New Economics'", and yet we are still being beaten up and robbed by an unarmed dead man's ghost.

Now that's some serious Trick or Treating.

How? What it comes down to, is that the proregressive left (and 'right'), and those who can gain power over you through them, don’t care all that much about real reality, they aren't interested in what is right and true, but only in gaining power and winning; they care about how they can spin you into thinking that their trick is actually a treat - and Keynesianism is the very ticket for doing just that - it has an impressive argument (not a good one, but, like Kant's, it's one that is boring and very long ,just the sort of thing that people would rather put it into practice so you can find out what's in it, rather than bothering with reading it first - which seems to go well with our Pelosi-like times), and, best of all, it promises something for nothing, which is a demagogues dream, an elitist mask for a populist's pretext.

You might even say that it's something to Occupy the.001% (who think that they're the 99%) with.

On top of that, Keynes doesn't makes the mistake of coming out and saying what Marx did, that his system could be summed up in a single sentence "the abolition of property rights", Keynes only slyly implies and assumes it, without ever coming out and saying so directly, so Keynesianism can be used to accomplish the very same ends - the abolition of property rights - without having to use all those old scary words and names. Very ghost-like. And it is the perfect mask, that of a long dead economist, and a Lord no less, over that of an even longer dead economist, and one which gives the envious mob the blessings of the elites to take whatever they will, and feel justified in doing so.

Trick or Treat!

The Demons of Demand Don't Haunt Alone
But Keynes isn't the only ghost treating us with his tricks of course, there's Dewey & Rousseau, and of course Marx & Hegel & Kant... and Descartes too, the gangs all here, but Keynes is the one whose preachings, concocted from their ingreedients, makes their practical magic possible. It is his tricks that have succeeded so admirably in producing the money from our wallets to fund their schemes with, so that everyone willingly keeps up his pretenses.

Keynesianism doesn't make sense, it is important to realize that it doesn't actually work, but it can, with some distracting waving of the magicians arms, be made to appear to work and most people who do try and look closer at its workings simply assume that it is working and that it must be they who are missing something in understanding it. In fact it's Keynesianism that is missing something - a respectful grip on reality - but that is its trick, that it doesn't make sense, but people will assume that it does, so as not to appear to be unable to understand it - no one wants to say that the emperor has no clothes, and so everyone goes along with the trick.

We are being defeated by a whole lot of nothing. A ghost as a machine.

The American people's problem has been in recognizing that when these guys play trick or treat, they aren't playing games - in truth, most of those playing don't realize that they are, they mean well, and so assume things will turn out well, somehow, but the ruin they cause is real. The Wackademics, the Economists, the Politicians - look closely at their masks... they aren't masks... they don't come off... and though they don't mean to be, in practice their actions are those of spiritual vampires, economic ghosts and political Frankenstein monsters; everything they've been telling us about Political Correctness, managing the economy, and regulated rights. has been what has tricked us, themselves included, into playing along, on and on.

Most people spread Political Correctness because they think they are giving a tolerant benefit of the doubt to those who need a break, when in fact they are spreading falsehoods and enabling lies, and their good intentions sap our spirit. They push financial chicanery and sleight of hand because they really think their complexity can produce causes from effects, but their effects are produced through artificial demands and they produce only the destruction of wealth. Politicians push regulations thinking that they are aiding the little guy, when in fact they succeed only in centralizing power far away from the individual, empowering the most corrupt of corporations and decitful of politicians, over them.

Our perceptions are inflated by vast amounts of nothingness, and we mistake size for substance, keeping us blowing up one bubble after another, distracting ourselves with their continually popping about our heads.

There's a lot of talk and disagreement about what bubbles are, and even whether or not they are, but what bubbles are is more about what they are not: reality. Bubbles form when the information which people have and are making decisions based upon, doesn't reflect the reality that really exists beneath them. When real estate prices are soaring, based upon the idea that large numbers of people, have the actual wealth or a reasonable expectation of acquiring it, want to live in a particular area, then the market forces of supply & demand causes those real estate prices to soar.

