Concepts: “Free Will or Not” – That is the Question

This is a topic I know a bit about, as, it is a common feature required to make distinctions in philosophy and science (and the philosophy of science) regarding naturalism and its influence on epistemology and if we can know truth, moral truth or otherwise. As we read the article we come to a small paragraph that shows me John is traipsing into territory he knows nothing about but makes sweeping statements as if he does. We read:

  • Acceptance of an assumption that there is no free will would remove everyone’s responsibility for his or her behavior, and nobody could be condemned to jail or death. Such a thesis also would deny the influence of DNA and of experience in life.

Firstly, popular culture weighs in on this idea that somehow DNA influences free-will?

  1. “Infidelity – It May Be In Our Genes” ~ Time, August 15, 1994;
  2. “20th Century Blues” – Stress, anxiety, depression: the new science of evolutionary psychology finds the roots of modern maladies in our genes ~ Time, August 28, 1995;
  3. “Born Happy (Or Not)” – Happiness is more than just a state of mind… It is in the genes too;
  4. “Born To Be Gay?” ~ New Zealand Herald, August 8, 1996;
  5. “What Makes Them Do It?” – People who crave thrills, new evidence indicates, may be prompted at least partly by their genes ~ New Scientist, September 28, 1996, p. 32;
  6. “Your Genes May Be Forcing You To Eat Too Much” ~ Time, January 15, 1996;
  7. “Infanticide/neonaticide is caused by an evolutionary imperative” ~ New York Times, November 2, 1997.

In a lecture from Stephen Hawkings (who holds the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Einstein’s chair) at a lecture given to a university crowd in England entitled “Determinism – Is Man a Slave or the Master of His Fate.” He discussed whether we are the random products of chance, and hence, not free, or whether God had designed these laws within which we are free. In other words: do we have the ability to make choices, or do we simply follow a chemical reaction induced by millions of mutational collisions of free atoms?

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s maxim rings just as true today as it did in his day,“If there is no God, all things are permissible.” Without an absolute ethical norm, morality is reduced to mere preference and the world is a jungle where might makes right. This same strain of thought caused Mussolini to comment,

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.”

Which brings me to the finishing statement from John, “I cannot see how any society could function without assuming we do have free will.” On this we agree, even an atheistic society must borrow from the theistic worldview. In a previous response to My Huizum, I noted Sam Harris’ thinking on ultimate ethics:

evolutionary psychology (for instance, atheist defender Sam Harris makes the Darwinian psychological statement that “…there’s nothing more natural than rape. Human beings rape, chimpanzees rape, orangutans rape, rape clearly is part of an evolutionary strategy to get your genes into the next generation if you’re a male.”)

So, let us see some popular positions taken by “evangelical” atheists:

Richard Dawkins

(h/t: TrueFreeThinker) – A Statement Made by an atheist at the Atheist and Agnostic Society:

“Some atheists do believe in ethical absolutes, some don’t. My answer is a bit more complicated — I don’t believe that there are any axiological claims which are absolutely true, except within the context of one person’s opinion.

That is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so are ethics. So, why is Hitler wrong? Because he murdered millions, and his only justification, even if it were valid, was based on things which he should have known were factually wrong. Why is it wrong to do that? Because I said so. Unless you actually disagree with me — unless you want to say that Hitler was right — I’m not sure I have more to say.”

[side note] You may also be aware that Richard Dawkins stated,

  • “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question.”

Stated during an interview with Larry Taunton, “Richard Dawkins: The Atheist Evangelist,” by Faith Magazine, Issue Number 18, December 2007 (copyright; 2007-2008)

Lewis Wolpert

Dan Barker

Take note also that leaders in atheistic thinking and philosophers of good standing deal with the determinism found in neo-Darwinian/naturalistic philosophies and evolutionary thinking. For instance, from a debate I was in many years ago, Stan said the following:

  • “The brain works by firing electric charges that then release chemicals that make others fire electric charges.”
Robots and Cosmic Puppetry: The Scientific Challenge to Freedom

Since at least the time of Sir Isaac Newton, scientists and philosophers impressed by the march of science have offered a picture of human behavior that is not promising for a belief in freedom. All nature is viewed by them as one huge mechanism, with human beings serving as just parts of that giant machine. On this view, we live and think in accordance with the same laws and causes that move all other physical components of the universal mechanism.

According to these thinkers, everything that happens in nature has a cause. Suppose then that an event occurs, which, in context, is clearly a human action of the sort that we would normally call free. As an occurrence in this universe, it has a cause. But then that cause, in turn, has a cause. And that cause in turn has a cause, and so on, and so on [remember, reductionism].

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player” ~ Albert Einstein.

As a result of this scientific world view, we get the following picture:

Natural conditions outside our control…
cause
Inner bodily and brain states,
which cause
mental and physical actions

But if this is true, then you are, ultimately, just a conduit or pipeline for chains of natural causation that reach far back into the past before your birth and continue far forward into the future after your death. You are not an originating cause of anything [this includes brain activity of all degrees, that is, love, pain, etc.). Nothing you ever do is due to your choices or thoughts alone. You are a puppet of nature. You are no more than a robot programmed by an unfeeling cosmos.

Psychologists talk about heredity and environment as responsible for everything you do. But then if they are, you aren’t. Does it follow that you can then do as you please, irresponsibly? Not at all. It only follows that you will do as nature and nurture please. But then, nature on this picture turns out to be just an illusory veil over a heartless, uncaring nature. You have what nature gives you. Nothing more, nothing less.

Where is human freedom in this picture? It doesn’t exist. It is one of our chief illusions. The natural belief in free will is just a monstrous falsehood. But we should not feel bad about holding on to this illusion until science corrects us. We can’t have helped it.

This reasoning is called The Challenge of Scientific Determinism. According to determinists, we are determined in every respect to do everything that we ever do.

This again is a serious challenge to human freedom. It is the reason that the early scientist Pierre Laplace (1749-1827) once said that if you could give a super-genius a total description of the universe at any given point in time, that being would be able to predict with certainty everything that would ever happen in the future relative to that moment, and retrodict with certainty anything that had ever happened in any moment before that described state. Nature, he believed, was that perfect machine. And we human beings were just cogs in the machine, deluded in our beliefs that we are free.

 (Tom Morris, Philosophy for Dummies, 133-134)

[….]

Evil, say, infanticide is reduced to determinism.  (Brain function [choice, action] reduces to chemical reactions, which are caused by a physical process, which in turn are caused by a physical [reduced] cause… etc ad infinitum.)  And when a person says, “I reject the thought of an ultimate being. So how do I determine ‘right’ from ‘wrong’? I don’t. I simply base things on choices. It is my belief that that the only moral system is a system that let’s everyone make their own choices, and live their life as they wish” [Giddion is another person involved in this old debate] they do not realize what they are thus accepting as the rule of life, as I will now refute.  And one would have to admit if he or she rejects God, physicalism is all that is left.

Mind/Body Physicalism Refuted (the following is from Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity, by J. P. Moreland, pp. 90-92)

A number of philosophers have argued that physicalism must be false because it implies determinism and determinism is self-refuting.  Speaking of the determinist, J. R. Lucas says:

If what he says is true, he says it merely as the result of his heredity and environment, and nothing else.  He does not hold his determinist views because they are true, but because he has such-and-such stimuli; that is, not because the structure of the structure of the universe is such-and-such but only because the configuration of only part of the universe, together with the structure of the determinist’s brain, is such as to produce that result….  Determinism, therefore, cannot be true, because if it was, we should not take the determinists’ arguments as being really arguments [say, whether or not homosexuality is a right or not] as being really arguments, but as being only conditioned reflexes.  Their statements should not be regarded as really claiming to be true, but only as seeking to cause us to respond in some way desired by them.  (Freedom of the Will, by John Lucas)

H. P. Owen states that:

Determinism is self-stultifying.  If my mental processes are totally determined, I am totally determined either to accept or to reject determinism.  But if the sole reason for my believing or not believing X is that I am causally determined to believe it I have no ground for holding that my judgment is true or false.  (Christian Theism, p. 118)

… if one claims to know that physicalism is true, or to embrace it for good reasons, if one claims that it is a rational position which should be chosen on the basis of evidence [as one does when they reject theism], then this claim is self-refuting.  This is so because physicallism seems to deny the possibility of rationality.  To see this, let us examine the necessary preconditions which must hold if there is to be such a thing as rationality and show how physicalism denies these preconditions.

At least five factors must obtain if there are to be genuine rational agents who can accurately reflect on the world.  First, minds must have internationality; they must be capable of having thoughts about or of the world.  Acts of inference are “insights into” or “knowings of” something other than themselves.

Second, reasons, propositions, thoughts, laws of logic and evidence, and truth must exist and be capable of being instanced in people’s minds and influencing their thought processes.  This fact is hard to reconcile with physicallism.  To see this, consider the field of ethics.  Morality prescribes what we ought to do (prescriptive); it does not merely describe what is in fact done (descriptive).  Objective morality makes sense if real moral laws or oughts exist and if normative, moral properties like rightness, goodness, worth, and dignity exist in acts (the act of honoring one’s parents) and things (persons and animals have worth) [this all applies to the debate over homosexuality].  If physicalism is true as a worldview, there are no moral properties or full-blooded oughts.  Physical states just are, and one physical state causes or fails to cause another physical state.  A physical state does not morally prescribe that another physical ought to be.  If physicalism is true, oughts are not real moral obligations telling us what one should do to be in conformity with the moral universe.  Rather, “ought” serves as a mere guide for reaching a socially acceptable or psychologically desired goal (e.g., “if one wants to have pleasure and avoid pain, then one ‘ought’ to tell the truth”).  Moral imperatives become grounded in subjective preferences on the same level as a preference for Burger King over McDonald’s….

[….]

ReductionismThe theory that every complex phenomenon, esp. in biology or psychology, can be explained by analyzing the simplest, most basic physical mechanisms that are in operation during the phenomenon. (Random-House Webster)

C.S. Lewis pointed out that even our ability to reason and think rationally would be called into question if atheistic evolution were true:

“If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our thought processes are mere accidents – the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts — i.e. of Materialism and — are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give a correct account of all the other accidents.”

Which brings C.S. Lewis to mention how he was not able to connect the idea of “evil” to the world as an atheist:

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too–for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist–in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless -I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality–namely my idea of justice–was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (San Francisco, CA: Harper San Francisco, 1952), 38-39.

William Lane Craig, who debated Sam Harris, works through this in his post, “Navigating Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape.” One can see from Sam Harris that ethics is not something that “ought” to be adhered to. In an article and from a debate between theist William Lane Craig and Same Harris, we can zero in on what naturalism says

First, objective moral values:

So how does Sam Harris propose to solve the “value problem”? The trick he proposes is simply to redefine what he means by “good” and “evil” in non-moral terms. He says we should “define ‘good’ as that which supports [the] well-being” of conscious creatures.” He states, “Good and evil need only consist in this: misery versus well-being.” Or again: “In speaking of ‘moral truth,’ I am saying that there must be facts regarding human and animal well-being.”

So, he says, “Questions about values … are really questions about the well-being of conscious creatures.” Therefore, he concludes, “It makes no sense … to ask whether maximizing well-being is ‘good’.” Why not? Because he’s redefined the word “good” to mean the well-being of conscious creatures. So to ask, “Why is maximizing creatures’ well-being good?” is on his definition the same as asking, “Why does maximizing creatures’ well-being maximize creatures’ well-being?” It is simply a tautology — talking in a circle. Thus, Harris has “solved” his problem simply by redefining his terms. It is mere word play.

Second, objective moral duties:

Does atheism provide a sound foundation for objective moral duties? Duty has to do with moral obligation and prohibition, what I ought or ought not to do. Here reviewers of The Moral Landscape have been merciless in pounding Harris’ attempt to provide a naturalistic account of moral obligation. Two problems stand out.

Natural science tells us only what is, not what ought to be, the case. As philosopher Jerry Fodor has written, “Science is about facts, not norms; it might tell us how we are, but it wouldn’t tell us what is wrong with how we are.” In particular it cannot tell us that we have a moral obligation to take actions that are conducive to human flourishing.

[…]Second, ”ought” implies “can.” A person is not morally responsible for an action he is unable to avoid. For example, if somebody shoves you into another person, you are not to blame for bumping into this person. You had no choice. But Harris believes that all of our actions are causally determined and that there is no free will. Harris rejects not only libertarian accounts of freedom but also compatibilistic accounts of freedom. But if there is no free will, no one is morally responsible for anything. In the end, Harris admits this, though it’s tucked away in his endnotes. Moral responsibility, he says, “is a social construct,” not an objective reality: “in neuroscientific terms no person is more or less responsible than any other” for the actions they perform. His thoroughgoing determinism spells the end of any hope or possibility of objective moral duties on his worldview because we have no control over what we do.

