Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Supernatural Does Not Exist

To assert the existence of the supernatural, one has to claim to have witnessed something that allegedly disobeys the laws of nature - i.e. something that cannot be described or expressed in comprehensible words reflecting certain patterns of reality. Here, there are two major aspects: 1) if one can’t explain a certain phenomenon, the reason of his failure to explain it may be an error or his lack of knowledge. That DOES NOT mean that the phenomenon is “supernatural.” 2) if one claims that the phenomenon can NEVER be explained and rationally cognized, what is the source and foundation of this claim? How can one know that in the future a Newton won’t emerge who will discover the laws governing this phenomenon? To sum up, such a claim has no grounds whatsoever.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Going Intestellar!

While petty politicos like Obama and Putin wallow in the mud and try to destroy our civilization, Reason has achieved yet another triumph despite their efforts. It's bizarre that I missed this - in May the Japanese launched the first light sail-powered spacecraft. If developed further, this technology, though now it's still in its embryonic stage, may get us to Proxima Centauri, the nearest star, in about eight years.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Obama's Genesis

1:1 In the beginning Obama promised to create a heaven on earth.

1:2 And his believers' minds were without form, and void; and awe-struck looks were upon the faces of the asleep. And the Spirit of Obama moved upon the faces of the believers.

1:3 And Obama said, Let there be debt: and there was debt.

1:4 And Obama saw the debt, that it was good: and Obama divided the debt among the producers.

1:5 And Obama called the debt Stimulus, and the taxes he called "skin in the game." And the evening and the morning were the first day.

1:6 And Obama said, Let there be a massive new entitlement in the midst of the recession, and let it divide the healthcare bill among the insured and the uninsured.

1:7 And Obama made the entitlement, and divided the bill among the insured and the uninsured: and it was so.

1:8 And Obama called the entitlement Obamacare. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

1:9 And Obama said, Let the union thugs under the bosses be gathered together unto one place, and let us nationalize GM: and it was so.

1:10 And Obama called the nationalized entity Government Motors; and the gathering together of the unions he called community organizing: and Obama saw that it was good.

1:11 And Obama said, Let the earth bring forth ACORN, the herb-smoking agitators, and the fruity radicals yielding fruitcakes after their own kind, whose seed of destruction is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

1:12 And the earth brought forth radicals like blades of grass, and herb-smoking agitators after his kind, and the ACORN yielding fruitcakes, whose seed of destruction was in itself, after his kind: and Obama saw that it was good.

1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

1:14 And Obama said, Let there be wealth redistribution in the firmament of the heavens to divide the clean from the unclean; and let there be a sin, to blame man for the seasons, and for hot days, and warm years:

1:15 And because of this sin let us command that lights with screwy filaments give light upon the earth: and it was so.

1:16 And Obama subsidized these lightbulbs; so that all but GE might rue the day, and that poor reading light might rule the night: he made Snooki a star also.

1:17 And Obama set these lights in all the government offices and schools to give pale light upon the earth,

1:18 And the masses could barely distinguish the day from the night, and the light from the darkness: and Obama saw that it was good.

1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

1:20 And Obama said, Let the Gulf waters bring forth abundantly a crude oil; and because of this oil let us seize assets with undue haste and re-establish the moratorium on offshore drilling.

1:21 And Obama lamented the great whales, and moaned over every slimy creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every oily fowl after his kind: and Obama saw that it was good.

1:22 And Obama blessed them, saying, Be pitiful, and multiply, and after the waters are filled with oil, let the oil dissipate and let us quickly move on to the next crisis without lifting the moratorium.

1:23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

1:24 And Obama said, Let the earth bring forth the Islamic radical after his kind, jihadists, and Muslim fanatic, and terrorist suicide-bombers after his kind: and it was so.

1:25 And Obama called forth the Islamic radical after his kind, and jihadists after their kind, and every Muslim fanatic upon the earth after his kind: and Obama saw that it was good.

1:26 And Obama said, Let us make the Islamic radical in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the courts of law, and over the military rules of engagement, and over the mosque at Ground Zero, and over all the earth, and over every creepy thing that creepeth upon the earth.

1:27 So Obama created Muslims in his own image, in the image of Obama created he him; bloodthirsty male and oppressed female created he them.

1:28 And Obama blessed them, and he said unto them, Be vengeful, and multiply, and subjugate the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the infidel, and over the racist warmongers, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

1:29 And Obama said, Behold, I have given you every opportunity to wreak havoc, which is upon the face of all the earth, and have opened my arms to you, in the spirit of tolerance and diversity; in the guise of peace we will offer you their defeat.

1:30 And to every non-believer, and to every infidel, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have offered you defeat: and it was so.

1:31 And Obama saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

2:1 Thus the United States and the West were finished, and all the host of them.

2:2 And on the seventh day Obama ended his work which he had made; and he played golf from all his destruction which he had made.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

President Barack Obama's Endgame

Debt is bad. Yes, very true, GOP. But am I supposed to be inspired by the correction of faulty accounting? This video appears like it was produced by a CBO actuary.

Joke about Pelosi's Possible Untimely Death Draws Democrat Howls

Bobby Bright, an apparently party-less U.S. politician often seen cavorting with Democrats, engaged in some eye-raising black humor regarding Madame Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Montgomery City, Alabama breakfast called "Eggs and Issues." Democrats scrambled to condemn Bright for the following comments, which are summarized on a local website:

U.S. Congressman Bobby Bright was heard having a little fun at U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's expense during his recent participation in the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues.

Bright, who is is in his first year in Congress and facing a battle against Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby this fall, joked that Pelosi might lose her own election, decide not to run for the speaker’s job or otherwise not be available.

He suggested, jokingly he insisted to his audience, that Pelosi could fall ill and die in coming months. That remark drew laughter from the crowd.

The ironically named Bright voted for Pelosi for Speaker, but now is apparently throwing eggs at her from the gallery to pose as an outsider candidate. Anything to stay on the gravy train, right?

Social Security - A Milk Cow with 310 Million Tits!

There are some odd statements coming out of the mouths of Democrat babes who are waking up from their nappies to realize that the nanny state won't last forever. Too bad the Angels of Death who run the nursery want it that way.

Take Social(ist) Security, for example. Obama "debt panelist" Alan Simpson recently made the following moooving comment, for which he was swiftly rebuked:

"I've made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know 'em too. It's the same with any system in America. We've reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits! Call when you get honest work!"

Now that's the kind of truth-telling I wish more technocrats would shovel onto the plates of their statist overlords. Got milk, Obama?

In addition, Simpson characterized those elderly who opposed reform of Social Security as "Gray Panthers" and "Pink Panthers," which was immediately slammed as "ageism" - an epithet apparently contrived specifically to keep the elderly back in the government box.

Elsewhere, a DEMOCRAT Senator by the name of Michael Bennet made the following unfalsifiable comment that is sure to stir the leftist pot:

“We have managed to acquire $13 trillion of debt on our balance sheet,” he said. “In my view we have nothing to show for it. We haven’t invested in our roads, our bridges, our waste-water systems, our sewer systems. We haven’t even maintained the assets that our parents and grandparents built for us.”

Aye, yay, yay. Now how do the Democrats dispute that meaty comment?

Editor's note; Unfortunately a graphic of an actual milk cow with 310 million tits was unavailable at the time this story went to press.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Locked and Ready to Rock

Reframing the American Debate

The progressive movement has eroded the foundations of liberty in the United States over the course of decades by putting the onus of proving good intentions onto conservatives. Always on attack and never in retreat, progressives have eaten away at the resolve of the defenders of the American system to positively articulate their principles. By corrupting the language and perpetrating false or empty values, always criticizing the "status quo" and never being forced to articulate a practicable solution to the nation's problems, the left has prepared an ideological terrain that entraps those who advocate reason and American values.

This can and must change. The tea party movement de facto has the majority of Americans on its side, but it has been hindered by a leftist-driven public relations campaign that paints it as a reactionary opposition devoid of positive ideas, productive solutions, or contemporary political thinking. With an awareness of this public relations pitfall, a bit of imagination, and a modern reformulation of ideals, we can turn a fledgling opposition movement based on America's founding ideals into a broader-based modern political force that is here to stay.