But when it's discovered that most of those people couldn't really afford the property they were buying - they hadn't produced the wealth or had a reasonable expectation of producing it - that their debts could not be repaid because they could not produce the wealth to pay for what they'd consumed ... then the sharp end of reality pricks that bubble and as it pops, everyone who'd been floating up and along in it, falls to the ground... or at the very least they fall onto the next bubble rising on up beneath them.

The baseless real estate prices... fall upon the empty securities... which fall upon the unfunded pensions... which fall upon the extended loans which cannot be repaid... and the currencies which are discovered to have no wealth to prop them up... which fall upon the creditor nations who based their own credit upon the credit of those they loaned to....

*POP*

But know this - the encampments of Occupy Wall Street, are the very embodiement of their ideals, it is political correctness in practice, it is keynesianism in toto, it is the ideals of modern philosophy that have been 'educated' into the OWS'rs heads, on full display right before our eyes, is what those ideals mean in practice. This is also one of those rare instances when those who brought such a fearful diaplay about, will openly and admiringly admit it - see the press, see the professors, see the economists, see the politicians; they all look and praise what they are seeing with the Occupiers - will you look and see the refuse, the filth, the lice, the disease, the drug addiciton and overdoses, the theft, the violence, the arson, the rapes, the murders - will you have enough respect for the truth to see that those are the ends which the modernist monsters means will mean for everyone's lives?

Trick or Treat! Will you look? Will you call them on it? Probably not. Why? Because they say they don't mean for that to happen, right? they don't intend such bad things, only good, and so we continue on in your ever deepening indebtedness - you can thank Kant for that.

What those bad debts really are, is misinformation, a confusion between what some people wished was true, and what really was true. Many Cassandras have tried warning us of this for years, here is one from Nelson Hultberg in "Apocalypse This Way Comes", from back in 2003,

"But this time around our malaise is not caused by Fed engineered high interest rates. It is far deeper and more systemic. It stems from the great Keynesian theoretical flaw that will always manifest in the long run: central bank credit expansion leads to "debt saturation" and "malinvestment," which reverses the boom that the credit expansion was meant to perpetuate, but does not do so until the latter stages of the Kondratieff cycle."
Sadly for us, reality doesn't pull it's punches, and our society, indeed the world, is saturated with just this sort of Debt, and the debt collector is a coming. Hultberg goes on in one of the cheerier passages (really, don't read the article if your sanity is hanging by a thread... Boo!),

""Something ugly this way comes," writes brash and brainy Jim Willie in his Ass-Backwards Economics series. But the bovines in our establishment pasture are not cerebrally independent enough to grasp the horrific financial collapse of which he speaks. Lacking the contrarian attitude necessary to see truth coming down the pike, they drone out Pollyannish bunkum about the economy that pacifies the herd and reinforces the dogma to which they subscribe. What they should be stocking up for, however, is the devastating "mother of all bear markets" that is now beginning its attack upon our lives in the manner that bubonic plague begins its contagion by first striking isolated victims, then later explosively metastasizing throughout the whole of society with pervasive death and ruin."
The one thing they never tell us about all of the 'bubbles' we've had popping about us, is that they aren't confined to economics; while we have had plenty of real estate bubbles, and stock market bubbles, they are only the visible edge of the larger larger philosohical and educational bubble starting to be felt in the College bubble. What? You haven't heard about that one yet? Why? Where do they come from? A hint can be found in that all of the bubbles begin by promising to give us what we want, without our having to work for it.