William Lane Craig Discusses Sam Harris’ book, “The Moral Landscape”

So we can see that even the person mentioned in John Van Huizum’s article, Sam Harris, in reality rejects his premise that free will exists. John does say though, that we must (we meaning any society, secular or not) must assume it to be true. Thus, John is borrowing from the Judeo-Christian worldview and really arguing for the coherence of it (and the incoherence of the opposite), and not of atheism… unbeknownst to him! John neglects to tell us “the rest of the story” (Paul Harvey), or more likely doesn’t know the story to begin with.

  • Simple enough… as above. REMEMBER, Dr. Provine is an evolutionist… a neo-Darwinian proponent following his worldview to its logical ends/consequences.

Concepts: “The Loss of Secular Society” (Distortions from the Left)

I am amused to see a guy — John Van Huizum — mention his two-decades of writing articles, and then, follow this resume reference with this:

I think that when you put God on a U.S. issued coin or banknote, you obviously ignore what should be a separation of church and state, as many of our founders intended.

Please, besides writing crap for two decades backed by nothing more than opinion, tell me what the Founders thought of “separation of church and state” John. Tell me what books you have read to come to such a conclusion, please. And I imagine you would have read a few from each viewpoint to come to such a FIRM conclusion, like: “you OBVIOUSLY ignore what should be a separation of church and state, as many of our founders intended” (emphasis added). In a paper I did on this topic, I note that the same persons that wrote and ratified the 1st Amendment, did something that according to John they shouldn’t have done if how he views the topic is true. For instance, as soon as they finished with Constitutional issues (its creation and passage), they immediately went to their prospective states and wrote their state constitution. Here are some excerpts from them:

State Constitutions

On the day the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, they underwent an immediate transformation.  The day before, each of them had been a British citizen, living in a British colony, with thirteen crown-appointed British state governments.  However, when they signed that document and separated from Great Britain, they lost all of their State governments.

Consequently, they returned home from Philadelphia to their own States and began to create new State constitutions.  Samuel Adams and John Adams helped write the Massachusetts constitution; Benjamin Rush and James Wilson helped write Pennsylvania’s constitution; George Read and Thomas McKean helped write Delaware’s constitution; the same is true in other States as well.  The Supreme Court in Church of Holy Trinity v. United States (1892) pointed to these State constitutions as precedents to demonstrate the Founders’ intent. 

Notice, for example, what Thomas McKean and George Read placed in the Delaware constitution:

“Every person, who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust… shall… make and subscribe the following declaration, to wit: ‘I do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed forever more, and I acknowledge the Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.’”

Take note of some other State constitutions.  The Pennsylvania constitution authored by Benjamin Rush and James Wilson declared:

“And each member [of the legislature], before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz: ‘I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the rewarded of the good and the punisher of the wicked, and I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.’”

The Massachusetts constitution, authored by Samuel Adams – the Father of the American Revolution – and John Adams, stated:

 “All persons elected must make and subscribe the following declaration, viz. ‘I do declare that I believe the Christian religion and have firm persuasions of its truth.’”

North Carolina’s constitution required that:

“No person, who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the [Christian] religion, or the Divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office, or place of trust or profit in the civil department, within this State.”

You had to apply God’s principles to public service, otherwise you were not allowed to be a part of the civil government.  In 1892, the Supreme Court (Church of Holy Trinity v. United States) pointed out that of the forty-four States that were then in the Union, each had some type of God-centered declaration in its constitution.  Not just any God, or a general God, say a “higher power,” but thee Christian God as understood in the Judeo-Christian principles and Scriptures.  This same Supreme Court was driven to explain the following:

“This is a religious people.  This is historically true.  From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation….  These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people….  These and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

…read more…

In other words, for two decades John has been writing hearsay and not doing the hard work a knowing what the “F” he is talking about. Unfortunately, due to time, I am not able to critique other issues in this short article I found wanting. That being said, I am sure the reader gets the point from this single critique (as well as my previous) that John is your typical secular liberal. I think I agree with Milton Berle’s assessment of John (*wink*), “with him, ignorance is a religion.”

Concepts: “An Assessment of Political Views” Is It Accurate?

The portion that caught my eye and that I wish to explain further is this:

The progressive view, mostly in the Democratic Party, is that democracy depends on citizens caring about each other and taking responsibility both for themselves and for others. This yields a view of government with a moral mission: to protect and empower all citizens equally.

The progressive party neither started out with equity in mind, nor do they practice it today. That is neither here-nor-there and I have already dealt with this issue. What I wish to point out that John has practiced in the past is a tactic at home with the Democratic party. That is, they love to malign conservatives and Republicans. You are seeing this right now with the race card being brought out for almost every statement made by Republicans during this election year. Just saying “Chicago” or mentioning Obama plays golf are considered racist. Or a great example (one of the many I could reference) is that of the past DNC Chair, Howard Dean:

★ “Our moral values, in contradistinction to the Republicans, is, we don’t think kids ought to go to bed hungry at night” ~ Howard Dean

This is what john is hinting at when he says of Democrats, “citizens caring about each other and taking responsibility both for themselves and for others.” And then he states that “conservatives hold the opposite view: that democracy exists to provide citizens with the maximum liberty to pursue their self-interest with little or no commitment to the interest of others.”

This is the modus operandi of the left:

★ “As a result, many seniors in America will be forced into poverty, and worse. Some seniors will end up dying because they are forced to put off getting that pain checked out due to huge out-of-pocket costs that will skyrocket for them” ~ Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Current DNC Chair)

How Does the Left View the Right? from Papa Giorgio on Vimeo.

Catching Up With Three `Concepts` After Vacationing

Since I have been vacationing and catching up with work since getting back, I will deal only with one point from each article by John Van Huizum. (Click to increase size):

 The left has placed on American the most regulations decreasing our freedom. It is simple, as government gets large, it regulates more. So as California gets more liberal, it will regulate many more aspects of our lives. For instance, I do not think john is tracking with the purpose (ultimately) for smart meters. Here in our state (John and mine) the “green economy” is tacking root, and the smart meters in the eye’s of the cultural left that accept the “fact” of anthropogenic global warming want to reduce energy usage. One way is to control temperatures at thermostats, one blogger discusses this proposal:

There was also a proposal in California to require utilities to use smart meters to control the thermostat in people’s homes, which would facilitate controlling air conditioning and heating loads, especially when there was a need to shave load during periods of peak usage.  Thus far, this bad idea hasn’t been adopted. If the utility can control the thermostat in people’s homes, it’s conceivable government could mandate the high and low temperatures in people’s homes.

The left love to manifacture crisis’ and then exploit them for all the legislative power they can ring out of it:sexual harassment; nuclear power; anorexia; second-hand smoke; heterosexual AIDS; swine flu; silicone breast implants; homelessness in America; hunger in America; peanuts; man-made global warming, etc. etc. One author points out that many of the myths from the left are not only legislatively disastrous, but the death of millions of black are on the hands of the left:

Ecological myths have equal staying power.  Despite evidence to the contrary, stories of global warming, deadly dioxin, dying forests, demonic DDT, rejuvenation by recycling, and the evils of electric fields continue to gain adherents.  Green mythology holds that white technology is destroying the planet.  Only with the elimination of Western evils like the internal combustion engine and chemicals can we recover the health and happiness that flow from living as one with nature.

Because the Left banned DDT, millions have died:

Dennis Prager as well talks about how the left intrudes on our freedom:

So far from the power company intruding into our lives because of greed, they are merely adopting the Left’s view of global warming and government intrusion into which light-bulbs we can use, or at what temperature we should set our air-conditioner (and if too cool, we have to pay more to buy carbon offsets).

John seems to misunderstand what Social Security is suppose to be. Putting your money away and getting it back. Today it is putting your money in, the large government using it in ways it shouldn’t, and then relying on future generations to support you with their money. John’s last sentence is his tell, and the cultural Lefts Achilles heel. I have already pointed this gulf in our conflict of visions out, but I will post it again:

Progressivism is an ideology based on the idea that historical and social progress are inevitable. The idea of progress assumes movement toward some ideal or end that usually includes the perfectibility of human, nature and human society. Progressives con­ceive of this end in various ways: history may culminate in an era of absolute freedom, social and economic equality, or some form of utopia.

Here is more on this idea in quotes from Thomas Sowell:

My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to this cause [the French Revolution], but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated.

Thomas Jefferson, Letter of January 3, 1793, The Portable Thomas Jefferson, ed. Merrill D. Peterson (New York: Penguin Books, 1975), p. 465; from, Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York, NY: basic Books, 2007), 29.

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According to Adam Smith, it is when the businessman “intends only his own gain” that he contributes— via the process of competition— to promote the social good “more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.” Smith added: “I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”

Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York, NY: basic Books, 2007), 57.

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Christianity is closely tied to the success of capitalism,[1] as it is the only possible ethic behind such an enterprise.  How can such a thing be said?  The famed economist/sociologist/historian of our day, Thomas Sowell, speaks to this in his book A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. He whittles down the many economic views into just two categories, the constrained view and the unconstrained view.

The constrained vision is a tragic vision of the human condition. The unconstrained vision is a moral vision of human intentions, which are viewed as ultimately decisive. The unconstrained vision promotes pursuit of the highest ideals and the best solutions. By contrast, the constrained vision sees the best as the enemy of the good— a vain attempt to reach the unattainable being seen as not only futile but often counterproductive, while the same efforts could have produced a more viable and beneficial trade-off. Adam Smith applied this reasoning not only to economics but also to morality and politics: The prudent reformer, according to Smith, will respect “the confirmed habits and prejudices of the people,” and when he cannot establish what is right, “he will not disdain to ameliorate the wrong.” His goal is not to create the ideal but to “establish the best that the people can bear.”[2]

Dr. Sowell goes on to point out that while not “all social thinkers fit this schematic dichotomy…. the conflict of visions is no less real because everyone has not chosen sides or irrevocably committed themselves.” Continuing he points out:

Despite necessary caveats, it remains an important and remarkable phenomenon that how human nature is conceived at the outset is highly correlated with the whole conception of knowledge, morality, power, time, rationality, war, freedom, and law which defines a social vision…. The dichotomy between constrained and unconstrained visions is based on whether or not inherent limitations of man are among the key elements included in the vision.[3]

The contribution of the nature of man by the Judeo-Christian ethic is key in this respect. One can almost say, then, that the Christian worldview demands a particular position to be taken in the socio-economic realm.* You can almost liken the constrained view of man in economics and conservatism as the Calvinist position.  Pulitzer prize winning political commentator, Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), makes the above point well:

At the core of every moral code there is a picture of human nature, a map of the universe, and a version of history. To human nature (of the sort conceived), in a universe (of the kind imagined), after a history (so understood), the rules of the code apply.[4]

A free market, then, is typically viewed through the lenses of the Christian worldview with its concrete view of the reality of man balanced with love for your neighbor;

Sean Giordano (AKA. Papa Giorgio), Worldviews: A Click Away from Binary Collisions (Religio-Political Apologetics), found in the introductive chapter, “Technology Junkies

 

John is just wrong on this!

…the super rich ALSO can contribute to the economy, but the greater number of the others contribute a lot more.

Sometimes you just bang your head on the desk because of the ignorance some people have. The Wall Street Journal clears up the confusion, especially since the media latched onto Mitt Romney paying only 15% in taxes:

Mitt Romney’s disclosure this week that his effective federal tax rate is “probably closer to the 15% rate than anything” has created the predictable political uproar. The White House and its media allies figure they’ve now got their stereotype of the Monopoly man, albeit without his cane and top hat, who they can crush in their planned class-warfare campaign.

We’re not sure if facts will matter in this cacophony, but someone should at least try to introduce a little reality into the debate, especially since Mr. Romney seems so unprepared to make the case.

Start with the fact that, like Warren Buffett, Mr. Romney said he makes most of his money from investments, not wages or salary. Thus his income is really taxed twice: once at the corporate tax rate of 35%, then again at a 15% tax rate when it is passed through to him as dividends or via capital gains from the sale of stock.