The moderate and self-described independent opponents of the tea party movement see it as negative or outmoded. If this image problem is redressed, we will not only bring so many backers into our ranks that it will be politically impossible for the left to stop us, we will forge an undercurrent of positive thinking that will carry it through all obstacles.

So while the tea party movement has been defined as opposition to illegal immigration, climate change, higher taxes, bailouts, the stimulus package, and reckless foreign policy, we must now pivot in time for campaign season to revise these positions and recast them in positive form. After all, we would not oppose these policies to begin with unless we had a positive articulation of American values in our hearts and minds. We need to air our powerful and visionary beliefs as expressed in the nation's founding, in modern political language. The following are examples of what we can do to persuade more Americans as to the justness and necessity of our cause.

1. Illegal immigration - We stand for legal and responsible immigration. We believe that America is a great country that attracts immigrants from around the world and we want them to take part in this nation as fully legal and co-equal members. The current policy of allowing immigrants to come to America unchecked denies them the legal rights and protections all American citizens should enjoy. Such immigrants need to become stakeholders in this country by partaking in their fair share of taxes and allowed to hold their heads high as proud Americans. The current policy of open borders undermines American security, the economy, and the dignity of immigrants.  We are for lawful and orderly immigration.

2. Climate change - It is a fact of nature that, with or without human beings, climate changes. It is always imperative for man to adapt to change. We advocate a vision of humans not as unnatural beings corrupting the environment, but rather natural creatures that utilize their minds and technology in order to survive. While we do not deny that pollution is a consequence of some particular activities, we must also recognize more broadly the tremendous benefit to human life that comes from technological innovation. To suggest that taxation of industrial civilization as a whole will provide solutions to pollution overlooks that law is the proper instrument for redressing damages to the public. We advocate a responsible and prosperous economy, unfettered by centralized planning writ large and one that addresses environmental problems as they arise on a case-by-case basis.  We are for a prosperous and responsible economy.

3. Taxation - We are not anarchists. We recognize that taxation has a proper place in our Constitutional republic. But taxation, and the spending that justifies it, must not be endless. Though there are many worthy causes worth funding, we believe that using coercion to fund all seemingly noble projects is a recipe for corruption and waste. Furthermore, we believe that too much coercion and taxation undermines the economic base that produces the wealth that has so many positive benefits in this country. We believe in the human dignity that comes from self-reliance and we support policies that lead Americans to self-reliance as effectively as possible. We are for a government that spends within our means.

4. Bailouts - We desire an economy founded on success, and we believe that bailouts reward unsustainability and failure. Taking money from American workers to give to big businesses and large banks is not only immoral, it damages the economy. We are for successful sustainable businesses, and meaningful employment within a market framework.

5. The Stimulus Package - We are for businesses and government that take responsibility for their actions. We are for clear rules in an economy, and believe that risk is a part of life. We believe that all enterprises must accept risk as an aspect of reality.

6. Foreign policy - We believe in "peace through strength." We believe that weakness invites mischief. We are not for aggression, but for justified self-defense. We are for defending ourselves against those who have openly declared war on us.

There may be more and better ways to articulate our views in a positive manner, and this is just an exploration of this suggestion. The above is a "middle ground" formulation that attempts to neither deny our fundamental guiding principles, nor shock moderates with end goals that are more consonant with the value of liberty. We must begin to flip the game on our opponents before pinning them down.

My Favorite Nerd Series

Big Bang Theory is perhaps the best sitcom I've ever seen. It features several nerds, including one of the most outstanding fictional characters - the nerd par excellence, the genius archetype, the rational scientist who deserves deep respect and admiration, despite his infantile features - Dr. Sheldon Cooper.
I've swallowed the entire series in about two weeks and I want more, and so do some of my friends (the fourth season is scheduled to start in September). The sitcom can be watched online (just google it). Some of the best parts are on YouTube - e.g. here and here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Cheap Shots at Ayn Rand from NRO

This "review" speaks for itself.

The Greatly Ghastly Rand
From the Aug. 30, 2010, issue of NR.

‘From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged,” Whittaker Chambers wrote here 53 years ago, “a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: ‘To a gas chamber — go!’” What he did not write is that Ayn Rand throws in a gas chamber.

It’s about two-thirds through, in a chapter called “The Moratorium on Brains,” than which I reread no farther. (Our president seems to have inspired — which is not quite the word — half the country to read Miss Rand, and I wanted to remind myself what she was teaching them.) A train is carrying 300 passengers through the Rocky Mountains to San Francisco. America is falling altogether to pieces, its citizens starving to death, because the prime movers — Rand’s term for the productive men and women on whom economic creation and therefore life-or-death depend — have called a strike. They are hanging out in a mountain valley that their leader, Mr. John Galt, has cleverly hidden from the world by means of refractor-ray shield.

The world scarcely has diesel locomotives. When the one attached to that train breaks down, the only replacements are coal-burning, which is a problem, because the train is about to pass through an eight-mile tunnel that is not properly ventilated for locomotives of this type. It happens that an important looter — Rand’s term for the half-wits running and ruining the country — is on the train and has strong feelings about getting to San Francisco. His name is Kip Chalmers. “It’s not my problem to figure out how you get the train through the tunnel, that’s for you to figure out!” Kip Chalmers screams at a station agent. “But if you don’t get me an engine and don’t start that train, you can kiss good-bye to your jobs, your work permits and this whole goddamn railroad!”

This is persuasive. “The station agent had never heard of Kip Chalmers and did not know the nature of his position. But he knew that this was the day when unknown men in undefined positions held unlimited power — the power of life or death.” And so the station officials, knowing that the loss of their jobs means the loss of their lives, call in a coal engine, procure a drunken engineer, and condemn every passenger on the train to death by asphyxiation.

But that isn’t why I stopped reading. I stopped because Rand thinks they deserve it.

It is said that catastrophes are a matter of pure chance, and there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet [that’s the train] were not guilty [note that word] or responsible for the thing that happened to them.

The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 1, was a professor of sociology who taught that individual ability is of no consequence. . . .

. . . The woman in Bedroom D, Car No. 10, was a mother who had put her two children to sleep in the berth above her, carefully tucking them in, protecting them from drafts and jolts; a mother whose husband held a government job enforcing directives, which she defended by saying, “I don’t care, it’s only the rich that they hurt. After all, I must think of my children.” . . .

. . . These passengers were awake; there was not a man aboard the train who did not share one or more of their ideas.

Now there are two important defenses of Rand. The first is that it is the looters, not the prime movers, who make the gas chamber possible and send the train into it. The second is that Rand’s philosophy is incompatible with totalitarianism, and no one who believed it would ever send anyone to a gas chamber. Both are true. Neither has anything to do with what troubles me about this gas chamber, and about Ayn Rand. And to explain that, I must say something about Rand at her best, which I believe is to be found in the second half of The Fountainhead, a book I did successfully reread. [More]

Friday, August 20, 2010

Americans Overcome the Odds

The American spirit is defined by and thrives in adversity. Rugged, individualist, and pioneering, our forebears forged ahead regardless of the obstacles. Despite hardship, disease, starvation, revolution, civil conflict, and war, the heart of freedom beat on. The nation's founders opposed all those who sought to thwart their spiritual mission to live free or die trying.

That legacy is now threatened. An American generation is now thrust into the crucible of divine fire, testing the mettle of the citizenry to overcome a growing enemy - one that uses fear and lies to turn the state against the people. While the fate of the nation remains dim, the light of truth yet shines brightly. As a people, we must recognize that we have faced dark times before and triumphed over the fiercest of enemies. And God willing, we shall prevail again.

In the year 1620, Captain John Smith presided over a ragged band of settlers who forged a swampy countryside in the midst of heat and relentless mosquitoes to found a colony at Jamestown, Virginia. The ghosts of Roanoke provided sober lesson as to the monumental nature of the task. Savage natives, unclean drinking water, plague, and starvation were the initial rewards for the hardy settlers. But hardship gave way to fortune as the introduction of tobacco marked the beginning of a promising new enterprise; one that would establish a trade so vital for the preservation of life in the colonies. Americans find a way to survive.