Here, look closer, see if you can see the strings behind three of the biggest bubble blowers:


  • Public Education was ostensibly mandated to produce an educated populace for free, but it has nearly succeeded in removing even an understanding of what being educated means.
  • The FED was ostensibly established to do away with depressions, recessions and economic bubbles by letting experts handle things... but the reality is that we've had more of each since its establishment, than we ever experienced before it.
  • Regulatory Agencies were ostensibly created to help the little guy, but no one is so oppressed by them as the individual.
Whatever their original intentions might have been, and good intentions no doubt they were, they have in fact served as a trio of virtual bubble blowing machines, they inflate us with information that has less and less relation to reality, puffing us up ever higher and larger, until eventually one of their bubbles pop, distracting us from the next one in line. But what we miss with all the lesser bubbles, is that there is one massive great pumpkin of a bubble which we've all been standing upon, one that has made all the others possible, and its motto is that you can 'have your cake and eat it too', but we are all far too distracted by all the little ones floating & popping around our heads to take much notice, ar even really care... because, be honest, the cake tasts good... and while you know you don't still have it... everyone else is pretending right along with you, so what's the problem, right? You might get found out in the end, but... in the end... we'll all be dead, right?

Keynesianism is the leading edge of that bigger bubble... but it isn't the bubble itself, that belongs to Mssr's Descartes, Rousseau, Hume & Kant, but he is the leading method for implementing their emptiness and for blowing up all the other little bubbles with it.

But rest assured, at some point we are going to realize that there are no smaller bubbles left, and we'll all look down, and then, like Wylie E. Coyote, we'll look back at the camera, gulp, wave, and then 'Foop!' shoot down out of the screen towards the canyon bottom far below, dissappearing in a little puff of dust.

That real philosophical bubble, which has expanded to puff up very nearly the entire world, probably won't be acknowledged or recoginzed in our time, in time; nope, more likely it'll take historians looking back and remarking on how terribly wrong the rhyme was that ended with 'Words can never hurt you. "

Trick or Treat indeed.

Why am I being so cheery today?

Well, there have been several things which have occured recently, which lead me to think I may find myself with the horrid pleasure of saying "I told you so". Indicators such as this recent tid-bit from a governor of the Bank of England saying "OMG!"
"World facing worst financial crisis in history, Bank of England Governor says: The world is facing the worst financial crisis since at least the 1930s “if not ever”, the Governor of the Bank of England said last night."
And... also some indications that the last financial bubble standing, China, is getting scarily close to popping - oh yeah, it is. But before looking at the latest, lets look at a couple years ago, when a couple Keynseian's were happily expressing their views just before and after Obama’s 2008 election. Here one leftist economist is speaking glowingly of China's Keynesian policies,
"… a U.S. stimulus of the same size as the Chinese … would amount to $2.2 trillion. That's the kind of rocket-powered stimulus we need! … Obama's team is already ready to roll with similar plans."
And this one from just after Obama's election denouncing those who were foolish enough to oppose his plans,

"The Republicans want to put the brakes on, and just fall back on cutting taxes, and hoping that lower taxes is going to inspire big business …Many Americans, like me, just don't buy it… If big business cared about the people of the United States they would invest in the US and not ship jobs off to exploited workers in countries with low…."
Blah, blah, blah. That was two years ago. And last week. And tomorrow too, no doubt. But the fact is that their Treat is their Trick. Stimulous. Printing... digitizing money, spending, regulating, encouraging demand... Keynesianism... the offering up of a trick as a treat... with a bigger, nastier trick waiting in the wings to close out the show with. In the end. Hopefully, after you've left.

Not sure what I mean? China is the new economic super power, isn't it? Everyone from Glen Beck to Paul Krugman, and even Niall Ferguson, have been trumpeting how the Chinese are preparing to eat the West's lunch. While that's true, in a sense, what they aren't expecting, or rather what they have been expecting but will soon see is nowhere to be seen, is that the West will produce the coins to pay the bill and tip the waitress.