All income from businesses is eventually passed through to the owners, so to ignore business taxes creates a statistical illusion that makes it appear that the rich pay less than they really do. By this logic, if the corporate tax rate were raised to, say, 60% from today’s 35% and the dividend and capital gains tax were cut to zero, it would appear that business owners were getting away with paying no federal tax at all.

This all-too-conveniently confuses the incidence of a tax with the burden of a tax. The marginal tax rate on every additional dollar of capital gains and dividend income from corporate profits can reach as high as 44.75% at the federal level (assuming a company pays the 35% top corporate rate), not 15%.

The Congressional Budget Office recently examined the distribution of federal taxes on various income groups. The report was ballyhooed by liberals as proof of rising income inequality, but that argument is for another day. What everyone has ignored is what CBO found about the relative taxes paid by different groups. And, lo, the rich pay more, which is probably why the press didn’t report it.

The nearby table from the CBO report shows that in 2007 the average income tax rate paid by the 1% was 18.8%, compared to 4.2% for Americans in a broadly defined middle class from the 21st to 80th income percentiles. The poorest 20% on average paid a net negative income-tax rate of 5.6% because of the checks they receive for tax credits that are “refundable.” These are essentially transfer payments redistributing income from the rich and middle class to the poor.

As for all federal taxes, CBO found that in 2007 the top 1% paid an average rate of a little under 30%, compared to 15.1% for middle-income earners. In calculating this overall tax burden, CBO takes account of payroll taxes, which moves the rate of the lowest 20% of earners into positive territory at 4.7%. CBO also apportions to individuals who are shareholders the tax that corporations pay on corporate profits.

…read more…

Let us apply some economic reasoning to why California’s tax revenue has dropped 22% as of late:

Via Big Government:

State Controller John Chaing continues to uphold the California Great Seal Motto of “Eureka”, i.e., ‘I have found it’. But what Chaing is finding as Controller is that California’s economy as measured by tax revenues is still tanking. Compared to last year, State tax collections for February shriveled by $1.2 billion or 22%. The deterioration is more than double the shocking $535 million reported decline for last month. The cumulative fiscal year decline is $6.1 billion or down 11% versus this period in 2011.

While California Governor Brown promises strong economic growth is just around the corner, Chaing proves that the best way for Sacramento politicians to hurt the economy and thereby generate lower tax revenue, is to have the highest tax rates in the nation.

California politicians seem delusional in their continued delusion that high taxes have not savaged the State’s economy. Each month’s disappointment is written off as due to some one-time event.

The State Controller’s office did acknowledge that higher than normal tax refunds for February might have reduced the collection of some personal income taxes. Given that 2012 has an extra day in February for leap year, there might have been one day more of tax refunds sent out. But the Controller’s report shows personal income tax collections fell by $325 million, or 16% versus last year. Furthermore, leap year would have added another day for retail sales and use tax collection, but those revenues also fell during February-by an even larger $813 million, 25% decline from 2011.

The more likely reason tax collections continue falling is that businesses and successful people are leaving California for the better tax rates available in more pro-business states.

Derisively referred to as “Taxifornia” by the independent Pacific Research Institute, California wins the booby prize for the highest personal income taxes in the nation and higher sales tax rates than all but four other states. Though Californians benefit from Proposition 13 restrictions on how much their property tax can increase in one year, the state still has the worst state tax burden in the U.S.

Spectrum Locations Consultants recorded 254 California companies moved some or all of their work and jobs out of state in 2011, 26% more than in 2010 and five times as many as in 2009. According SLC President, Joe Vranich: the “top ten reasons companies are leaving California: 1) Poor rankings in surveys 2) More adversarial toward business 3) Uncontrollable public spending 4) Unfriendly business climate 5) Provable savings elsewhere 6) Most expensive business locations 7) Unfriendly legal environment for business 8) Worst regulatory burden 9) Severe tax treatment 10) Unprecedented energy costs.

…read more…

`Socialism or Capitalism?` ~ Concepts (7-14-2012)

(As usual, you can click the article to enlarge) I do not have the time to delve into John’s latest like I would want, but simply, I wish to respond to three ideas in the article. For instance, John said:

  • Should the government never get involved in private enterprise or should it create a fair playing field for all participants? Most of the time, the latter is already the case.

Firstly, “never,” is setting up a false dichotomy, a straw-man. He is using an extreme to set up his case. secondly, this is the divide between progressives and conservatives that Dennis Prager zeroes in on so well — Prosperity or Egalitarianism:

Two Models: Prosperity or Egalitarianism from Papa Giorgio on Vimeo.

Johns second statement is this one, and I will again zero in on some California examples (where John lives) so the reader can understand what government involvement means. John says

  • When I buy a product from a hardware store, I am satisfied, the owner is satisfied, the government gets its share and the employees get to keep their jobs. There are many win-wins. Why do some people perceive the government as a friend, others as an enemy?

Here is the answer with a great example from a few years back, right down the road a bit from both John and I… it comes from an article I have saved from the June 26, 2002 Daily News, Editorial Section, entitled “Killing Jobs”:

Billingsley’s Restaurant at the Van Nuys Golf Course may soon fall victim to the economic illiteracy of the Los Angeles City Council [almost all liberals by the by].

Five years ago, the council pandered to organized labor by passing a measure requiring all businesses that contract with the city to pay their employees a “living wage,” an hourly salary tied to the Consumer Price Index that tends to run about three dollars more than the California minimum wage.

The measure, intended to bolster economic status of the city’s working families, was a classic example of arrogant politicians thinking they could magically legislate wealth into existence.

But grandiose schemes have consequences. Extra money for salaries has to come from somewhere. Usually from customers, workers or taxpayers who end up paying the bill.

Billingsley’s is a case in point of what’s wrong with this scheme [which Santa Monica has made policy].

Because the restaurant’s lease on the city-owned golf course is up for renewal, it will soon have to start paying the living wage, which owner Drew Billingsley says will cost him $100,00 a year [keep in mind this is not only in wages, but the time and money spent on the mountains of new paperwork to make sure he is following this new regulation]. In an effort to meet that expense, he has laid off as many employees as possible, but its not enough.

Thus Billingsley now has two choices: Either he can raise prices and alienate his loyale clientele (which consists largely of retirees on fixed incomes), or he can close up shop altogether.

Either way, the community will suffer. That’s what happens when feel-good posturing, not sound policy, governs lawmaking.

City Hall has done its best to chase away well-paying jobs, and public schools have done their worst at educating people so they aren’t qualified for well-paying jobs. Artificial living wages won’t solve real people’s problems.

Loss of jobs and customer dissatisfaction are the result of government interference. Here are more examples noted by Dennis Prager:

More Businesses Leave California from Papa Giorgio on Vimeo.

And any person should acknowledge why someone should “fear” government more than business. In fact, I made this point on my FB outgrowth of this blog in talking to my liberal friend:

…you see, when the government chooses winners-and-losers instead of getting contracts with private companies (like Ford, GM, etc.), they are invested to [i.e., forced to] only choose a government run business and stock their fish (so-to-speak) with GM fleets… leaving the non-government company to flounder.

This next audio (below/left) deals with the differences of the Koch brothers, in comparison to the Left’s version of them, Soros. There are many areas that one can discuss about the two… but let us focus in on the main/foundational difference. One wants a large government that is able to legislate more than just what kind of light-bulbs one can use in the privacy of their own home. Soros wants large government able to control a large portion of the economy (see link to chart below), and he has been very vocal on this goal. The other party always mentioned are the Koch brothers. These rich conservatives want a weak government. A government that cannot effect our daily lives nearly as much (personal, business, etc) as the Soros enterprise wants. And really, if you think about it, what business can really “harm” you, when people come to my door with pistols on their hip… are they a) more likely to be from GM, or, b) from the IRS?

The possibility of them being from the IRS is even more possible with the passing of Obama-Care [i.e., larger government]. So the “fear” (audio in next comment) I think the Left has of “Big-Business” is unfounded, and the problem comes when big-business gets in bed with big-government. Here I am thinking of (like with the penalties that were found to be Constitutional in the recent SCOTUS decision) a government that can penalize you if you do not buy a Chevy Volt, or some other green car in order to save the planet. When this happens, guys coming to my door because of unpaid (hypothetical… but historical examples abound of the tax history of our nation) “fines” are likely to be IRS agents because of a personal choice made in the “free-market.”

Appendix: If the above example didn’t inspire any liberal fear (forced to go green or be penalized), maybe this one will

…First, the government needs to issue a mandate that all households must own at least one firearm. We will need a federal agency to ensure that people aren’t just buying cheap BB guns or .22 pistols, even though that may be all they need or want. It has to be 9mm or above, with .44 magnums getting a one-time tax credit on their own. Let’s pick an agency known for its aptitude on firearms and home protection to issue required annual certifications each year, without which the government will have to levy hefty fines. Which agency would do the best job? Hmmmm … I know! How about TSA? With their track record of excellence, we should have no problems implementing this mandate.

Don’t want to own a gun? Hey, no worries. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts says citizens have the right to refuse to comply with mandates. The government will just seize some of your cash in fines, that’s all. Isn’t choice great? Those fines will go toward federal credits that will fund firearm purchases for the less well off, so that they can protect their homes as adequately as those who can afford guns on their own. Since they generally live in neighborhoods where police response is appreciably worse than their higher-earning fellow Americans, they need them more anyway. Besides — gun ownership is actually mentioned in the Constitution, unlike health care, which isn’t. Obviously, that means that the federal government should be funding gun ownership….

…read more…

This is why people fear government, to answer John’s question. Thirdly, John tackles charity versus government mandated “charity.”

  • Why should charity be a virtue for a person, but a sin or fault for a government? Why is it a virtue for every church, but “socialism” for a government? You might say in one situation it is voluntary; in the other, it is mandated by law. You would be right, but ask people if they can do without their mandated Social Security or without their mandated Medicare. My guess is that most would be in deep poverty.

Here are some analogies to make the point and then some comparison of the effectiveness of such ideas.

A great analogy that explains the dilemma of our “redistribution program” here in America (welfare, food stamps, or Medicaid, etc.) is one of a triplex.  I must thank Neal Boortz for this analogy (his book, The Terrible Truth About Liberals), by the by.

Our government, as our Constitution says, derives its powers “from the consent of the governed.” The idea here is that we cannot and should not ask the government to do anything for us that we cannot legally or morally do for ourselves.  Sounds logical, doesn’t it?  With that premise in mind, lets build the following scenario.

You live in a triplex.  You are in apartment No. 1, Johnson is in apartment No. 2, and Wilson lives in No. 3.  You discover that Wilson is ill and cannot work.  He never bothered to buy a health insurance policy because he just didn’t believe he would need it for quite some time.  Wilson, it seems, is not good at making rational decisions.  He has no savings because it was more important to use that money for bondo on his Camaro and a good Panama City Beach vacation every summer.

You believe that Wilson is about to starve to death.  His electricity is going to be cut off, and he can’t afford to buy his blood pressure medication.  You decide to help, charitable soul that you are.  You scrounge through your bank account and find $200 to help your neighbor out.

Good for you.  What a guy!

A month later Wilson is still in trouble.  Your $200 wasn’t enough.  It turns out that he spent $20 for a case of beer and at least another $100 or so at the horse races.  Things may not be all that desperate, though.  One of the thirty-five Lotto tickets he bought with that carton of cigarettes might pan out.

You decide to visit Johnson in apartment No. 2 to see if he can chip in.  Johnson tells you that, while he certainly understands the seriousness of Wilson’s situation, he needs his money to send his daughter to college in the fall and to pay some of his own medical bills.  Besides, he’s trying to save up some cash for a down payment on a house so he can get out of this weird apartment building.

You make the determination that it is far more important for Wilson to have some of Johnson’s money than it is for Johnson to keep it and spend it on his own daughter’s education and a new home.  So, here’s the question:

“Do you have the right to pull out a gun and point it right at the middle of Johnson’s forehead?  Can you use that gun to compel Johnson to hand over a few hundred dollars for Wilson’s care, and then tell Johnson that you’ll be back for more next month?”

Obviously, when put like this, you won’t run into too many people who will tell you that they have the right to take Johnson’s money by force and give it to Wilson.  They might say that they would try to talk Johnson into being a bit more charitable, but they don’t think that they have the right to just rob him at gunpoint.  But this is the next question:

Well, if our government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, how can you ask your government to do something for you that, if you did it for yourself, would be a crime?  Why would it not be OK for you to take that money from Johnson by force and give it to Wilson, but it would be perfectly OK with you if the government went ahead and did it?”

Last time I checked, IRS agents were armed.