Meanwhile, at Plymouth Plantation in later-day Massachusetts, William Bradford lead an exhausted but grateful party onto the shores of America. A devout and pious group, the English separatists known as the Puritans would increase their numerous troubles by adopting common property. The deadly effects of this undertaking are well worth noting:

The experience that was had in this commone course and condition, tried sundry years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince they [the] vanitie 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 common wealth, would make them happy and florishing; 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 imployment that would have been to their benefite and comforte.

The settlement was racked by starvation as long as the socialistic measures reigned. After the adoption of private property, the former year's starvation gave way to bounty. The cornucopia of the first Thanksgiving was replenished for years afterward, a tradition that taught men foresight and humble graciousness. Americans are unafraid to adapt and learn from their mistakes using commonsense and good judgment.

The successes of the colonies at Jamestown and Plymouth would be followed by others, such as those of Providence and Pennsylvania. The trials in the wilderness would prove formative as increasingly better armed adversaries would seek to deprive the settlers of their hard-fought gains. Predatory powers from abroad jostled in the New World to elbow out the resilient upstarts, who had prepared the way for potentially easy-won empire. Americans are not imperialist; they expand liberty at the expense of tyranny.

At the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, near present day Pittsburgh, began the dispute that the Quebecois would call the La guerre de la ConquĂȘte or "The War of Conquest." Americans and Brits would refer to this theater of "The Seven Years' War" as "The French and Indian War." Pitting the French and native American tribes such as the Algonquin, the Ottawa, and the Shawnee against the Brits, their American subjects, and the Iroquois league, the war would rage in sporadic conflict from Virginia to Nova Scotia from 1756-1763. The conflict would leave a deep impression in the minds of many of the United States' founding fathers, such as Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, and would be marked among the "long train of abuses" in Thomas Jefferson's draft of The Declaration of Independence.

And indeed this declaration was a shot across the bough to tyrants across the world. It would proceed with principled opposition to tyranny, as opposed to the aimless anarchy of today's left, who fancy their opposition to liberty as a continuance of the American tradition. It is not.

In light of the grievances listed in The Declaration of Independence, the British taxes of Americans exemplified by the Stamp Act, the Townshend Act, and of course, the Tea Act, and the imposing fighting force of the British Empire, we can only imagine how uncertain the cause of liberty seemed to those men and women courageous enough to take it up. Their story is one of dedication and inspiration throughout, one best illustrated by George Washington's perseverance at Valley Forge.

Near Mount Misery and Mount Joy, the barefoot and ragged soldiers under Washington's command dug in on the frozen terrain of Valley Forge. It was the winter of 1777. Starving and diseased, the sole comfort these men received came from the scores of camp followers, women and children who provided rations and affection to their brave defenders. Washington's men would fight one of the key battles of the revolutionary campaign; not against the British and their Hessian mercenaries, but against themselves. Their steely resolution to continue on, in the dead of winter and despite interminable hardship, proved the pivotal moment in American history. In this fateful hour, the Continental Army was forged, and the spirit of a nation embodied.

No less a miracle occurred after the Revolutionary War, than the series of improbable victories that defined it throughout. The Constitutional Convention was marked by innumerable compromises, reached after prolonged wrangling, not only over the interests of the thirteen colonies, but over the key questions of American history: The institution of slavery and the power of the national government.

Northern and southern colonies sowed the seeds of future enmity by compromising on the status of slaves; though rightly the Constitution banned the importation of slaves, the ratifiers as a whole would not allow the document to declare in full voice the citizenship of all men. Those who came to be called the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists struggled over the crucial question of the relative power of the national government vis-a-vis the states. Both dilemmas would be resolved in the bloody affair known as the War Between the States.

Yet the climax that would settle those contradictions would be forestalled by more immediate considerations. Most pressing was the raging Napoleonic Wars in Europe, which would engulf the United States due to its close relationship with France. The dethroned Great Britain would seek vengeance in America, as well as the reestablishment of its lost trade, as France embarked upon an expedition to embroil Europe in flames.

Truly, Washington and Jefferson foresaw the danger of foreign entanglements, though practical considerations made them impossible to avoid. Trade proved a more troublesome matter than anticipated as warring powers viewed any assistance to their adversaries with hostility.

The period between the Constitution's ratification and the War of 1812 was one of lost innocence and the disabuse of naivete. The suppression of Shay's Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion, the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts, and the establishment of a central bank by the Federalists, threw down the gauntlet to the heroes of the American Revolution who fought to remove oppression from our shores. Creeping tyranny had been established in the shadow of the glorious Founding.

The War of 1812 would expose the soft underbelly of the American experiment, as the lack of a standing national army made it vulnerable to attack. The British would send the ragtag outfits of the states into a scramble as it invaded and proceeded to cut a swathe to the nation's capital. In August of 1814, the country's defenders embarrassed and fleeing, the British occupied Washington and burned down the public buildings in a pretentious and vindictive orgy.

Yet their vainglorious display of renewed dominance would prove short-lived. General Andrew Jackson, earning his nickname of Old Hickory, would lead a campaign to return the British menace to their foreign shores. Harassing the red coats interminably, the American troops would push the invaders down the Mississippi river to the Brits' demise at The Battle of New Orleans. Other nations pick fights with the United States. Americans end them.

As the British were driven south and out of the states, settlers were heading westward into the wild frontier. Following the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark led the way for Americans to fulfill the Manifest Destiny of a country straddling the earth between the shining seas. Along with the intrepid souls seeking land and fortune in the West, came cattle, ox, and horse-driven carriages. The harsh terrain claimed many victims from exposure and disease, but in the course of two generations, all foreign powers were either pushed out or their territories annexed. The power vacuum that attracted imperialist ambition from Europe had been filled, at the tragic price of the loss of many Native Americans' and settlers' lives. But Americans moved forward.

The haul by land of supplies from east to west proved slow and exhausting, spurring innovations in transportation like the steam locomotive, which was put into service in America in the 1820s. Within fifty years a railway line would be built predominantly by Americans and Chinese immigrants that spanned from New York to San Francisco. The golden spike marrying the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad was driven home at Promontory Point in Utah on May 10, 1869. Coast-to-coast travel in a matter of days, rather than months, was now a reality. Americans see through their visions to the end.

Industrial forces transformed America further, accentuating the cultural divide between north and south. While the southern states remained agrarian and slave-owning, the northern states grew urban, cosmopolitan, and liberal. Abolitionists struggled fiercely to see the establishment of rights for all Americans come to fruition. The Underground Railroad provided a passage to freedom for those blacks willing and able to escape. All Americans yearn to breathe free.

Resentment of the North grew, and every compromise, including laws that sought to cordon off the institution of slavery, seemed to delay the inevitable clash. Secession had been a watchword in the air since the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798-99, which were a response to federal overreach. Written secretly by Jefferson and Madison, they provided legal and principled rationale for state oversight of federal law and the non-enforcement of unconstitutional laws known as "nullification." Slavery was far from the only wedge that divided the northern and southern states.

The election of 1860 brought to power Abraham Lincoln of the newly formed Republican Party, which had split from the Whigs over the issue of slavery (but not much else) and had combined with "Free Soil" Democrats. By Lincoln's inauguration, seven states had already declared secession. The divorce would not be amicable.

Lincoln declared the secessions "legally void," invoking the familiar rationale of forming a more "perfect union." Though he stated that he would not invade the South, or end slavery, he would rightfully reclaim "federal property" if necessary. Needless to say, southerners bristled.

Years of miserable war wracked the conscience of a nation; children orphaned, fathers killed and maimed, and families torn apart. Sherman burned his way through the South, slaughtering thousands, while southern dispatches scrambled to re-form into a cohesive army. The moment of truth for a nation, entailing southern submission or the freedom of the slaves, was fast approaching.

On July 1, 1863, Confederate troops approached Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to seize much-needed supplies, including shoes for their bare and aching feet. Because Gettysburg was an important thoroughfare for supply lines, the Union troops under General Mead moved hastily to cut off the Confederacy. The armies would collide, sparking the pivotal battle of the Civil War.