Come on... one more time... say it with me... Trick or Treat! From bad to worse, let's peek under the dragon's mask... first from Stratfor, the well respected global observer,

"One of the solutions the Chinese have tried to follow is urbanization: the idea that if they build it, people will come and if people move to the cities they will suddenly have jobs and in having jobs in the cities and living in a city, they’re going to become consumers. And certainly this is not for the entire billion of the population that’s not active, but maybe another hundred million, 200 million, 300 million. And that would help to better distribute wealth throughout China; it would also ease China off from their heavy dependence upon exports.

This boom in urbanization coincided with this government need to spend a lot more on domestic investment. It also fell right inside of what was already building as a speculative bubble in real estate investment. ...

So we have a China that’s facing a real estate bubble in an attempt to build a new urbanized society, but the individuals who would be moving into that urbanized society can’t afford to move in because of the price rise in housing. The government is trying to find ways to slow down that rise in price, but if they move too quickly it can undermine the collateral for the loans from state-owned enterprises, it can pull away the nest egg from their middle class and that can cause a very rapid backlash against the central government.

For China then, what this European crisis has done is it has brought something that they’ve known for a long time right up into the front. They no longer have the ability, it seems, to simply keep pushing back economic change and perhaps even not the ability push back political change in the country because the European crisis has ended their ability to count on this continuous rise in exports."
And then moving from Stratfor's cool detachment, to a more human reaction, here, from last week, have a closer look,
But what happens when the China bubble bursts? When it goes bang it will be worse than the US credit crisis and far worse than the EU sovereign debt crisis. For when China goes under the entire economy of the planet will sink into oblivion with it.

The only question remaining once China falls is when the bottom will be reached.

The day China's bubble bursts may be a lot closer than many think…at least The Daily Bell's market analysts think so, and they make a frighteningly good case.

For the past decade China has been riding the wave of the West's reckless spending and debt cycle. Becoming the biggest exporter in the world next to America (that's right, America—the US is still number one despite what you may have heard), China has pinned its currency, its hopes and its future on trade with the West.
And though Western economists, even some of the best, such as Fergusson, think that China has the advantage... who are you gonna believe, them or the Chinese? You see, we've been passing our IO‭U's to China... and China is beginning to realize that there is nothing behind them, the rich people in China are beginning to examine those IOU's, and they're beginning to realize that the reality they promise, just doesn't exist - IOW, they're false, unfounded financial information - bad debt. Forbes notes:
"China’s rich, primarily driven by a sense of insecurity, are taking money out of their country. Many are actually preparing to move elsewhere.
According to a new study, almost 60% of China’s “high net worth individuals,” defined as those possessing more than 10 million yuan in investable assets, are either considering emigration through investment programs or are completing the emigration process. The survey, conducted by China Merchants Bank and Bain & Co., also reports that 27% of those with more than 100 million yuan in investable assets have already emigrated and 47% of them are thinking about leaving the Motherland.
The stunning results correspond to reports that the U.S. Treasury unit monitoring illegal money flows has, since the beginning of last summer, detected a surge in hidden cash transfers out of China.."
What is the trick that these guys have all been treating us with? The answer is in the cards, which we'll start flipping over in the next posts, but what you should simply ask yourself, is does the free market work? Does communism fail? If you answer yes, then you've got to ask yourself, do you think that there is a reason beyond their names? Hopefully your answer is Yes again.

But if you answered no to the free market... then... ask yourself, what it is that happens when you forbid people from doing what they wish to do?

It makes no difference whether you are talking about forbidden ideas, intoxicants or economic practices, when people are forbidden from living their own lives as they'd like to out in the open, then you might have noticed that they begin doing so in the shadows, hidden from view, telling likely stories to mask the truth... can you guess what those allibi stories create when they are spun, told and followed?

That is precisely where bubbles come from.

The Free Market works for a reason, and Communism fails for a reason, and that reason is that it violates what the Free Market upholds - the right of the individual to live their own lives. Violate that, and sooner or later, your system will come crashing down... and ladies and gents, it is later... right now.

To be continued.