Another way to put this is an example from J. Budziszewski’s book, The Revenge of Conscience: Politics and the Fall of Man:

a. On a dark street, a man draws a knife and demands my money for drugs.

b. Instead of demanding my money for drugs, he demands it for the Church.

c. Instead of being alone, he is with a bishop of the Church who act as bagman.

d. Instead of drawing a knife, he produces a policeman who says I must do as he says.

e. Instead of meeting me on the street, he mails me his demand as an official agent of the government.

If the first is theft, it is difficult to see why the other four are not also theft.

Here is the idea as put forward by University Republicans (audio is not ideal):

From video description:

Many students believe that it is moral to confiscate money from hard-working Americans and entrepreneurs and give it to those who didn’t earn it, yet don’t support the same philosophy when it is applied to their GPA scores. Check out our website http://www.ExposingLeftists.com and follow us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ExposingLeftists

Another aspect of this is exemplified in how well private business/charities/churches can do what government cannot. In regards to Social Security, the CATO Institute explains a bit about the Chilean model that would work well here in the Stetes:

…Chile allowed every worker to choose whether to stay in the state-run, pay-as-you-go social security system or to put the whole payroll tax into an individual retirement account. For the first time in history we have allowed the common worker to benefit from one of the most powerful forces on earth: compound interest.

Some 93% of Chilean workers chose the new system. They trust the private sector and prefer market risk to political risk. If you invest money in the market, it could go up or down. Over a 40-year period, though, a diversified portfolio will have very low risk and provide a positive rate of real return. But when the government runs the pension system, it can slash benefits at any time.

The Chilean system is run completely by private companies. We now have 15 mutual funds competing for workers’ savings.

We guaranteed benefits for the elderly — we told those people who had already retired that they had nothing to fear from this reform. We also told people entering the labor force for the first time that they had to go to the new system.

Today, all workers in Chile are capitalists, because their money is invested in the stock market. And they also understand that if government tomorrow were to create the conditions for inflation, they would be damaged because some of the money is also invested in bonds — around 60%. So the whole working population of Chile has a vested interest in sound economic policies and a pro-market, pro-private-enterprise environment.

There have been enormous external benefits: the savings rate of Chile was 10% of gross national product traditionally. It has gone up to 27% of GNP. The payroll tax in Chile is zero. Of course we have an estate tax and an income tax, but not a payroll tax. With full employment and a 27% savings rate, the rate of growth of the Chilean economy has doubled….

The bottom line: Government spends about 70% of tax dollars to get 30% of tax dollars to the needy. The private sector does the opposite, spending about 30% or less to get 70% of aid to the needy.

Again, the savings rate in Chile went up from 10% to 27% of GNP. There’s no payroll tax, and with full employment and that great savings rate, the economy has blossomed. Here is the second portion I think is important, that is, private interests redistribute a higher percentage per dollar. I will end with this great question/answer post:

Question:

About ten years ago you wrote: “When help is given privately, approximately 80% of each charitable dollar gets to a worthy recipient. Only 20% of each tax welfare dollar reaches the poor.”

This is a very powerful argument for why government should leave issues of the poor and disabled to non-profits and people who care. In fact, those numbers make it sound almost cruel to support government welfare programs. What’s your source for this estimate?

Answer:

I am currently using a slightly more conservative figure, though it still makes the same point. I would now, if asked, say: “When help is given privately, 70% or more of each charitable dollar gets to a worthy recipient. But only about 30% of each tax welfare dollar reaches the needy.”

Here is a citable source for that. The Costs of Public Income Redistribution and Private Charity [pdf], by economist James Rolph Edwards, Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 21, Number 2 (Summer 2007).

On pages one and two, Edwards cites two studies, over a seven-year period, backing up that figure. He writes:

“[Government] income redistribution agencies are estimated to absorb about two-thirds of each dollar budgeted to them in overhead costs, and in some cases as much as three-quarters of each dollar. Using government data, Robert L. Woodson (1989, p. 63) calculated that, on average, 70 cents of each dollar budgeted for government assistance goes not to the poor, but to the members of the welfare bureaucracy and others serving the poor. Michael Tanner (1996, p. 136 n. 18) cites regional studies supporting this 70/30 split.

“In contrast, administrative and other operating costs in private charities absorb, on average, only one-third or less of each dollar donated, leaving the other two-thirds (or more) to be delivered to recipients. Charity Navigator, the newest of several private sector organizations that rate charities by various criteria and supply that information to the public on their web sites, found that, as of 2004, 70 percent of charities they rated spent at least 75 percent of their budgets on the programs and services they exist to provide, and 90 percent spent at least 65 percent. The median administrative expense among all charities in their sample was only 10.3 percent.”

Later on he adds: “In fact, the average cost of private charity generally is almost certainly lower than the one-quarter to one-third estimated by Charity Navigator and other private sector charity rating services…” and tells why.

The bottom line: Government spends about 70% of tax dollars to get 30% of tax dollars to the needy. The private sector does the opposite, spending about 30% or less to get 70% of aid to the needy.

There is much more of interest in that article, including this important observation:

“[R]aising only half as much money through voluntary donations, the private agencies (and families) could deliver the same amount as the government, saving, in the process, all the costs the government imposes on the public through the compulsory taxation. Given that aiding the poor must have large support among the public for coercive government redistribution to be policy, couldn’t the supporters raise, through voluntary donations from among themselves, half the amount that would have to be raised through taxation, and avoid coercing the rest of the nonpoor public?”

That’s the promise the libertarian vision offers: more effective aid for the poor and needy than ever before, delivered voluntarily by the private sector at a far smaller cost than today’s welfare state.

I laugh sometimes at myself… because I started out the post with, “I do not have the time to delve into John’s latest like I would want.” I ended up giving a pretty thorough refutation as if I had time.

Concepts: “Regulation” ~ 3rd Parties and Worldviews Primer

In this newest [convoluted] edition of “Concepts” from the Country Journal (which I was very happy to see included the entire Declaration for the 4th) Jon van Huizum tries to make connections from the Bible to modern politics that are not there… from Genesis to Republican/Democrat regulating power. This sweeping span from the beginning of mankind’s history to the modern American political scene shows a couple of things, and I wish to point out I am not a psychologist so one can take what I say with the same grain of salt they may take Mr. Huizum’s articles with. First, it shows an unhealthy obsession with trying to create straw-man positions of theology, connecting them with one party or position, and then tearing down this false premise, or straw-man, so called. One either does this to ingratiate himself with a certain segment of readers, trying to sound knowledgeable, but really making sweeping non-sequitur statements. Secondly, and more importantly I think, John is displaying at the heart of his being a rejection of all things religious (really a conservative standing on Judeo-Christian foundations) in order to create a worldview that comports to what John van Huizum wants. A great example comes from Charles Darwin himself, and why he rejected Christianity and chose his naturalistic view of life. Key: Darwin didn’t reject Christianity for or on scientific reasons, he rejected it because of theological issues. As Darwin himself noted:

“This is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically, but I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars or that a cat should play with mice….”

~ Charles Darwin, Letter to Asa Gray (22 May 1860)

Darwin rejected Christianity based on the problem of evil, this is the same basis that modern “scientists” reject faith as well. Which is a philosophical/theological issue, not scientific. (Here I highly recommend the book, Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil, by Cornelius G. Hunter.) I have noticed, in similar fashion, that when John talks about certain issues — like the Bible or faith, it is rejected for false reasoning (straw-men and non-sequiturs); or, it is derided for issues John believes to be other than theological, but in fact are. This is the issue in the first 2/3rds of the article by John. He mentions scientific ages of the universe apparently right after mentioning a religious text and book (Genesis), and then asks a theological question: “Apparently God trusted…” This position does not take the growing revelation through history of God nor the inclusion of man’s nature according to the same text (which we learned a bit about how progressives views last week), which, if asking a theological question needs to be theologically considered. The Founders did. For instance, in a wonderful review of a powerful book on the greatness of Christianity by Dinesh D’Souza, reviewer Ken Hagerty mentions the following:

The Theological Understanding of the American Founders

At a time when America’s founding principles are under attack as never before, Dinesh D’Souza explains that Jesus’ separation of what is owed to Caesar from that owed to God is the embryo of the idea of limited government. “This idea derives from the Christian notion that the ruler’s realm is circumscribed and there are limits beyond which he simply must not go. But “If the domain of government is to be limited in this manner, so is the domain of the church. As Christ put it, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’…In the new framework of Christian universalism, the same God rules over the whole universe, but each country retains its own laws and its own culture.”

He uncovers the theological and philosophical roots of the fundamental debate over the nature of man that continues to divide American politics and the modern world. The Enlightenment’s assertion that human nature is inherently good, and whatever flaws an individual may carry can be educated-away by government, comes from Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1754), who got it in turn from Plato (428-347 BC). “For Plato, the problem of evil was a problem of knowledge. People do wrong because they do not know what is right. If they knew what was right, obviously, they would do it.”

But D’Souza explains that the American founders turned instead to the Apostle Paul for their understanding of human nature. In Romans 7:19 Paul famously says “For the good that I would, I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do.” D’Souza says “Here Paul in a single phrase repudiates an entire tradition of classical philosophy founded in Plato… Why? Because the human will is corrupt. The problem of evil is not a problem of knowledge, but a problem of will.”

This Christian understanding of human nature as both mixed and immutable led the American founders to blend the commercial and cultural institutions of free enterprise into their system of government. They did so for two reasons: first, because capitalism is the economic system that arises naturally where there is freedom; and second, because capitalism is the economic system that satisfies the Christian demand for an institution that channels selfish human desire toward the betterment of society.

D’Souza then offers a wonderful comparison that perfectly captures the beneficial role of the free enterprise system: “Some critics accuse capitalism of being a selfish system, but the selfishness is not in capitalism—it is in human nature… One may say that capitalism civilizes greed in much the same way that marriage civilizes lust. Both institutions seek to domesticate wayward or fallen human impulses in socially beneficial ways.”

This is all to point out that John van Huizum deals with these topics very flippantly. This flippancy, however, is how many prefer to approach these important subjects. So the first two paragraph’s could easily be a separate topic, due mainly to its non-connectivity to the last paragraph. The third paragraph really is a hodgepodge of topics and history with leading questions, which the first two partly answer: “Unless and until we can regulate and keep control of ourselves while living in this power-crazy world, we may not advance toward a civil society.” To which Walter Lippmann says, “At the core of every moral code there is a picture of human nature, a map of the universe, and a version of history. To human nature (of the sort conceived), in a universe (of the kind imagined), after a history (so understood), the rules of the code apply.” In other words, conservative political philosophy accepts the view that government will never be able to — due to man’s nature — regulate and keep control of man. [And this is the rub… unbeknownst to John, paragraph 1 of his article and of the Bible does in fact answer his paragraph three.]

The rest is really not worth dealing with outside of the nugget to build off of for the history buff that John mentions, which is this: “Occasionally a new party is formed, but loses power fairly quickly.” Here is a good little response to some of the thinking in Johns packed sentence:

2. NO, THE REPUBLICANS NEVER CONSTITUTED A THIRD PARTY

Whenever I take the time on the radio to discuss the obvious and inevitable futility of minor party campaigns, some smug caller will try to play “gotcha” by reminding me that my own beloved GOP began its political life as a minor party, and managed to elect an underdog nominee named Lincoln in the fateful election pf 1860. It makes for a good story, and I know it allows misled minions to feel better to believe that it’s true, but the Republicans never operated as a third party. By the time of the first Republican County Convention (in Ripon, Wisconsin, on March 20, 1854) the Whig Party had already collapsed and shattered, hopelessly divided between its Northern anti-slavery branch and the Southern “Cotton Whigs.” Refugees (including numerous Congresmen, Senators and others) from the Whig debacle determined to fill the vacuum and, joined by a few anti-slavery Democrats and former Free Soilers, they launched their new national organization.

The first time candidates ever appeared on ballots with the designation of the new Republican Party came with the Congressional elections of 1854 and the fresh organization won stunning success from the very beginning. That very first year the Republicans won the largest share of the House of Representatives (108 seats, compared to 83 for the Democrats, along with fifteen Senate seats (including the majority of those contested in that election). In other words, the Republicans began their existence not as a third party, or even a second party, but as the instantly dominant party on the ballot. The future “Grand Old Party” showed itself a Grand Young Party not only with its Congressional candidates, but with its first-ever Presidential nominee – John C. Fremont – in 1856. Rather than making the traditional, pointless and masturbatory third party gesture and winning 2% or 10%, Fremont made a real race of it against the Democrat James Buchanan: losing the popular vote 45% to 33%, and the electoral vote, 174 to 118. The real third party candidate was former President Fillmore, whose anti-immigrant Know Nothing campaign drew a few remnants of the Whigs and took just enough votes away from Fremont in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to give Buchanan narrow victories and the electoral majority. By the time they nominated Lincoln four years later, Republicans commanded clear majorities in nearly all the northern states and fully expected to sweep more than enough of those states (especially in light of Democratic divisions) to put him in the White House.