After two days of intense fighting, the fate of a nation hanging in the balance, Lee gambled on a desperate maneuver to collapse the middle of the Union army. One account sums the last push for the South:

Thinking the Union center had weakened from these attacks, Lee decided the next day to hit it first with artillery, and then an infantry charge led by George Pickett's division. Stuart's late-arriving cavalry was to come in behind the Union center at the same time, but they were held off by Union cavalry led by a young General George Custer. After an hour's duel, Union artillery deceived the Confederates into thinking their guns were knocked out. Then 13,000 Rebels marched across the field in front of Cemetery Hill, only to have the Union artillery open up on them, followed by deadly Federal infantry firepower. Scarcely half made it back to their own lines. In all, Lee lost more than a third of his men before retreating to Virginia. Meade, a naturally cautious man, decided the loss of one-quarter of his men had been enough, and only feebly tried to pursue Lee, missing an opportunity to crush him.

The Confederacy would fight on, surrendering nearly two years later on April 9, 1865. A war that had been in doubt for the Union prior to Gettysburg, had become a triumph. Five days later, an American president would die along with the South's cause. Americans fight to the end.

Though the South's defeat was a consequential day for the freedom of slaves, it gave the North nearly unlimited powers to dictate terms to the defeated. Reconstruction would be marked not only by the prodding of the South to turn slaves into freemen, but by the placement of a national yoke on all states who sought escape from the Union. The United States had become a nation, for better and for worse.

The second founding of the United States would concentrate the power that most of the original founders thought so dangerous. The ambitious and power-hungry flocked to the epicenter of politics and economy, seeking to wield influence over their presumed inferiors, as the vanquished Anti-Federalists had predicted. Freedom was on the run, though American power was on the rise.

The United States weathered a series of painful global depressions ranging from 1873 to 1896. By the turn of the century, the crucial elements of the modern state as we now know it were present. The South now consolidated, the intellectual opposition to statism eroded under governmental control of education. Powerful trusts forged ties with corrupt politicians for both influence and protection, pulling the strings for tariffs, subsidies, and even adventurism. The Progressives would develop the intellectual and moral justification for unlimited state intervention; indeed, under the rubric of protecting the consumer, particular monopolies developed and a central bank was formed. And then came World War I.

President Woodrow Wilson had promised not to enter the European war to Americans as one of many campaign pledges he would break. After stalling for three years, the U.S. was pulled into the fray in 1917 by a combination of understandable German hostility to U.S. trade with Britain and an elaborate propaganda campaign undertaken by the Wilson administration. American sailors and doughboys would charge off to foreign shores, striking decisively against the Germans and Austrians and helping to end the bloodiest war in world history. The victory would establish America as a great power for the next century.

Despite an immediate depression upon the termination of the war, America quickly recovered and a post-war boom ensued. Fueled by fantastic technological innovation and an easy money policy, the 1920s would roar towards a devastating crash in 1929. State interventionists like Hoover and FDR were quick to seize upon the opportunity to orchestrate the economy's "recovery," which would not come for another decade. Americans suffered famine, drought, and rampant unemployment, ending only with a catastrophic war foisted upon them by the imperialist Japanese.

The Great Depression was the proving grounds for innumerable social and economic engineering schemes, which exacerbated America's problems. The Alphabet Soup became the alphabet soup kitchen, conditioning Americans to become accustomed to paternalistic government. And re-elect the first father of the country, FDR, is what they did time and time again, apparently not knowing any better. There was not the example of the demise of a Hitler or a Mussolini or a Stalin to teach Americans the danger of concentrated state power. But fortunately for the nation, World War II would acquaint millions of Americans with the hard reality of fascism; the defeat of the Nazis, the fascists in Italy, and the imperial Japanese developed American patriotism as well as an antipathy for virulent nationalism and socialism. Americans oppose tyranny when they see it.

The statists, not dissuaded in the least by the experience, would nonetheless have to conceal their designs on America. Keynesianism, a brand of Fabian socialism, was taken worldwide as a result of the Bretton Woods conference. The Marshall Plan not only helped millions of Europeans, it locked them into dependency on America for aid and security. The rise of the USSR would provide a bi-polar foil to the freedom-loving USA that would rule out the promulgation of naked socialism out-of-hand.

The sacrifice of heroic Americans for the sake of themselves and their European allies would not be appreciated for long overseas. The "greatest generation" had shown tremendous heart and determination, and inspired countless other countrymen; but in Europe, they were all but taken for granted. America stood for freedom in the world, even as the Europeans turned its shoulder on the notion.

In addition, the U.S. faced the task of rebuilding war-ravaged Japan, which it had bombed into submission. The examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were seared into the minds of America's adversaries, and deterred others from utilizing the unconscionable weapons. The nation felt that the least it could do was get the mostly brave country back on track, even in light of the cowardly act at Pearl Harbor. After America kicks an enemy down, it offers a hand back up.

When the communist armies of the northern territory of Korea invaded the south, a U.N. resolution was quickly dispatched; but it was assumed that America would do the bulk of the fighting. And fight it did. For three long years, Americans fought on a strategically irrelevant peninsula for the freedom of millions. When the North Koreans pushed, Americans fought on. When the Red Chinese entered the war, Americans fought on. And having pushed back the combined armies to the 38th parallel, America drew a line in the sand and made a promise to defend it. It does to this very day. When Americans came back from this "Forgotten War," they didn't speak of it again. Not only are Americans brave, they are humble.

The height of the Cold War brought fierce competition between America and the communists; a deadly arms race and an equally significant space race was launched in the 1950s. The Soviets had shocked Americans not only with its first nuclear bomb test in 1949, but by beating them to space with Sputnik in 1958. It would take an endeavor of immense proportions, entailing dedication, imagination, and courage for an American to reach space with Apollo 8 in 1968. In the face of numerous setbacks and even a number of astronaut deaths, the U.S. would land a man on the moon with Apollo 11 in 1969. America's pioneering spirit had reached a new zenith.

But along with this unbeatable high came unremitting lows. The Vietnam Conflict would become one of the longest gut-wrenching episodes in American history. Pulled in by a combination of French weakness and principled opposition to communist expansion, America was entrenched over the course of years in highly intense pitched guerrilla warfare. Tens of thousands of soldiers would face nauseating heat, stifling humidity, and relentless insects, even when not fighting the merciless Vietnamese. After twenty years of escalating warfare, without the forceful impetus from the political elite to win the war decisively, the United States withdrew. Vietnam War vets came home without parades or fanfare. In light of America's history of victory at all costs, this must have sown undeserved shame and guilt in the steely veterans' hearts. The determination of the troops was not matched by the resolution of the establishment. The heart of America was being severed from its political head; the fortitude of the citizenry was unmatched by political courage from its nominal leadership.

The 1970s was a time of tremendous uncertainty and anxiety. The oil embargo, stagflation, and the prostrate regime of Jimmy Carter would culminate in humiliation at the hands of Iranians and the growing scourge of international terrorism. It would take a return to principle to steady the nation, and that is exactly what a former actor and governor of California named Ronald Reagan did.

For the first time in three generations, an American president spoke of freedom and actually meant it. Reagan was thus loved by the heart of the country and despised by the head. The Great Communicator spoke to the nation's passions and identity in a way that few presidents did. Americans see themselves as capable and resilient, the political leadership had grown used to defining them as dependent and obeisant. President Reagan breathed fresh air into stale politics and made Americans feel good to be themselves again. When America was given the latitude to get back to work, the greatest economic boom in the nation's history developed.

But Reagan would mark his place in history not only for his wisdom in unleashing the American spirit to create and build, but for engaging a long-time adversary - not just with weapons but with morality itself. The "Evil Empire" in a rotten, decaying state, President Reagan knew that a combination of military-economic pressure and moral challenge would accelerate the communist union's demise.

On June 12, 1987, after two terms of vigorous and principled opposition to socialism at home and abroad, Reagan issued a moral demand:

We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Gorbachev would not need to tear down the wall, the Berlinners would do it for him. Reagan had struck a great blow for freedom. The political elite shrugged and planned its next subterfuge. Americans rejoiced, for they had helped to liberate their fellow men.