In the pre-Civil War election of 1860, the Republicans hardly represented an upstart third party effort: they won a clear majority of 59% of the electoral vote and a comfortable plurality (40%) of the popular vote. The real “third party” in this election involved the Southern Democrats who abandoned their national nominee, Stephen A. Douglas, and campaigned for Vice President (and future Confederate general) John C. Breckinridge, winning 18% of the popular vote and 72 electoral votes. Meanwhile, former Cotton Whigs and pro-union Democrats from border states launched a fourth party campaign, winning 13% of the popular vote and 39 electoral votes for their man.

In other words, the one election in which the traditional two-party system broke down, and the Untied States most resembled a European multi-party system (with four different parties drawing substantial support and electoral votes) happened to be the one election that provoked the bloodiest war in US history.

In short, the election of 1860 hardly offers proof of the positive value of third (and fourth) parties, but rather illustrates their dangers. The four-way competition in the Presidential race contributed to the splitting of the union and the explosion of the national party consensus that had previously kept a divided assemblage of very different states from flying apart.

(A Michael Medved article, as well as part of a chapter from his book, see page 195)

Concepts: “Have We Progressed?” (Failing Since 1792)

This most recent installment of Concepts is a great example of how history can often times be distorted. And while this critique will be a bit more in-depth in its unpacking of the issues above, it will still only be a partial (if that) excoriation of some of the above. But it is a great way to see how Progressivism infected the American political landscape, and not for the better. For lack of time, let us dive right in.

What has Progressivism brought us from its founding on women’s issues? Is it good or bad? One assumes, for instance, that the popular feminist personalities and organizations of our day truly are for protecting women from unfair treatment, right? The question is, is this “protection” apolitical or deeply rooted in a worldview set to harm a large portion of femininity? We will see in the posting below. How did the American Progressive movement influence the eugenics movement here and abroad (Nazi Germany)? Does it matter that Hitler, while in jail, read the many eugenicist experiments and forced sterilizations here in the states? Looking at this subject will demand a look into the past and racist beliefs of a Progressive heroin. These two inconvenient components of the Progressive party (radical gender politics and racist/eugenics) intertwined into their history since the early 1900’s should get one to reject this movement and maybe, in the least, consider an alternative viewpoint on the many issues above. Like, as an example, how subsidizing farmers and making a minimum wage, not just for women, but for everyone hurts the poor and the farmers.

Before looking into the claims that Progressives were a big help to women, we should first understand that Progressivism believes in a radical form of humanism.

Humanism is a philosophy, worldview, and religion that places humanity and the material at the center of philosophical inquiry. It rejects God and theistic religions, instead seeing man as the measure of all things. (Conservepedia)

In the early palpitations of the Progressive movement, they referred to themselves as “Liberal Fascists” [No Joke!], here is Jonah Goldberg’s interesting history of the term:

The introduction of a novel term like “liberal fascism” obviously requires an explanation. Many critics will undoubtedly regard it as a crass oxymoron. Actually, however, I am not the first to use the term. That honor falls to H. G. Wells, one of the greatest influences on the progressive mind in the twentieth century (and, it turns out, the in­spiration for Huxley’s Brave New World). Nor did Wells coin the phrase as an indictment, but as a badge of honor. Progressives must become “liberal fascists” and “enlightened Nazis,” he told the Young Liberals at Oxford in a speech in July 1932. Wells was a leading voice in what I have called the fascist movement, when many Western elites were eager to replace Church and Crown with slide rules and industrial armies.[1]

One of authors that influenced heavily both Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt was Herbert Croly, who was himself obsessed with Auguste Comte who “argued that humanity progressed in three stages and that in the final stage mankind would throw off Christianity and replace it with a new “religion of humanity,” which married religious fervor to science…”.[2] They were the Social Darwinists of their day, and today they continue on in the positivists views of ethics, science, and radical environmentalist fervor that seem religious in their dogmatism and “crucifying” of fellow academics and political opponents. A large portion of the Democratic Party are ideologically Progressive in this regard.

Jonah Goldberg mentions in his chapter entitled,Woodrow Wilson and the Birth of Liberal Fascism,” the major players and authors who influenced Roosevelt and Wilson [Progressives], noting that “Nietzsche was in the air,” and that Teddy Roosevelt was an avid reader of the German thinkers. (As a side note, it was during this intellectual time in Germany that Historical Biblical Criticism was born, late in the 18th century and early 19th century.) Which leads us back to Croly who asked “who would be the prophets and pilots of the Good Society?,” noting that “for a generation progressive liberals believed that a better future would derive from the beneficent activities of expert social engineers who would bring to the service of social ideals all the technical resources which research could discover and ingenuity could devise.”[3] Five years earlier, Croly noted in the New Republic (the magazine he founded and that defended fascism and communism throughout the 1920’s) that the practitioners of the scientific method need to “plan and effect a redeeming transformation” of society whereby men would look for “deliverance from choice between unredeemed capitalism and revolutionary salvation.” Of course “revolutionary salvation” in social engineering is the go-to Liberal/Democratic position.[4]

For instance, in feminism we see this radicalism embedded in a movement said to be concerned about rights of women:

The January 1988 National NOW Times, the newsletter for the organization, said: “The simple fact is that every woman must be willing to be identified as a lesbian to be fully feminist.”[5]  This is extreme to say the least, and it is this type of radical thinking that has made many women see the emperor with no clothes on, and she is not pretty.  This radically political movement likewise looks forward not only to the overthrow of the nuclear family but of capitalism as well.  Well-known feminist author and co-founder/editor of Ms. magazine, Gloria Steinem, said the following about feminisms end game: “Overthrowing capitalism is too small for us. We must overthrow the whole #@*! patriarch!”[6]

How can a civil rights movement be interested in capitalism?  As if chauvinism and patriarchal over expressiveness suddenly vanish with Marxist forms of government.  As if Stalin wasn’t a womanizer.[7] Obviously then, it isn’t the system of markets that create patriarchal attitudes.[8] It is, however, free markets and government that afforded women the opportunity to create equal rights under the law.  Here of course what these ladies are talking about are not equal rights under the law but using “special rights” to propose a whole new system of government, which drove Tammy Bruce, former president of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW as well as being a former member of NOW’s national board of directors, to say: “What Gloria Steinem, Molly Yard, Patricia Ireland and all the rest have presented to you over the last 15 years (at least) has not been feminist theory.”[9] Ms. Bruce goes on to show that Betty Friedan and Patricia Ireland, ex-presidents of NOW, (and others) are involved with socialist or communist political parties or organizations.[10]

So according to this view of [progressive] feminism by its recent founders one should be both a Marxist economically and a lesbian sexually in order to be a true feminist or believer in women’s rights. Women’s issues shouldn’t be political — we tell ourselves this at least. It is worth stating here that the women at the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum would disagree that feminism as popularly known today would be for all women’s rights due to the fact that they are routinely derided for their political and religious views. With this in mind we should define progressivism so we can better digest what lies herein, delineating where progressives and Democrats go astray from conservative thinking in their respective conflicting visions.

Progressivism is an ideology based on the idea that historical and social progress are inevitable. The idea of progress assumes movement toward some ideal or end that usually includes the perfectibility of human, nature and human society. Progressives con­ceive of this end in various ways: history may culminate in an era of absolute freedom, social and economic equality, or some form of utopia. Given the predilection to progress, the past is viewed as an inferior state of ex­istence with various afflictions that wither away over time. While some progressives con­sider progress inevitable, others believe that political, economic, and social reforms are necessary to achieve it…. Progressivism is intimately tied to mod­ern liberalism and the politics of the welfare state, which holds that the transformation of society can only be achieved by a central­ized government that has sufficient power to remake society. In this vein, progressives take up causes that conservatives consider misguided. Examples of progressive reforms would include the Great Society’s war on poverty, the abolition of private gun owner­ship, and the Eighteenth Amendment. Con­servatives criticize progressive reforms be­cause they believe these reforms do not ac­count for unintended consequences, are based on a misunderstanding of the human condition, and fail to accept a degree of evil in the world. Consequently, conservatives often conclude that progressive reforms end up doing more harm than good. For example, abortion, which has been a central reform in the progressive cause of liberating women from traditional sex roles, has helped achieve liberation at the cost of infanticide and the depreciation of human life. Thus, in many ways progressiveness is an inclination diametri­cally opposed to that of conservatism.[11]

These “others” mentioned above are who we are talking about and who started the Progressive party in the early 1900’s. Which was the distinct separation of one political party from a free-market to one guided by the government via “enlightened” individuals. (I am thinking here of the messianic adherence and adulation given to Obama as a representative of the Progressive Democrats.) Here is a larger excerpt from my chapter on feminism from my book that deals directly with the radicalism in this Progressive vision and its foundations.

One author makes the point that gender feminists try and “force us all to conform to their agenda based on the unnatural ideology that there is no difference between men and women…. As feminist author Robin Morgan told a Phil Donahue audience, ‘We are becoming the men we once wanted to marry’.”[12]  This may explain the continued growth of the religiously conservative Concerned Women for America (CWA), and the continued decline of the National Organization of Women (NOW).

Keep in mind that “secular” feminism can be religious as well, Louis Frankel in an article that appeared in the humanist magazine Free Inquiry, suggests that women worship goddess – a female god.  “Goddess religion celebrates the body,” Miss Frankel says, “including its sexual and reproductive functions.  Rituals celebrate menstruation, birth, and the joy of sexuality.”  Miss Frankel contends that “the values of Goddess religion are largely humanistic.”[13] The move to goddess religion, however, is merely a halfway house to full Humanist theology – atheism.  Says Frankel, “If we ‘need the Goddess’ to break the shackles of the patriarchal God, then once we are, we can thank her for her assistance and forge our own path toward freedom and independence.”[14] Freedom and independence mean freedom from belief in God or Goddesses, i.e., atheism.[15]

Now that we have discussed the religious aspects of the Gnostic writings within the context of a Women Studies class,[16] we must come to grips with the setting in which feminism currently views its role in political and social life.  As we will come to find, it is this political force that drives this re-interpreting of history and theology.  Understanding that modern feminism is not necessarily monolithic is very important; however, at the university level it has become, or is becoming, institutionalized.  So institutionalized, that many have asserted that it is simply impossible to oppose gender feminism and to be hired to teach Women’s Studies.[17] For instance, the Committee on the Status of Women at the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) maintains that criticism of feminism or Women’s Studies is impermissible because it has a “disparate impact on woman faculty and chills the intellectual climate for academic women.[18] According to Bell Hooks, a feminist writer and teacher, “feminist education has become institutionalized in universities via Women’s Studies programs.”[19] The question is what has become institutionalized?

  • Defining Terms

To better understand what modern, or gender feminism means, we must understand what liberal feminism represents.

The gender feminist believes that women constitute an oppressed class within an oppressive system: what ails women cannot be cured by merely achieving equal opportunity.  As a class women are seen to be politically at odds with the patriarchy that oppresses them.    Consequently, the gender feminist will never accept the testimonies of ordinary women, since the gender feminist believes that ordinary women have unconsciously bought into a system that oppresses them.  Thus, without marshaling an argument… the gender feminist simply presupposes her worldview and reinterprets all contrary facts as examples of false consciousness.[20]

This worldview permeates all that the modern feminist comes into contact with, including such things as history and religion.  The gender feminist, then, has a radical perspective.  As Professor Sommers continues her thought, “She [the gender feminist] views social realit[ies] in terms of patriarchal ‘sex/gender system’ that, in the words of Sandra Harding, ‘organizes social life throughout most of recorded history and in every culture today’.”[21] Of course the history of this movement has been this radical for quite some time, as one liberal professor[22]  explains in his book The Dark Side of the Left:

Among the most important legacies of the 1960s and the New Left is the contemporary feminist movement.(a) Of course, feminism, even its more radical variants, long predates the 1960s. In the decades before the Civil War, radical abolitionists such as Stephen Foster and Abigail Kelley assailed the patriarchal family structure and the “slavery of sex,”(b) while nineteenth-century utopian communities strove to construct alternatives to the conventional bourgeois family, in some cases forbidding marriage in favor of “free love,” in others separating children from their Parents so the young could be raised by the collective rather than the “isolated household.”(c) The term “feminism” itself came into widespread Usage in the United States during the early 1960s, at the height of Progressive ferment.(d) Those who identified themselves as “feminists” in the 1910s sharply distinguished the new “feminism” from the old “suffrag­ism.” For these new self-described feminists, the vote was seen not as an end in itself but as a means to achieve what one activist described as a “complete social revolution” in gender relationships.(e) Their aim was not only the political inclusion of women but a radical restructuring of pri­vate relationships between the sexes. For these early-twentieth-century feminists, the personal was political.(f)

Feminism, then, was not born moderate and then radicalized by the 1960s. From its inception, the term “feminism,” in the minds of both its proponents and its opponents, has been linked with radicalism and even socialism.(g) “Feminism,” as Nancy Cott explains, “was born ideologically on the left of the political spectrum, first espoused by women who were familiar with advocacy of socialism and who, advantaged by bourgeois backgrounds, nonetheless identified more with labor than with capi­tal.”(h) Max Eastman and Floyd Dell, both self-proclaimed feminists and socialists, frequently used the pages of the Masses to plead the case for the emancipation of women, and Randolph Bourne saw Greenwich Village feminism as a leading edge in the radical assault on deadening bourgeois conventions.(i)[23]

The liberal feminist, on the other hand, merely seeks legal equality for women and equality of opportunity in education and in the work place.  It is this type of woman who wants what any classical liberal wants for anyone who suffers bias: fair treatment under the law.  Unfortunately this is not what has been institutionalized in most of the Women’s Studies programs at the university level.

As I wrote in my larger post about the history of Planned Parenthood and a Progressive icon, Margaret Sanger, this history that is often forgotten by people like John Van Huizum, continently mentioning only the positives, not mentioning motives and never mentioning the negatives (the least of which is the inheritance tax):

Today, liberals remember the progressives as do-gooders who cleaned up the food supply and agitated for a more generous social welfare state and better working conditions. Fine, the progressives did that. But so did the Nazis and the Italian Fascists. And they did it for the same reasons and in loyalty to roughly the same principles. Historically, fascism is the product of democracy gone mad. In America we’ve chosen not to discuss the madness our Republic endured at Wilson’s hands—even though we live with the consequences of it to this day. Like a family that pretends the father never drank too much and the mother never had a nervous breakdown, we’ve moved on as if it were all a bad dream we don’t really remember, even as we carry around the baggage of that dysfunction to this day. The motivation for this selective amnesia is equal parts shame, laziness, and ideology.[24]

Here is some of the Eugenic history I compiled in my post on Margaret Sanger, one of the enlightened leaders Croly mentions leading Progressive ideals:

Above Picture Not Real ~ FYI
Many of the current and past presidents of the organization have mentioned that they are following in the footsteps of their founder, following the aims and goals of Margaret Sanger, their liberal heroin and founder. To make this point (and others), I will rely on two well written books, the first is Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change, by Jonah Goldberg. I think – however – before I mention the next book, I should allow the reader a chance to have that seemingly self-refuting term (“liberal fascism”) explained and defined. Jonah Goldberg documents that the term was the invention of H.G. Wells:

The introduction of a novel term like “liberal fascism” obviously requires an explanation. Many critics will undoubtedly regard it as a crass oxymoron. Actually, however, I am not the first to use the term. That honor falls to H. G. Wells, one of the greatest influences on the progressive mind in the twentieth century (and, it turns out, the in­spiration for Huxley’s Brave New World). Nor did Wells coin the phrase as an indictment, but as a badge of honor. Progressives must become “liberal fascists” and “enlightened Nazis,” he told the Young Liberals at Oxford in a speech in July 1932. Wells was a leading voice in what I have called the fascist mo­ment, when many Western elites were eager to replace Church and Crown with slide rules and industrial armies.

(Liberal Fascism, p. 21; more on this can be found in a post entitled, “Mussolini Defines Fascism: Does the Left = Communism? And The Right = Fascism?“)

It will be noted more in-depth later, but I must now point out that Margaret Sanger was the mistress to H.G. Wells. There was no conflict of ideals betwixt these two “enlightened Nazis.” The other book is just an expose of Planned Parenthood (unlike Jonah Goldberg’s book which deals with a panoply of topics), it is entitled Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood, by George Grant. This book is the best I have found yet on this topic. Each chapter ends with a Biblical critique as well, so if you are non-religious person this book is set up so you can skip entirely any theology if wished. If one cannot consider any “religion” on a topic however, one must ask if they are “theophobic” (a term I like to think I coined in my post entitled, “Defending the Faith Over a Syrah“). These two books (Jonah’s chapter entitled, “Liberal Racism: The Eugenbic Ghost in the Fascist Machine,” and George Grants book) will give any amateur historian or studier of movements enough fodder to turn the tables on those who profess equality at all costs.

A third book that is worth a mention is by Edwin Black, entitled, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race. A thick history of how the eugenic movement that spurned the Third Reich in their “master race” found its scientific basis in the American Left. The theological roots for it are not the topic here, but they are rooted in the occultism found in Madam Blavatsky’s book The Secret Doctrine.

The racialist ideas that were developing independently in India and Europe fused in esoterica. In The Secret Doctrine [1888], Helena Petrovna Blavatsky saw the “Aryans” as the fifth of her seven “Root Race.” This is where the term used by the Nazi’s came from.

(For more on the roots of Nazism, read my post entitled: “Hitler’s Homosexuality, Pedastry, and Occultism.”)

The question remains however, do recent Planned Parenthood (PP from here on out) leaders want what Sanger wanted? Some history and input on this is in order:

Margaret Sanger, whose American Birth Control League became Planned Parenthood, was the founding mother of the birth control movement. She is today considered a liberal saint, a founder of mod­ern feminism, and one of the leading lights of the progressive pan­theon. Gloria Feldt of Planned Parenthood proclaims, “I stand by Margaret Sanger’s side,” leading “the organization that carries on Sanger’s legacy.” Planned Parenthood’s first black president, Faye Wattleton—Ms. magazine’s Woman of the Year in 1989—said that she was “proud” to be “walking in the footsteps of Margaret Sanger.” Planned Parenthood gives out annual Maggie Awards to individuals and organizations who advance Sanger’s cause. Recipients are a Who’s Who of liberal icons, from the novelist John Irving to the producers of NBC’s West Wing. What Sanger’s liberal admirers are eager to downplay is that she was a thoroughgoing racist who subscribed completely to the views of E. A. Ross and other “raceologists.” Indeed, she made many of them seem tame.

(Liberal Fascism, pp. 270-271)

George Grant opines in on this as well:

Planned Parenthood is a paradigmatical illustration of this prin­ciple. Margaret Sanger’s character and vision are perfectly mirrored in the organization that she wrought. She intended it that way. And the leaders that have come after her have not attempted to have it another way. Dr. Alan Guttmacher, the man who immediately succeeded her as president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, once said, “We are merely walking down the path that Mrs. Sanger carved out for us.” Faye Wattleton, president of the organization during the decade of the eighties, has claimed that she is “proud” to be “walking in the footsteps” of Margaret Sanger. And the president of the New York affiliate is Alexander Sanger, her grandson.

(Grand Illusions, 81-82)

Now that we know these PP leaders are “walking in Margaret’s footsteps,” let us see where these imprints lead us in history. Edwin Black makes it known that Maragret Sanger was no “saint.”

…Sanger was an ardent, self-confessed eugenicist, and she would turn her… birth control organizations into a tool for eugenics, which advocated for mass sterilization of so-called defectives, mass incarceration of the unfit and draconian immigration restrictions. Like other staunch eugenicists, Sanger vigorously opposed charitable efforts to uplift the downtrodden and deprived, and argued extensively that it was better that the cold and hungry be left without help, so that the eugenically supe­rior strains could multiply without competition from “the unfit.” She repeatedly referred to the lower classes and the unfit as “human waste” not worthy of assistance, and proudly quoted the extreme eugenic view that human “weeds” should be “exterminated.” Moreover, for both political and genuine ideological reasons, Sanger associated closely with some of America’s most fanatical eugenic racists. Both through her publication, Birth Control Review, and her public oratory, Sanger helped legitimize and widen the appeal of eugenic pseudoscience.

(War Against the Weak, p. 127)

To follow through with this idea that charitable organizations were detrimental to her cause, George Grant (Grand Illusions, p. 40) quotes from Sanger’s book, The Pivot of Civilization:

In one passage, she followed the Malthusian party-line advocating the abandonment of all forms of charity and compassion. She wrote:

Even if we accept organized charity at its own valuation, and grant it does the best it can, it is exposed to a more profound crit­icism. It reveals a fundamental and irremediable defect. Its very success, its very efficiency, its very necessity to the social order are the most unanswerable indictment. Organized charity is the symptom of a malignant social disease. Those vast, complex, interrelated organizations aiming to control and to diminish the spread of misery and destitution and all the menacing evils that spring out of this sinisterly fertile soil, are the surest sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding, and is perpetuating constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents, and dependents. My criticism, therefore, is not directed at the failure of philan­thropy, but rather at its success. These dangers are inherent in the very idea of humanitarianism and altruism, dangers which have today produced their full harvest of human waste.”

Again, she wrote:

The most serious charge that can be brought against modern benev­olence is that it encourages the perpetuation of defectives, delin­quents, and dependents. These are the most dangerous elements in the world community, the most devastating curse on human progress and expression. Philanthropy is a gesture characteristic of modernf business lavishing upon the unfit the profits extorted from the community at large. Looked at impartially, this compensatory generosity is in its final effect probably more dangerous, more dys­genic, more blighting than the initial practice of profiteering.”

You may be asking how someone could think in terms like the above? Well, the simple answer is, radicalism. Political, and moral:

In the first issue of The Woman Rebel, Margaret Sanger admitted that “Birth control appeals to the advanced radical because it is calculated to undermine the authority of the Christian churches. I look forward to seeing humanity free someday of the tyranny of Chris­tianity no less than Capitalism.”

(Grand Illusions, p. 83)

This is similar to Hitler saying the following:

“I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality… we will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence – imperious, relentless and cruel.”

(Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God? [1994] p. 23).

George Grant runs down a quick list of whom Margaret “hung” with:

Her bed became a veritable meeting place for the Fabian (socialist) upper crust: H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Arnold Bennett, Arbthnot Lane, and Norman Haire. And of course, it was then that she began her unusual and temptuouse affaire with Havelock Ellis…. virtually all of her Socialist friends, lovers, and comrades were committed Eugenicists as well—from the followers of Lenin in Revolutionary Socialism, like H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and Julius Hammer,” to the followers of Hitler in National Socialism, like Ernest Rudin, Leon Whitney, and Harry Laughlin.” But it wasn’t simply sentiment or politics that drew Margaret into the Eugenic fold. She was thoroughly convinced that the “inferior races” were in fact “human weeds” and a “menace to civilization.”

(Grand Illusions, pp. 76 & 115)

Isn’t Sanger a hero of the Left though? How could she truly believe the above… isn’t there some kind of mistake? I wish there was. Here we start to go deeper into her relationships (personal and business) and views on race relations. Dinesh D’Souza points out in his wonderful book, The End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society, that Sanger coined the term, “More children from the fit, less from the unfit,” used by the Third Reich.

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, coined the slogan “More children from the fit, less from the unfit.” In language that many of her contemporary admirers would probably like to forget, she described blacks and Eastern European immigrants as “a menace to civi­lization” and “human weeds.” Concerned that American blacks might protest Planned Parenthood’s special “Negro Project” aimed at promot­ing sterilization, Sanger wrote to an associate, “We do not want word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

(The End of Racism, p. 118)

The Negro Project?! Maybe this is why you will find groups of Black Americans banding together on sites like BlackGenocide.org/L.E.A.R.N.

Not only did she “widen the appeal” of eugenic thinking, she was in the mix of the whole movement, and even gave page space to Nazi monsters in her news letter. For instance, in the following excerpts, we see some very disturbing relationships. In her autobiography, for instance, she said that “[o]ur living-room, be­came a gathering place where liberals, anarchists, Socialists and I.W.W.’s [Industrial Workers of the World, a socialist organization] could meet.” Jonah Goldberg continues:

A member of the Women’s Committee of the New York Socialist Party, she participated in all the usual protests and demonstrations…. A disciple of the anarchist Emma Goldman—another eugeni­cist—Sanger became the nation’s first “birth control martyr” when she was arrested for handing out condoms in 1917. In order to escape a subsequent arrest for violating obscenity laws, she went to England, where she fell under the thrall of Havelock Ellis, a sex the­orist and ardent advocate of forced sterilization. She also had an af­fair with H. G. Wells, the self-avowed champion of “liberal fascism.”….