Reagan's principled opposition to statism would not last for long. Although President George H.W. Bush served under Reagan, he was not a fan. Initiation of the First Gulf War would become Bush's most memorable decision, and a tremendous victory for the country's fighting forces abroad. Millions were spared death, mutilation, or rape at the hands of the genocidal Saddam Hussein. But again political courage failed to resolve the matter while the capability of the American military was demonstrably sufficient to do so. Afraid to upset regional powers, Hussein remained dictator and was allowed to flaunt peace terms for another decade. It would take a national emergency of unprecedented proportions to cast new light on the lingering danger of the Iraqi regime.

September 11th, 2001 is quite possibly the darkest day in American history. The nation's psyche was so shaken that a profound sense of unease penetrated all spheres of life for several years. But the country would struggle not only with an invisible menace named terrorism, but with the precarious nature of freedom itself. The War in Afghanistan brought a pledge from George Bush to bring the evildoers to justice, providing some salve to the injury. Yet this just war combined with a war that would sully the image of America in the minds of the citizens. The Iraq War, for better or for worse, would test the limits of people's patience.

The U.S. military was thus under assault not only by ruthless enemies overseas, but by hostile press at home. They fought in unimaginable conditions with less than first-rate equipment. In sand, wind, and heat they continued on. They hunted down the most despicable and cruel of men and brought them to justice. They protected women and children, helped build schools, provided food and medicine, and no doubt comforted as many as practicable. The living hell of war was made that much more unbearable by scorn and ridicule of their very mission. Liberation was no longer a worthy cause for the elite, belying their own shallow valuation of freedom.

Yet American troops fought on, plugging away in the face of daily casualties. The picture in Iraq appeared bleak, by all media accounts. When President Bush proposed a surge to quell the stubborn insurgency, the left balked. Future president Obama would question the wisdom of the plan, and voted against it. Bush deprived the Democrats of a quagmire along the lines of Vietnam, which had given the left so much political capital. The success of the surge demonstrated that when Americans are allowed the freedom to take action, they win, regardless of the odds. If the Democrats allow the troops in Afghanistan to win, they will.

The challenges that our country faces today are immense. Massive debt, intrusive government, and an openly seditious president are among the obstacles that are placed before us. The Roman senator Cicero, who lived during the collapse of the Roman Republic, and who opposed the rise of Caesar, describes the nature of the traitor, in terms vividly appropriate for President Barack Obama:

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.

But President Obama is just one man. Removing him from office would be a resounding success, but would signal only a long and arduous process to restore freedom. A powerful cadre has infiltrated the halls of government to establish itself as a ruling elite who will dictate terms to a permanent underclass, in flagrant disregard of our Constitution. We must fight to preserve America's place in history; we must act like historic men.

Will we be so cowardly to cede the lamp of liberty to those who would snuff it out, casting the world into darkness for a thousand years? This is surely our fate should today's political elites prevail. It is time to take up the mantle of our forefathers and become the champions of liberty. After all, we are Americans. It is our job to overcome the odds.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Leftism for Dummies

1. Make up your perfect fantasy land

2. Trash anything that does not match said fantasy land

3. Work to destroy anything that is not in your fantasy land

4. Villainize all who tell you your fantasy land isn't real

5. Support leaders who promise you your fantasy land

6. When things get worse and worse, and people scream at you to stop, remain firm in belief that your fantasy land is near

7. When system collapses, act shocked when jackbooted dictators take over and fail to deliver fantasy land

8. Get locked in gulag, wonder what happened

9. Receive thanks from those who told you so

10. Apologize to the victims?

11. A bullet to the back of the head

Ayn Rand on Descartes, the Founder of Modern Philosophy

Descartes began with the basic epistemological premise of every Witch Doctor (a premise he shared explicitly with Augustine): “the prior certainty of consciousness,” the belief that the existence of an external world is not self-evident, but must be proved by deduction from the contents of one’s consciousness—which means: the concept of consciousness as some faculty other than the faculty of perception—which means: the indiscriminate contents of one’s consciousness as the irreducible primary and absolute, to which reality has to conform. What followed was the grotesquely tragic spectacle of philosophers struggling to prove the existence of an external world by staring, with the Witch Doctor’s blind, inward stare, at the random twists of their conceptions—then of perceptions—then of sensations.
When the medieval Witch Doctor had merely ordered men to doubt the validity of their mind, the philosophers’ rebellion against him consisted of proclaiming that they doubted whether man was conscious at all and whether anything existed for him to be conscious of.
(For the New Intellectual)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Deprogramming the Left

The Republic is being destroyed from within by a contingency of radicals set on leveling the capitalist economy and crushing the American dream. These true believers are resistant to their political opposition's declamations to cease and desist in their hostile and inhumane activities.

No exhortations succeed in deterring them.

Though a minority, these radicals wield immense influence over millions from their well-situated positions in the news media, entertainment industry, courts, schools, and universities. Those who would dare cross these activists may find themselves slurred in a "respected" newspaper or targeted by a nightly "news" host. These radicals have no respect for morality or decency, employing an Alinskyite ends-justify-the-means mentality while carrying out their strategy of political warfare.

For any insurgency, successful political warfare consists primarily of winning hearts and minds. And this is the key to understanding the left's mental guerrilla warfare.

Not having created or produced anything useful themselves, leftists have no demonstrable accomplishments for people to admire. Everything the left 'accomplishes' is predicated on the labor, creativity, and productivity of others. The left cannot point to the miraculous victory of the American revolution and the unprecedented establishment of a government based on the ideal of human freedom. They cannot point to the immense good that has proceeded from industrialism harnessed by a free market. They can only criticize the "good for being the good," as Ayn Rand put it, and this is the essence of the New Left's "Critical Theory."

To accomplish a mindset guided by the rejection of facts, reason, evidence, and reality, one must achieve two things: The instillation of an all-encompassing utopian worldview held together by sheer emotion, and the social reinforcement of the moral imperative to reject any contradicting evidence, which becomes perceived by the subject as an alien element that threatens the integrity of the utopian worldview.

The radicals' minds are thus systematically programmed from the earliest age to reject facts, evidence, logic, and reason. Abusing social trust when they ascend to authority figures in schools and universities, radicals manipulate the learning environment of students by pressuring or alienating non-conformists. Much of the indoctrination of the next generation of radicals occurs in two ways; the first manner I have to coin "compassionism," the second, is aesthetics.

The pretense that liberals are more compassionate than conservatives is the cornerstone of the leftist indoctrination process. It is what maintains the leftist's distorted mental infrastructure in light of rational argumentation and counterfactual information.

Utilizing the pretense of authority in the presence of the mentally vulnerable, radicals overwhelm any rational resistance to their program with scorn, ridicule, and if necessary, force.

Radicals are not content to indoctrinate the young, of course, They must broaden their assault on the capitalist system. The means of transmitting leftist anti-values in the public sphere tends to fall under the umbrella of aesthetics. Art, music, and film are the trojan horses for inculcating or reinforcing leftism in the masses, oftentimes without people's awareness of it.

The Italian communist Antonio Gramsci realized that politics is carried out on two planes: The hegemonic cultural plane (the dominant set of ideas, values, and beliefs that support and sustain the "superstructure") and the economic base. If leftists came out and outright attacked the hegemonic culture, or "capitalism," there would be instant reaction and opposition.

Instead of carrying our this suicidal plan, neomarxists (the heirs of Marxism who acknowledged the shortcomings of its materialist doctrine) set themselves to infiltrating the cultural institutions, and from there would dictate "political correctness." Their strategy of infiltration was to diffuse the perception of threat to the capitalist system (which the great majority of people benefited from) by undertaking various seemingly innocuous but destructive "causes" like feminism, environmentalism, and black liberation theology, while hiding under the veil of "compassion." Needless to say, there is nothing "compassionate" about destroying the capitalist economy, and the human freedom that both drives it and is sustained by it.

Confident that they have captured the institutions of culture, law, and education, the radicals now feel confident that they can openly capture the economic base. Although they have eroded private property and the independence it gives rise to for over a century, at no point has their assault on the capitalist base been so brazen.

If the neomarxist plan is to fail, and there is some indication that it is struggling to win either the hearts and minds of the public (see here and here) or the enforcement apparatus of military and the police, we must wage an assault upon the leftists' ideals, which are precisely divorced from reality.

But how to implement reason in those people who have been indoctrinated to be both irrational and uncritical in regards to their own belief system? The following is a plan that will confront the irrational, and especially, the intelligent but half-rational, leftists and force them to acknowledge the premises that rationality, freedom, and capitalism are built upon.

Since open political confrontation would provoke immediate reaction from the leftist, or from those guided by leftist assumptions, we should carry out our deprogramming process on the seemingly unpolitical level of assumptions.

Those familiar with post-modernist critique will immediately understand what I am driving at. Post-modernism holds that there are "subaltern" political ideas that are manifested in the culture; including in literature, art, and "news "narratives.  The leftist have used "narratives" to mask their plans to delegitimize any universalist claims to human morality and decency, thereby robbing us of our Enlightenment legacy.  A perfectly anti-Gramscian counter-offensive begins by giving rise to the sublimated; by engaging in the ongoing tacit political warfare that takes place in the culture between elections.

We all have recognized a certain helpless feeling in ourselves while anticipating the elections that increasingly seem to decide the fate of our Republic. While the left carries its warfare our on a day-to-day basis, we are left breathlessly fighting at shadows or striking out at the superficial manifestations of the fundamental, deeper war taking place for our minds.

Here is something we all can do, or to integrate into our daily battles with the left, who are, for all intents and purposes, crypto-communists. It integrates and makes explicit common-sense, which is appreciated by the dwindling majority of people who work in material reality, and undercuts the irrational and unrealistic basis that leftism is erected upon.

The following is but an illustration of the kinds of assumptions that can be directly attacked while maintaining an apolitical veneer. I recommend forcing a true or false response, or a yes or no answer, from the soft leftist, and explicitly reinforcing such assumptions in our youth, who are exposed most intensely to leftist arguments:

Deprogramming the left

1. Rationality (or preferences among alternatives)

Do we have to make choices in life?
Are some options better than others?
Are all opinions equal?
Do actions have reactions?
Does behavior have consequences?
What would a life without science look like?
Is emotion sufficient for man's survival?

2. Morality
Do we make up morality?
Or is there some other source (i.e., reality) that morality derives from?
Is a man born into the world owned by others? Or is he free?
Should good behavior be rewarded?
Should bad behavior be punished?
Should feeling good be the basis for morality?
Can one have a right that imposes a demand on another's life or labor? If so, what happens to others' rights?
Who controls the expenditure of one's energy?
Who should control how one lives one's life, as long as it doesn't interfere with others' lives?
What does freedom mean? Does it mean the ability to make choices among alternatives?
What is the relationship of reality to freedom?
Can politicians be trusted to safeguard your freedom?
Do groups actually exist in reality? Or, do collectives actually exist?
Are some cultures better for human beings than others?
Should countries strive to become better or should they strive to become equal with others?

3. Economy (the most overly political and the most difficult for radicals to understand)
Should human beings have to work to live?
Is labor an assumption of human life? In other words, is your labor voluntary?
Should where you work and how you work be voluntary?
Do you control what you buy, or does what you buy control you? If so, how does it control you?
What interest does your boss have in employing you?
Are your interests and your boss's interests opposed to one another?
Are there material limits on resources?
If so, what does this imply for an economy?
How should we recognize limits on resources and how they get distributed? By what politicians want, or by what individuals want?
Are individuals similar or different? Is so, why?
Think of a random number from one to a hundred. Why don't I think the same number?
Is money different from wealth?
Does printing money increase wealth?
Should paper money represent value?
If one is paid money, should it be in trade or for adding value to the economy?
What happens when the government gives money to unproductive people?
What are the consequences of this for those who do produce goods and services?
Is debt a good or a bad thing?
Do debts have to be paid back?

These are but some illustrations of the main idea, and that is to uproot leftism by attacking its unrealistic and irrational assumptions. To force people to make prudent and wise choices, both personally and politically, this is the ultimate task that is required to re-establish and sutain a rational, free, and prosperous nation.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Need to Reform Public Education

Every year Americans are increasingly appalled by the nation's decline, but seem unwilling or unable to properly attribute the source our intellectual and moral decay: The "state-run" education system. Entrusting their childrens' education to the power-hungry, parents are amazed when politicians instrumentalize their childrens' minds as a means to preserving their own power. Yet they need not be surprised. The goal of the state is to expand the power of the state; and this includes power over the human mind.

The abysmal state of public or "state-run" education is well-documented. Sub-standard math and science education (evidenced by deteriorating international test scores), as well as skyrocketing costs and an increasingly immoral curricula (including pre-teen sex education and environmentalist indoctrination), have led to the creation of an irrational, immoral, and confused electorate. This proposes tremendous problems for American patriots, whose political ideology is explicitly predicated on history and rationality.

But it also presents a political opportunity. Many parents are disappointed and angry at the education system (but not educators) for the government's repeated failure to educate their children. High school dropout rates, especially among so-called "minorities," show that the problem is not just one of quality, but one of motivation. To quote one source to show the magnitude of the problem:

"Nationally, about 71 percent of all students graduate from high school on time with a regular diploma [29% do not], but barely half of African American and Hispanic students earn diplomas with their peers. In many states the difference between white and minority graduation rates is stunning; in several cases there is a gap of as many as 40 or 50 percentage points."

But per usual, education experts persistently miss the point. Educators blame parents, a lack of funding, but rarely, themselves.  The administration's opposition to successful charter schools showed even minorities where the state stands on who should have control of the education of children.  The stealth passage of student loan nationalization in the healthcare bill showed that the government is no longer content to have direct control of the education of children, but young adults as well. The confrontation between Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and the teacher's unions has led to surprising support for bringing teachers (and other "public servants") back to economic reality, while imposing on them some standards of performance. This public support also shows that education reform is a potential winning agenda item that could, if handled properly, lead to laying the foundation for a generation of more rational, more responsible, more capable, and more liberty-loving Americans. 

But we shouldn't be too pollyannish in our expectation that we can overtake an overhaul of education in this country overnight. We have a dedicated and ruthless opposition that has embedded itself at every level of academia. The current education system is dominated by leftist social engineers to the point that it is nearly unbearable for any free-thinking American to bear it. They are smug, arrogant, and ruthless, and can only be exposed through focused, dedicated, and blunt opposition. We must begin the path to uprooting the would-be dictators by telling our leaders that we believe education reform to be a crucial agenda item.

Education is the key to the political power of the left, as the 1960s radical generation currently in government knows full well. William Ayers, the terrorist radical who was "transformed" by the left into a respected educator, in an interview with the tellingly-named Revolution, stated the following:

"That’s one of the things that’s actually annoyed me for about 40 years of being a progressive educator: the separation of the concept of progressive education from the concept of politics and political change. You can’t separate them…and this is a contradiction, incidentally, that goes all the way back to the beginning of progressive education and really the beginning of the conversations about the relationship between school and society."

As Orwell might comment on the mentality of these leftist ends-justify-the-means "revolutionaries": "One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship." For educators of Ayers' ilk (and we can infer the radical ideological affinity of many educators by their reverence for the bomb-thrower Ayers), state education is the means for social and therefore political transformation.

But there are two flaws in the left's program, and these are turning out to prove deadly. First, and we must only touch on it briefly, the New Left idealists disregard reality, and overestimate the power of their ideas to transform it. Essentially, to refer to the mass suicide at Jonestown, they "drink their own Kool-aid."

Second, and more to the point here, state indoctrination does not lead in the long-run to an army of lock-step true believers, but rather to apathetic human putty. When mobilizing for human action (to use Mises' term), one must appreciate that individuals control the expenditure and the direction of their energies; this is in accordance with Rose Wilder Lane's thesis in her outstanding and overlooked work "The Discovery of Freedom."

Let us briefly touch on this work to show the opposition of government and education.  If we follow Lane, the essence of government is force, and "The need for Government is the need for force; where force is unnecessary, there is no need for Government." (29) In her view, the government always derives its power (to use force) from the consent of the governed" (30), a consent that the American government is perilously close to losing. Important to Lane's work is the idea that "Historically, this monopoly is always a use of force to hinder, restrict or stop the productive uses of human energy." (31) As Jefferson put it, government is "a necessary evil."