Her marriage fell apart early, and one of her children—whom she ad­mitted to neglecting—died of pneumonia at age four. Indeed, she al­ways acknowledged that she wasn’t right for family life, admitting she was not a “fit person for love or home or children or anything which needs attention or consideration.”

(Liberal Fascism, p. 271)

I must let Jonah continue (pp. 272-273) with his referencing the history and aims of the organization, it is jaw dropping:

She sought to ban fit. “More children from the fit, less from the unfit—that is the chief issue of birth control,” she frankly wrote in her 1922 book The Pivot of Civilization. (The book featured an introduction by Wells, in which he proclaimed, “We want fewer and better children … and we cannot make the social life and the world-peace we are deter­mined to make, with the ill-bred, ill-trained swarms of inferior citi­zens that you inflict on us.” Two civilizations were at war: that of progress and that which sought a world “swamped by an indiscrim­inate torrent of progeny.”)

A fair-minded person cannot read Sanger’s books, articles, and pamphlets today without finding similarities not only to Nazi eugen­ics but to the dark dystopias of the feminist imagination found in such allegories as Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale.” As editor of the Birth Control Review, Sanger regularly published the sort of hard racism we normally associate with Goebbels or Himmler. Indeed, after she resigned as editor, the Birth Control Review ran ar­ticles by people who worked for Goebbels and Himmler. For exam­ple, when the Nazi eugenics program was first getting wide attention, the Birth Control Review was quick to cast the Nazis in a positive light, giving over its pages for an article titled “Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need,” by Ernst Rudin, Hitler’s director of sterilization and a founder of the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene. In 1926 Sanger proudly gave a speech to a KKK rally in Silver Lake, New Jersey.

One of Sanger’s closest friends and influential colleagues was the white supremacist Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy. In the book he offered his solution for the threat posed by the darker races: “Just as we isolate bacterial invasions, and starve out the bacteria, by limiting the area and amount of their food supply, so we can compel an inferior race to remain in its native habitat.”When the book came out, Sanger was sufficiently impressed to invite him to join the board of directors of the American Birth Control League.

Sanger’s genius was to advance Ross’s campaign for social con­trol by hitching the racist-eugenic campaign to sexual pleasure and female liberation. In her “Code to Stop Overproduction of Children,” published in 1934,. she decreed that “no woman shall have a legal right to bear a child without a permit … no permit shall be valid for more than one child. But Sanger couched this fascistic agenda in the argument that “liberated” women wouldn’t mind such measures because they don’t really want large families in the first place. In a trope that would be echoed by later feminists such as Betty Friedan, she argued that motherhood itself was a socially imposed constraint on the liberty of women. It was a form of what Marxists called false consciousness to want a large family.

Sanger believed—prophetically enough—that if women con­ceived of sex as first and foremost a pleasurable experience rather than a procreative act, they would embrace birth control as a neces­sary tool for their own personal gratification. She brilliantly used the language of liberation to convince women they weren’t going along with a collectivist scheme but were in fact “speaking truth to power,” as it were.” This was the identical trick the Nazis pulled off. They took a radical Nietzschean doctrine of individual will and made it into a trendy dogma of middle-class conformity. This trick remains the core of much faddish “individualism” among rebellious con­formists on the American cultural left today. Nonetheless, Sanger’s analysis was surely correct, and led directly to the widespread femi­nist association of sex with political rebellion. Sanger in effect “bought off” women (and grateful men) by offering tolerance for promiscuity in return for compliance with her eugenic schemes.

In 1939 Sanger created the previously mentioned “Negro Project,” which aimed to get blacks to adopt birth control. Through the Birth Control Federation, she hired black ministers (including the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Sr.), doctors, and other leaders to help pare down the supposedly surplus black population. The proj­ect’s racist intent is beyond doubt. “The mass of significant Negroes,” read the project’s report, “still breed carelessly and disas­trously, with the result that the increase among Negroes … is [in] that portion of the population least intelligent and fit.” Sanger’s in­tent is shocking today, but she recognized its extreme radicalism even then. “We do not want word to go out,” she wrote to a colleague, “that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

The question is this, how can a graduate student make it through a 4-year university and not know about this history. They can denounce, after this four-year indoctrination, how the settlers mistreated the Native-American’s, but will lift up a racist Nazi as a hero? The logic with this thinking baffles the mind. Even the history of the Democrats and their continual choice to be on the wrong side of history is seemingly forgot.

Going back to the defining parts of this essay, one of the major differences is how conservatives and progressives view “the perfectibility of human, nature and human society.” The left comes from a Rousseau’lian background where they believe the first man who, “having fenced in a piece of land, said ‘This is mine,’ and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society” (Adpated from my paper — opening debate — with an SFU student, Locke vs. Rousseau).

Christianity is closely tied to the success of capitalism,[25] as it is the only possible ethic behind such an enterprise.  How can such a thing be said?  The famed economist/sociologist/historian of our day, Thomas Sowell, speaks to this in his book A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. He whittles down the many economic views into just two categories, the constrained view and the unconstrained view.

The constrained vision is a tragic vision of the human condition. The unconstrained vision is a moral vision of human intentions, which are viewed as ultimately decisive. The unconstrained vision promotes pursuit of the highest ideals and the best solutions. By contrast, the constrained vision sees the best as the enemy of the good— a vain attempt to reach the unattainable being seen as not only futile but often counterproductive, while the same efforts could have produced a more viable and beneficial trade-off. Adam Smith applied this reasoning not only to economics but also to morality and politics: The prudent reformer, according to Smith, will respect “the confirmed habits and prejudices of the people,” and when he cannot establish what is right, “he will not disdain to ameliorate the wrong.” His goal is not to create the ideal but to “establish the best that the people can bear.”[26]

Dr. Sowell goes on to point out that while not “all social thinkers fit this schematic dichotomy…. the conflict of visions is no less real because everyone has not chosen sides or irrevocably committed themselves.” Continuing he points out:

Despite necessary caveats, it remains an important and remarkable phenomenon that how human nature is conceived at the outset is highly correlated with the whole conception of knowledge, morality, power, time, rationality, war, freedom, and law which defines a social vision…. The dichotomy between constrained and unconstrained visions is based on whether or not inherent limitations of man are among the key elements included in the vision.[27]

The contribution of the nature of man by the Judeo-Christian ethic is key in this respect. One can almost say, then, that the Christian worldview demands a particular position to be taken in the socio-economic realm.* You can almost liken the constrained view of man in economics and conservatism as the Calvinist position.  Pulitzer prize winning political commentator, Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), makes the above point well:

At the core of every moral code there is a picture of human nature, a map of the universe, and a version of history. To human nature (of the sort conceived), in a universe (of the kind imagined), after a history (so understood), the rules of the code apply.[28]

A free market, then, is typically viewed through the lenses of the Christian worldview with its concrete view of the reality of man balanced with love for your neighbor. Keeping the chasm between the two views and the beliefs of Progressivism in their utopian views there is this nasty idea of man being able to own something. The tenth commandment makes this more explicit when it prohibits not just stealing but also desiring to steal what belongs to my neighbor:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exod. 20:17).

The reason I should not “covet” my neighbor’s house or anything else is that these things belong to my neighbor, not to me and not to the community or the nation. This assumption of private ownership of property, found in this fundamental moral code of the Bible, puts the Bible in direct opposition to the communist system advocated by Karl Marx. Marx said:

The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: abolition of private property.

One reason why communism is so incredibly dehumanizing is that when private property is abolished, government controls all economic activity. And when government controls all economic activity, it controls what you can buy, where you will live, and what job you will have (and therefore what job you are allowed to train for, and where you go to school), and how much you will earn. It essentially controls all of life, and human liberty is destroyed. Communism enslaves people and destroys human freedom of choice.[29]

There is much more to be said about this in a paper I wrote for one of my seminary classes:

Reforming America


[1] Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (New York, NY: Doubleday, 2007), 21.
[2] Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (New York, NY: Doubleday, 2007), 97.
[3] Ibid., 100.
[4] Ibid.
[5] William D. Gairdner, The War Against the Family: A Parent Speaks Out on the Political, Economic, and Social Policies That Threaten Us All (Toronto, Canada: BPS Books, 2007), 295.
[6] Ibid., 300.
[7] “Stalin was attracted to strong women, but ultimately preferred submissive housekeepers or teenagers.  He undoubtedly enjoyed adolescent and teenage girls, a taste that later was to get him into serious trouble with the police.” Simon Sebag Montefiore, Young Stalin (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2007), 235.
[8] I am not here saying that the patriarchy is intrinsically bad either.
[9] Tammy Bruce, The New Thought Police: Inside the Left’s Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds (Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing, 2001), 123.
[10] Ibid (footnote 103), 123-124:

Do not be mistaken: what Gloria Steinem, Molly Yard, Patri­cia Ireland and all the rest have presented to you over the last 15 years (at least) has not been feminist theory.  Betty Friedan, a former Communist Party member, was only the precursor of the hijacking of feminism to serve other political interests. Some consider Gloria Steinem, the founder of Ms. magazine and probably the second most influential feminist leader, after Friedan, of the last 30 years, to be the one who began blurring the lines between gender and race issues. This might be sur­prising to those who are unaware of Steinem’s involve­ment in socialist politics. In fact, she serves as an honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, which boasts of being the largest socialist organization in the United States and is the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. Good for her, but we should know this as we explore what factors influence those who are considered feminist leaders.  Steinem’s influence, combined with the socialist sym­pathies of NOW’s immediate past-president, Patricia Ire­land, explain the co-opting of NOW by leftist ideologues. A 1996 article in Ms. quoted Ireland as saying that NOW “must offer a clear understanding of what it means to be a feminist organization concerned with ending discrimina­tion based on race, class, and other issues of oppression [emphasis mine] that come from a patriarchal structure.” Steinem then commented, “To be feminist, we have to take on the entire caste system.” Ireland details her support of the Communist Party in her autobiography, What Women Want. She admits that her socialist sympathies and participation in pro-Commu­nist rallies in Miami (of all places!) were due in part to the fact that her friend and future lover, Pat Silverthorn, was an activist in the Socialist Worker’s Party. There were problems, Ireland explains, with Silverthorn and her friends being Communists in Miami. “Later, after we’d become close,” Ireland writes, “[Pat Silverthorn] would confide that she, too, had wondered how much more dan­gerous she’d made her life by openly professing commu­nist convictions in that volatile, violent, commie-hating city… Working closely with Pat opened my eyes about the reality of living as a political leftist in this country.”

[11] Bruce Frohnen, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey Nelson, eds., American Conservative: An Encyclopedia (Wilmington, DW: ISIS Books, 2006), 679, cf. Progressivism.
[12] Phyllis Schlafly, Feminist Fantasies (Dallas, TX: Spence Publishing, 2003), 133.
[13] “Feminist Spirituality as a Path to Humanism,” Fall 1990, 31.
[14] Ibid., 35
[15] David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times: The Religious Worldviews of Our Day and the Search for Truth (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1991), 437.
[16] I would have to say what we find taught on our campuses is what is sometimes referred to as second wave feminism.  The APA Dictionary makes clear the differences between first and second wave feminism.  We will soon see when second wave feminism started.

feminism n. — any of a number of perspectives that take as their subject matter the problems and perspectives of women, or the nature of biological and social phenomena related to GENDER. Feminism has evolved from a largely political movement in the 19th century, focused (in the United States) on women’s suffrage and political and economic opportunities, into broader and more comprehensive academic, philosophical, and social movements. Although some feminist perspectives continue to focus on issues of fairness and equal rights, other approaches emphasize what are taken to be inherent and systematic gender inequities in Western society (see PATRIARCHY). In psychology, feminism has focused attention on the nature and origin of gender differences in psychological processes.

APA Dictionary of Psychology (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2007), cf. Feminism, 372-373.

[17] As David Horowitz points out:

On what basis should political activists in women’s studies departments be granted tenure and lifetime jobs? Professors of women’s studies at the University of Kansas are not elected. They are appointed, and in fact they are self-appointed, since new hires in the Department of Women’s Studies will be determined by the votes of the tenured members of the department. This means that not only is there no intellectual diversity in women’s stud­ies programs now, but as long as ideological departments con­tinue to exist there never will be. The tenured members of these departments know the ideology they want in a hire, and will always hire someone who believes politically as they do. An anal­ogy would be if the Republican majority in the Kansas Legisla­ture had lifetime jobs and were entrusted with electing their Republican successors. This is a prescription for authoritarian rule, not the kind of principle that should govern the educational institutions of a democracy.

Indoctrinate U: The Left’s War Against Academic Freedom (New York, NY: Encounter Books, 2007), 66; see also, Evan Coyne Maloney, Indoctrinate U: Our Education, Their Politics (DVD, On The Fence Films, 2007); also:

Women’s studies programs are notori­ous for misusing statistics and repeating misleading information on top­ics ranging from rape and domestic violence to the prevalence of eating disorders and the size of the wage gap. The rejection of academic rigor suggests that women’s studies pro­grams have another purpose. It’s not simply a field of study for college students—an alternative to English literature, history, or politics. Women’s studies is a recruitment device for a political movement. As Shelia Ruth details in her women’s studies 101 textbook, “Today, as in the past, if we lose our rootedness in the women’s movement, in concrete social action, we will lose not only our passion but our heart, our mean­ing, and our whole point.”

Carrie L. Lukas, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2006), 177.

[18] Academe, July-August [1989], p. 38
[19] Nancy Naples, Teaching Feminist Activism: Strategies from the Field (New York, NY: Routledge Publishing, 2002), 112; Bell Hooks, Feminist Theory (London: Pluto Press, 2000), 111.
[20] Christina Hoff Sommers, “Do These Feminists Like Women? A Reply to Friedman’s Response,” Francis J. Beckwith, ed., Do the Right Thing: A Philosophical Dialogue on the Moral and Social Issues of Our Time (Boston, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 1996), 587.
[21] Ibid.
[22] In his second paragraph, Ellis quickly points out that he is a lifelong Democrat, a card-carrying member of the ACLU, an environmentalist, a supporter of women’s rights and a federalist.
[23] Richard J. Ellis, The Dark Side of the Left: Illiberal Egalitarianism in America (Lawrence, KA: University Press of Kansas, 1998), 193-194:

(a) See Stephen Macedo, ed., Reassessing the Sixties: Debating the Political and Cultural Legacy (New York: Norton, 1997), especially the chapters by Harvey C. Mansfield, Jeremy Rabkin, and Martha Nussbaum.
(b) See Blanche Glassman Hersh, The Slavery of Sex: Feminist-Abolitionists in America (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1978).
(c) Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Commitment and Community: Communes and Utopias in Sociological Perspective (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972), especially 86-91. Carl J. Guarneri, The Utopian Alternative: Fourierism in Nineteenth-Century America (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press), especially 197-211, 35363; “isolated household” quotation on 19q. John Humphrey Noyes, History of American Socialisms (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1870 John L. Thomas, “Antislavery and Utopia,” in Martin Duberman, ed., The Antislavery Vanguard: New Essays on the Abolitionists (Princeton, NJ.: Princeton University Press, 1965), 257. Robert F. Fogarty, All Things New: American Communes and Utopian Movements, 1860-1914 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 106, 199, 215; also see 66-72 for a description of the Women’s Commonwealth, or the Sanctified Sisters of Belton, which Fogarty characterizes as “the first feminist collective in the United States” (66).
(d) Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1987), 3, 13-15.
(e) Ibid., 15.
(f) Christopher Lasch, The New Radicalism in America, 1889-1863: The Intellectual as a Social Type (New York: Vintage, 1965), 90.
(g) Cott, Grounding of Modern Feminism, 15, 35. Ludwig Von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis (1922; reprint ed., Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1981), 74-92. Lasch, New Radicalism in America, 91.
(h) Cott, Grounding of Modern Feminism, 35.
(i) June Sochen, ed., The New Feminism in Twentieth-Century America (Lexington, Mass.: Heath, 1971), viii–ix, 33-36, 45-46. Lasch, New Radicalism in America, 91.

[24] Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (New York, NY: Doubleday, 2007),, 81.
[Refrence Notation] The following footnotes/section is from Thomas Sowell’s “A Conflict of Visions
[25]
See for instance: R.H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2000 [originally 1926]); Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2003 [originally 1904]); Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (New York, NY: Random House, 2005); Thomas E. Woods, Jr., How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2005).
[26]
Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York, NY: basic Books, 2007), 27.
[27]
Ibid., 33, 34.
[28]
Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion (New York, NY: Freee Press, 1965), 80.
[29] Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 261-263.

Concepts: “Playing Softball or Hardball” ~ Political Grit

(Click article to enlarge) This installation of Concepts is pretty ambiguous and I agree with most parts of it. The connection of sports with politics is a bit for me, but to each their own. I really only take issue with John Van Huizum’s view of history. And really it isn’t just John’s lack of applying our past to our current situation, but many American’s lack this knowledge of our political past. So this isn’t an issue I bring up merely to debate with John about, but to edify all me readers knowledge about.

The first is that money has always played a part in our political structure, always. Almost all of its people that have run for president have been very well-to-do, i.e., the one-percent. This disparity in Congress of millionaires and the creation of Super-Pacs has recently become more lopsided due to campaign finance laws which had caused nearly half of Congress’ members to be millionaires, including about two thirds of Senators. Ironically, the much heralded campaign finance reform that was supposed to level the playing field in a populist direction has only served to increase the likelihood of more millionaire candidates, even though millionaires constitute about 1 percent of the American population. But these are discussions for another day. I wanted to focus in on this idea that our political landscape is “less and less friendly,” as if we have reached some apex of name calling and “meanness” in politics and partisanship. This just isn’t the case, as the video included herein points out.

Jefferson called Adams “a blind, bald, crippled, toothless man who is a hideous hermaphroditic character with neither the force and fitness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

The Federalists attacked the fifty-seven-year-old Jefferson as a godless Jacobin who would unleash the forces of bloody terror upon the land. With Jefferson as President, so warned Adams (actually the Connecticut Courant), “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.” Reportedly New Englanders hid their Bibles for fear that the infidel Jefferson would declare them illegal if elected. In 1828, supporters of John Quincy Adams called Andrew Jackson a murderer and a cannibal.

Cronkite, A Liberals-Liberal

“I know liberalism isn’t dead in this country. It simply has, temporarily we hope, lost its voice….We know that unilateral action in Grenada and Tripoli was wrong. We know that ‘Star Wars’ means uncontrollable escalation of the arms race. We know that the real threat to democracy is the half of the nation in poverty. We know that no one should tell a woman she has to bear an unwanted child….Gawd Almighty, we’ve got to shout these truths in which we believe from the housetops. Like that scene in the movie ‘Network,’ we’ve got to throw open our windows and shout these truths to the streets and the heavens. And I bet we’ll find more windows are thrown open to join the chorus than we’d ever dreamed possible.” (link in pic)

One small point to add, as I am apt to do in my rants. John Huizum mentions implicitly Walter Cronkite as some pinnacle of fairness. My deep study of the Vietnam ground war in the larger Cold War (some would say WWIII) and Walter Cronkite’s liberal slant (and all the networks of the time leaning that way) is an example of the monopoly one viewpoint had on the news people took in as a whole. Cronkite, while very liberal, did however control it much better than many CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and FOX hosts today do — not to mention he was an all-around good guy who had many friends on both sides of the isle. That being said, this “non-control” isn’t a bad thing. To be clear, Cronkite was more left leaning than many have previously allocated to him… but choice in what bias one prefers was not present during those days like it is in ours. This freedom of choice is what many liberals do not like. Unfortunately for John, Mr. Cronkite was a very leftist person, and his leftism crept out into his reporting during the Vietnam War, and he ended up NOT being “the most trusted man in America.” Granted, Cronkite was not as publicly left as, say, Rachel Maddow [who stated she is to the left of Mao], but Douglas Brinkley’s new book makes his leftism very clear.

Key to this debate is that Democrats hate competition, but once-in-a-while a liberal comes out on the side of fairness and competition of ideas, one such person is Camille Paglia. She is certainly no conservative, she had a lot to say to fellow progressives and Democrats in regards to the “Fairness Doctrine” and makes some fine points:

Speaking of talk radio (which I listen to constantly), I remain incredulous that any Democrat who professes liberal values would give a moment’s thought to supporting a return of the Fairness Doctrine to muzzle conservative shows. (My latest manifesto on this subject appeared in my last column.) The failure of liberals to master the vibrant medium of talk radio remains puzzling. To reach the radio audience (whether the topic is sports, politics or car repair), a host must have populist instincts and use the robust common voice. Too many Democrats have become arrogant elitists, speaking down in snide, condescending tones toward tradition-minded middle Americans whom they stereotype as rubes and buffoons. But the bottom line is that government surveillance of the ideological content of talk radio is a shocking first step toward totalitarianism. One of the nuggets I’ve gleaned from several radio sources is that Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who has been in the aggressive forefront of the campaign to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, is married to Tom Athans, who works extensively with left-wing radio organizations and was once the executive vice-president of Air America, the liberal radio syndicate that, despite massive publicity from major media, has failed miserably to win a national audience. Stabenow’s outrageous conflict of interest has of course been largely ignored by the prestige press, which should have been demanding that she recuse herself from all political involvement with this issue. (Capitalist Fanboys)

We should all be for fairness and friendliness in interactions with each-other, of course, who wouldn’t be for this. But Cronkite’s Republican friends were thick skinned, which is why Nixon (a thin skinned Republican) hated him. We all have to all play hard ball, and part of doing so in our Republic is by incorporating and knowing our history and to limit the “limits” we want to place on each others freedoms.

Concepts: “What Does ‘Free’ Mean?” (Smaller Government)

(You can enlarge the article by clicking it.) This is a local, small town magazine, and John Van Huizum writes a regular piece that I will critique here-and-there. Here is my first installment:

I wish to write a response to a recent Concepts article by John Van Huizum, entitled “What Does ‘Free’ Mean?” There are a couple issues worth responding to or in-the-least offering a differing viewpoint on. The first of Mr. Huizum’s positions that needs de”concept”ualizing is the idea of “greed.” Mr. Huizum spoke of history, something Dr. Sowell reminds us of in the telling of Richard Sears ferocious greed in wanting to overtake Montgomery Ward.[1] This type of greed leads to lower prices. Alternatively the Fords, Rockefellers, and the Carnegies found ways to offer goods at lower prices. This type of greed leads to Carnegie — for instance — becoming a “prodigious philanthrop[ist] – building more than 3,000 public libraries in 47 states…, founding Carnegie-Mellon University and the Carnegie Institute of Technology (C.I.T.), establishing Carnegie Hall in New York, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and much more.”[2]

In a wonderful response to Donahue’s 1979 challenge to Milton Freidman on the issue of greed and if greed has ever caused Dr. Friedman to doubt capitalism. Milton Friedman responded that “the world runs on individuals pursuing their own interests, the great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory from an order of a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of the grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and free trade.”[3] So I wish to proffer another history that maybe, just possibly Forbes is taking into account and Mr. Huizum is not.

Another point worth politely rejecting is the definition given to Forbes by Mr. Huizum on freedom: “free from ANY government regulation.”[4] This is a fallacy of straw-man.[5] Mr. Huizum does not show a full knowledge of Forbes understanding on this matter. Nor does the facile dealing with this complex issue and the putting forth of a false definition as if-it-were Forbes do this topic justice.

One last point, the most important. Unlike big business when it makes mistakes, big government cannot go out of business. Unlike corrupt government, corrupt business cannot print money and thereby devalue a nation’s currency. Businesses cannot coerce you by force (tax liens, garnishing of wages, or armed IRS officials, etc) into an action. So the “greed” of the corporation pales in comparison to the greed of government.[6] Which is why our Founders stated that, “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government” (Patrick Henry); “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master” (George Washington).


FOOTNOTES


[1] Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2004), 361.
[2] Michael Medved, The 10 biggest Lies About America (New York, NY: Crown Forum, 2008), 132; see also, “What Did He Get for That Money?
[3] Milton Freidman on the Phil Donahue Show – “Greed” (VIDEO)
[4] John Van Huizum, Agua Dulce/Acton Country Journal, Vol. XXII, Issue 21 (May 26, 2012), 19.
[5] a) Person A has position X; b) Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X); c) Person B attacks position Y; d) Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.
[6] Dennis Prager, Still the Best Hope (New York, NY: Broadside Books, 2012), 35-36.