Yet the would be philosopher-kings of an imagined American "republic" (rather, a totalitarian utopian society), dismiss an ancient dictum from the proto-fascist Plato himself: "[K]nowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind." The implication is that mass indoctrination does not lead to fanaticism, per se, but apathy and anomie. The aimlessness of intellectual and moral life leads wittingly or unwittingly to a totalitarian state, as Hayek pointed out in The Road to Serfdom:

"To be a useful assistant in the running of a totalitarian state, it is not enough that a man should be prepared actively to break every moral rule he has ever known if this seems necessary to achieve the end set for him. Since it is the supreme leader who alone determines the ends, his instruments must have no moral convictions of their own. They must, above all, be unreservedly committed to the person of the leader; but next to this the most important thing is that they should be completely unprincipled and literally capable of anything. They must have no ideals of their own which they want to realize; no ideas about right or wrong which might interfere with the intentions of the leader. [...] The only tastes which are satisfied are the taste for power as such and the pleasure of being obeyed and being part of a well-functioning and immensely powerful machine to which everything else must give way. Yet while there is little that is likely to induce men who are good by our standards to aspire to leading positions in the totalitarian machine, and much to deter them, there will be special opportunities for the ruthless and unscrupulous." (168-169)

It is this form of "education," one that is intentionally designed to lead to the formation of "robots," and not thinking adults capable of the self-governance required to preserve liberty, described at length by education reform activist John Taylor Gatto.

Gatto, in his The Underground History of American Education (available online) and Dumbing Us Down, thoroughly documents the agenda of corporations and left-wing activists like John Dewey to transform America into a gulag-state. The results of the state-run education program? Students who are, to put it in Gatto's words, "needy, frightened, envious, bored, talentless and incomplete."

It should be pointed out briefly that Gatto misattributes the current state of education to the designs of rich industrialists more than one hundred years ago, who wanted to create worker-automatons in the Taylorist mold. Such a program, if ever there was one, is obsolete today. The consequences of Dewey's program is to turn our schools into little laboratories, ahistorical and anti-conservative in the profoundist sense, where social engeineers can perform endless experiments justified by "pragmatism," and thus without political consequence. Besides this point, America's manufacturing base has been driven out of this country by leftists since the 1970s, with high corporate taxes and stringent environmentalist and financial regulations, to be replaced by a dependent and unproductive social welfare and technocratic bureaucracy. But regardless, Gatto documents and describes our education system in exhaustive detail.  For further documentation of the political censorship of though, from a supposedly "balanced" perspective, see Diane Raditch's The Language Police.

For a deeper, philosophical analysis we can turn to Professor Alan Bloom, who wrote the pathbreaking work on the state of education in our country The Closing of the American Mind (1987). Bloom deconstructed the modern American psyche and served notice for our nation's perilous road. His insights are shrewd and many, and worth recounting here - but I will proffer the most direct and relevant.

The key to Bloom's analysis is that a certain kind of "openness" and even "indiscriminateness" are the virtues, indeed the "moral imperatives," of our time. As Bloom writes:

Openness - and the relativism that makes it the only plausible stance in the face of various claims to truth and various ways of life and kinds of human beings - is the great insight of our times. The true believer is the real danger. The study of history and of culture teaches that all the world was mad in the past; men always thought they were right, and this led to wars, persecutions, slavery, xenophobia, racism, and chauvinism. (26)

In an an unattributed reference to Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws (or perhaps the nouveau derivation Harry Eckstein's "congruence theory") Bloom then postulates:

Always important is the political regime, which needs citizens who are in accord with its fundamental principle...We began with the model of the rational and industrious man, who was honest, respected the laws, and was dedicated to the family...Above all he was to know the rights doctrine; the Constitution, which embodied it; and American history, which presented and celebrated the founding of a nation "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." A powerful attachment to the letter and spirit of the Declaration of Independence gently conveyed, appealing to each man's reason, was the goal of the education of the democratic man. (26-27) (emphasis my own)

Then, for implications providing for the disconnect between the 1960s generation and their progeny, and that of the prior generations:

The recent education of openness has rejected all that. It pays no attention to natural rights or the historical origins of our regime, which are now thought to have been flawed and regressive. It is progressive and forward looking. (27)

The crux of this progressive worldview is the ingrained attitude of openness. Professor Bloom clarifies:

Openness used to be the virtue that permitted us to seek the good by using reason. It now means accepting everything and denying reason's power (38)...there are two kinds of openness, the openness of indifference - promoted with the twin purposes of humbling our intellectual pride and letting us be whatever we want to be, just as long as we don't want to be knowers - and the openness that invites us to quest for knowledge and certitude for which history and the various cultures provide a brilliant array of examples for examination. This second kind of openness encourages the desire..."I want to know what is good for me, what will make me happy" - while the former stunts that desire. (41)

Bloom's prognosis is disconcerting, and indicates that we must rectify our fallacious philosophical delusions with haste. As he writes:

Unfortunately the West is defined by its need for justification of its ways and values, by its need for discovery of nature, by its need for philosophy and science. This is its cultural imperative. Deprived of that, it will collapse. The United States is one of the highest and most extreme achievements of the rational quest for the good life according to nature. (39)

Bloom, who appreciates Frederic Nietzsche's insights into the decay of Western Civilization, nonetheless misses a Nietzschean implication of the above-mentioned "education of the democratic man."

We, who hold a different belief--we, who regard the democratic movement, not only as a degenerating form of political organization, but as equivalent to a degenerating, a waning type of man, as involving his mediocrising and depreciation: where have WE to fix our hopes? (…) The democratizing of Europe will tend to the production of a type prepared for SLAVERY in the most subtle sense of the term. (…) I meant to say that the democratising of Europe is at the same time an involuntary arrangement for the rearing of TYRANTS.

Evan Sayet, with explicit reference to Alan Bloom, expands on Bloom's discussion of the "indiscriminateness" of modern liberals in a provocative and accessible lecture, and how it leads to a failure of moral, social, and political judgment.

The state of mind among many in our citizenry described by Hayek, Gatto, Bloom, and Sayet above poses nearly endless problems for the country, and numerous obstacles for tea party activists. The inability of many to exercise judgment makes appeals to reasoned argument almost fruitless. Appeals to emotion in some cases must necessarily be employed until a comprehensive reform of education, including the defederalization of the education system, can be undertaken. In other words, we must state the need for reform in the most compelling moral terms.

But any impetus for reform, as Americans saw in Texas, will be met with swift and fierce opposition.  Leftists will often cite Thomas Jefferson as an early advocate of public education (and the next breath, a bigoted white slaveowner and nothing more, to boot). Jefferson, whose mind demonstrates the faith in universal education emblematic of The Enlightenment, was indeed a proponent of public education for all citizens. But as he was an Anti-Federalist, he was not a supporter of federal government-run education.

To quote just one of Jefferson's many statements on public education:

"If twelve or fifteen hundred schools are to be placed under one general administration, an attention so divided will amount to a dereliction of them to themselves. It is surely better, then, to place each school at once under the care of those most interested in its conduct."

Thus even by Jeffersonian standards a reform of "public" education would entail deconstructing the national infrastructure, and thus defusing elitists' control, of education.

But in the long-run, more radical steps are required. We must ensure that there is a marketplace in education and alternatives for parents whose childrens' schools are failing them, including home-schooling and tax-credits (at least until a fair tax can be enacted). [For more on this perspective one can watch the Sheldon Richman speech "Education and The State" available at the Foundation for Economic Education site. For the most radical ideal scenario, and the one most conducive to sustaining liberty, one can listen to Ayn Rand's "Issues in Education" speech or read her amazing collection of essays The Return of the Primitive.]

Ayn Rand pointed out more than fifty years that the ultimate source of the radicals power is the schools and universities. This is confirmed by the experience of those who have attended public education at all levels, and have seen the left's explicitly Deweyan-Gramscian program put into action. We must be at least as serious and determined as our opponents if we expect to win the political war for our republic taking place. And the first step towards victory comes with recognizing that the political battlefield is the human mind itself. We must, with Jefferson, swear "upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why the Dems' Putsch Will Ultimately Fail

Why the Democrats' putsch* will ultimately fail:

1. The economy will not recover before November 2010 or 2012.

2. The Democrats have not successfully dehumanized their opposition or smeared the tea party.

3. The Supreme Court has upheld free speech, for now, and truth has had a chance to get its pants on to catch up with Democrat lies.

4. The Democrats "hope and change" mantra is next to dead, along with the "post-racial presidency" narrative.

5. The mainstream media continues to shrink in size and influence.

6. People are noticing how our schools are dumbing our kids down, through incompetence and a corrupt curriculum. This leads to parental distrust of the schools and universities and mentally preparing children to deal with the lies.

7. The military enlisted men are not sympathetic to the socialist agenda.

8. Emergency personnel and police tend not to be sympathetic to the socialist agenda, and have no interest in committing violence against Americans.

9. Infighting among power elites (such as at Copenhagen).

10. Once the American people see the enemy, they defeat it.

* Due to inaccurate definitions on the web, the term "putsch" must be defined here. A putsch is not "the sudden overthrow of a government,"which is a romanticization of the term. It is most accurately the sudden and illegitimate seizure of power by a minority group, typically one that has infiltrated the government.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Founding Fathers' Vision

After six years of dragging out a war that was ended at last by foreign help, and six more years of confusion and discouragement, when Washington no longer had even as much hope as he had felt at Valley Forge, they made one last effort to save the Revolution, and wrote the Federal Constitution.

With sound common sense, they did not debate it publicly.

They opened the convention by shutting its doors and pledging their honor to keep their discussion secret. That handful of veterans, and the assembly of young men in their thirties, were hard-headed realists. They knew that nothing but rockbottom honesty and plain speaking could save the existence of the Revolution and no public man but Thomas Paine had ever risked telling the truth in public.

They had no fantastic faith in The People; no more notion of consulting or obeying public opinion than Wilbur Wright had when he was trying to invent an airplane. They knew that every man's real responsibility is to his own moral standard.

As Washington realistically said, "If, to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend it? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and just can repair. The event is in the hand of God."

For weeks they struggled, with argument and compromise and bargain, to construct a new kind of Government. They disagreed so profoundly that the job seemed impossible; they adjourned for three days, agreeing to spend that time not with their supporters, but in the company of their opponents.

The Constitution was not their ideal; it was the practical best that they could get. It was a compromise, it was an effort.

It was a desperate hope.

Then they went out and fought, for two years more, with every political weapon they had, against the powerful pressure group that was demanding the one-man responsibility of monarchy.

They fought, with argument, with speeches, with appeals to logic and justice and common sense, with pamphlets and newspapers and books, and political deals, with every weapon they had they fought against the rioting mobs that were demanding democracy, the majority-rule that always creates an irresponsible tyrant.

And when they won, when they got nine States to accept the Constitution as amended with ten additional prohibitions of Government, when at least they had saved the existence of the Revolution through that crisis, Jefferson could only say that they had done the best they could do.

The future, he said, must show the results. Whatever the results might be, they depended upon individuals, since every individual is self-governing.

American Constitutional Government is now the oldest existing Government. It is the only form of Government now on earth that has been flexible enough, well enough adjusted to reality, to survive the strains of one century and a half.

All other Governments have been shattered during that time, either by war or by the conflict between human energy and the Government's coercive force.

The men who invented this kind of Government were not enthusiasts. They worked out no plan for a better world; they had no illusions and no dreams of any Utopia. You can see their realism in the Constitutions they wrote. They designed the Federal Constitution with the firm intention of preventing any man in public office from using Government's monopoly of force, to seize, torture and arbitrarily kill ordinary Americans.

(Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane)

Universal Suffrage vs Universal Liberty

When American politicians took the election of the President of the United States into their hands, they had no idea that this would be the result. No one then imagined that everyone should vote, or ever would vote. In all the States, voting was restricted.

Today, voting is an American superstition. Hardly anyone ever thinks about it. Americans take it for granted that every human being has a natural right to vote.

Of course this is not true. No one has a natural right to vote. Everyone is born with inalienable liberty, but nobody is born with an inalienable ballot. (…)
For why does anyone suppose that a majority of citizens should control their Government?

No one imagines that a majority of passengers should control a plane. No one assumes that, by majority vote, the patients, nurses, elevator boys and cooks and ambulance drivers and interns and telephone operators and students and scrubwomen in a hospital should control the hospital. Would you ever ride on a train if all passengers stepped into booths in the waiting-room and elected the train crews by majority vote, as intelligently as you elect the men whose names appear in lists before you in a voting booth?

Then why is it taken for granted that every person is endowed on his twenty-first birthday with a God-given right and ability to elect the men who decide questions of political philosophy and international diplomacy?

This fantastic belief is no part of the American Revolution.  Thomas Paine, Madison, Monroe, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, did not entertain it for a moment. When this belief first affected American Government, it broke John Quincy Adams' heart; to him it meant the end of freedom on earth; it made him doubt the goodness of his God.  The superstition that all men have a right to vote is a triumph of Old World reasoning. (…) Just as doggedly, they believe that Authority, Government, controls all men. If they do not flatly deny that men are free, they reason this way: To control himself, an individual must control the Government that controls him. (…)

The Old World belief is this: Individuals are cells in a greater organism. All men are naturally dependent, obedient, controlled by Authority. (Communists, Fascists and Nazis say this in a cliche, "The individual is nothing.") Government is Authority, controlling the masses and responsible for their welfare. Therefore, the stronger the Government, the better for the masses. Liberty is the right of the masses to choose the men who control the masses. It is doubtful whether it is advisable to grant the masses this liberty; but, if it is granted, it is a right to vote.

(…) Thus, the largest possible number of persons will control the Government that controls them.  Then what becomes of the exercise of freedom by the individuals in the minority? Why, they must submit to control by the majority. Everyone should be happy to sacrifice himself (the Greeks did) to the pagan god Demos, The Greatest Number. The voice of the Greatest Number is the voice of God. If anyone is not willing to obey the Greatest Number; why, this is outrageous, this is anti-social; make him submit and obey. (…)

This is not the reasoning of the Americans who wrote the Constitutions that protect individual freedom. It is not the reasoning of many Americans now. But it is the reasoning that has been extending the vote in these States for half a century.

Small groups of reformers, fiercely determined to do good to others, have made these extensions by using the threat of the vote upon office-holders. A few crooked politicians and ward-heelers have aided them. They have worked against the vast indifference of most Americans. For instance: American women did not want to vote; Miss Alice Paul forced woman's suffrage through Congress and the State legislatures.  These extensions of the vote are in two directions; they take in increasing numbers of the population, and they throw more office-holders to the wolves of "a common passion or interest felt by the majority." (…)

Average Americans have common sense. They know that there are always enough stupid, ignorant, dishonest voters to carry any election; they know that demagogues, liars, hillbilly bands, popular actors and orators, free picnics and votebuying can always corral enough voters. They know that these extensions of the franchise have broken down the moral standards of American politics, and have so overcome the moral character of American politicians that both parties use these methods of getting votes. And that therefore an election is merely a sporting event, like a ball game, its outcome depending on luck as well as on skill, and its object being no more than to get ballots into boxes, and men into office.  Unquestionably, these extensions of the franchise are dangerous to individual liberty and human rights.

They are dangerous because, by amending the Constitutions, they destroy representative government and increase the danger of democracy—which always creates an irresponsible tyrant.

And they are dangerous because they are made in the superstitious belief that individuals can control a Government that can control individuals, and therefore they tend to increase the false, counter-revolutionary belief that Government is an Authority controlling men and responsible for their welfare.

More and more, the multitudes who vote are believing this, and demanding that Government be responsible for their living conditions. (…)

The increasing belief that everyone has a natural right to vote because voting is mass-control of a Government that controls individuals, is counter-revolutionary in these States. It is a revival of the ancient Old World superstition. It threatens every American's home and liberty and life; it threatens the existence of the Republic and the survival of the Revolution. 

(Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane)