Only a society that can effectively block and censor news, and shut down free expression is the kind the sticker refers to. Non-conservative ideas and news stories can be found readily in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, San Francisco Chronicle, ABC, NPR, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, etc.
In fact, almost every newspaper WITH THE EXCEPTION of the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, and the New York Post, and at times FOX NEWS, have a more conservative leaning bias and news stories to be considered.
L.A. TIMES EXAMPLE
One example is that years ago the L.A. Times carried columns by Dennis Prager (and other conservative voices). Today they carry zero. Here is a good letter to the editor:
To the editor (OCT. 3, 2020): I had to laugh when I read the statement that the L.A. Times’ future depends on diversity in its staff and stories. (“The Times’ reckoning on race and our commitment to meaningful change,” Sept. 27)
The Times’ future — and that of its cohorts in the widely distrusted and reviled “mainstream media” — does indeed depend on diversity. But not the diversity The Times is talking about, a surface diversity of skin color, national origin and sexual orientation.
No, The Times’ future depends on ideological diversity, something it lacks entirely.
The Los Angeles Times of 2020 is a daily Democratic Party mailer, and a particularly vituperative one. More and more of the paper is devoted to opinion, and ostensible news stories themselves resemble op-ed articles. All of it, of course, leans in the same far-left direction.
This does special disservice to the largely left-leaning readership of The Times, who still, four years after Donald Trump’s election, have no idea why much of the country holds them in contempt.
The Times should in fact commit itself to diversity — of thought. For every left-leaning columnist who appears in its pages, The Times should commit to hiring one conservative — and not never-Trump conservatives like Jonah Goldberg, but fierce, proudly pro-Trump conservatives who can expose your readers to facts and arguments they otherwise never have to confront.
Sure, some of these readers would threaten to cancel their subscriptions, and a few may. But The Times would become a must-read instead of the partisan rag it is today.
Jordan Chodorow, Los Angeles
NEW YORK TIMES EXAMPLE
Here for instance is Larry Elder noting Dean Baquet’s, executive editor of the New York Times, admission to the Left not wanting to hear thoughtful disagreement:
Dennis hasn’t changed (I know, I have listed to him for 2-decades), the Democrats and the Left in general have moved leftward.
The Pew data, however, make it clear that the shift toward the extreme has happened among Democrats, not Republicans.
A new study from the Pew Research Center shows a growing partisan gap in opinions on major issues, driven in part by Democrats’ leftward drift.
Pew found Democrats have moved substantially left on a variety of issues while Republicans’ views remain relatively constant. That was true across social and economic issues; Pew claimed that the split between Republicans and Democrats is more pronounced than any divides by race, gender, or socioeconomic status.
“This poll and some other recent ones show that Democrats are pulling more strongly to the left and Republicans are not pulling quite as strongly to the right as a general matter,” said Karlyn Bowman, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who specializes in American public opinion.
“The party is being pulled in a more liberal direction, there’s no question about that,” Bowman said. “I mean Elizabeth Warren’s comment a few weeks ago essentially that this isn’t Bill Clinton’s party, we’re not the party of welfare and crime. I think she’s reflecting the views of many of the people in her party. And I think a lot of it happened during the Obama years.”
…Now, while Joe Biden is the new president, it’s Bernie Sanders and his allies who will often be in the driver’s seat making policy. “We’re going to push Joe — the president — as far as we can,” Sanders told CNN.
Wherever that ends up being, it will move this country further to the left than most people thought possible a year ago. Bernie Sanders is proof that if you’re persistent enough, you don’t have to be elected president to be in a position to accomplish your goals.
Senator Kamala Harris is the most left wing Senator — even more Left” than Bernie:
In 2018, Harris was ranked the fourth-most left-wing. But by 2019 — a year she spent running for president — Harris had moved to the furthest extreme.
She was an early co-sponsor of the Senate version of the “Green New Deal” of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), as well as the “Medicare for All” bill introduced by Sanders, which would have eliminated all private health insurance.
Harris also supported granting free health care to illegal aliens, slashing military budgets, and other radical proposals.
GovTrack explained its ratings: “Our unique ideology analysis assigns a score to Members of Congress according to their legislative behavior by how similar the pattern of bills and resolutions they cosponsor are to other Members of Congress. The score can be interpreted as a conservative—liberal scale, although of course it only takes into account a small aspect of reality.” The most conservative score is 1.00; the most liberal score possible is 0.00.
Harris ranked #100 — the “least conservative,” or most liberal, Senator on the list, and the only one to score a “0.00”:
#90 0.16 Sen. Chris Van Hollen [D-MD] #91 0.15 Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL] #92 0.14 Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D-MN] #93 0.12 Sen. Richard Blumenthal [D-CT] #94 0.10 Sen. Edward “Ed” Markey [D-MA] #95 0.09 Sen. Mazie Hirono [D-HI] #96 0.07 Sen. Cory Booker [D-NJ] #97 0.07 Sen. Jeff Merkley [D-OR] #98 0.03 Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY] #99 0.02 Sen. Bernard “Bernie” Sanders [I-VT] #100 0.00 Sen. Kamala Harris [D-CA]
The New York Times called Harris a “pragmatic moderate” in its coverage of Harris’s announcement as Joe Biden’s running mate. [RPT editorial: LOL!]
Axios’ Jonathan Swan reports on the increasing leftward shift of Democrats, calling it “striking,” while noting that many formerly liberal fringe ideas are now mainstream in the Democrat Party. Be sure to like, subscribe, and comment below to share your thoughts on the video.
Over the past 20 years, Democrats have on three separate occasions objected to the validity of electoral votes on the floor of Congress. Wednesday, Jan. 6, will mark the first time Republicans choose do so in the past two decades.
My sons and I have discussed the January 6th issues, and, some historical aspects as well. Firstly, people saying Trump should be impeached are just as radical as the people breaking into the Capital. The throwing around of the “sedition” label is funny, and shows how people are not aware of the recent history of the lawful process of debate in Congress about just such topic. Here is one blogger noting Chuck Todd’s biased lack of awareness:
…NBC host Chuck Todd, who is always in the running to overtake CNN’s Brian Stelter as the dumbest newsman in the news media, had it out with Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) over a number of Republican members of Congress who are planning to dispute the certification of Joe Biden winning the 2020 election due to questions of massive election fraud.
After being accused of trying to thwart the democratic process, Johnson hit back by telling sleepy eyes Todd that they are trying to protect it.
“We are not acting to thwart the democratic process, we are acting to protect it,” Johnson said to Todd.
Todd and others in the Fake News media are acting like the Republicans contesting the election results is an unprecedented affair.
Let me remind them that the last three times a Republican won a presidential election the Democrats in the House brought objections to the Electoral votes the Republican won.
Lest they forget that the House Democrats contested both elections of former President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and President Trump’s win in 2016.…
PJ-MEDIA however has an excellent notation of this history when they point out Democrats outrage that Republicans objected to the certification of electoral votes. “It’s ‘conspiracy and fantasy,’ says Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.” PJ further states,
“The effort by the sitting president of the United States to overturn the results is patently undemocratic,” the New York Democrat said. “The effort by others to amplify and burnish his ludicrous claims of fraud is equally revolting.”
“This is America. We have elections. We have results. We make arguments based on the fact and reason—not conspiracy and fantasy,” he added.
There’s only one problem with Chucky’s “argument based on fact and reason.” Democrats have been challenging the electoral vote certification for two decades.
The last three times a Republican has been elected president — Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004 — Democrats in the House have brought objections to the electoral votes in states the GOP nominee won. In early 2005 specifically, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., along with Rep. Stephanie Tubbs, D-Ohio, objected to Bush’s 2004 electoral votes in Ohio.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin appears to be even more incensed at Senator Josh Hawley’s plan to object to the Electoral College vote.
“The political equivalent of barking at the moon,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said of Hawley joining the challenge to electoral slates. “This won’t be taken seriously, nor should it be. The American people made a decision on Nov. 3rd and that decision must and will be honored and protected by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.”
Brave Sir Dick seems to forget he was singing a different tune in 2005. Then, it was Democrats questioning the results of the Ohio vote, which went narrowly for George Bush.
Durbin had words of praise for Boxer then:
“Some may criticize our colleague from California for bringing us here for this brief debate,” Durbin said on the Senate floor following Boxer’s objection, while noting that he would vote to certify the Ohio electoral votes for Bush. “I thank her for doing that because it gives members an opportunity once again on a bipartisan basis to look at a challenge that we face not just in the last election in one State but in many States.”
In fact, the Ohio electoral vote challenge was only the beginning. Rumors and conspiracy theories swirled around the outcome on election night that saw Bush winning Ohio by a close, but the surprisingly comfortable margin of 120,000 votes. So why are so many of these headlines familiar to us today?
And a damning, resurfaced video underscores what’s already on the public record.
The video is a compilation of clips from congressional sessions following the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, both won by Republican George W. Bush — and in the clips Democrats launched protests against Bush’s electoral votes.
That wasn’t all. The Washington Post reported that during the January 2001 session, words such as “fraud” and “disenfranchisement” were heard above Republicans calling for “regular order.”
More from the paper:
The Democratic protest was led by Black Caucus members who share the feeling among black leaders that votes in the largely African American precincts overwhelmingly carried by [then-Democratic presidential nominee Al] Gore were not counted because of faulty voting machines, illicit challenges to black voters and other factors.
“It’s a sad day in America,” Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) said as he turned toward Gore. “The chair thanks the gentleman from Illinois, but . . . ” Gore replied.
At the end of their protest, about a dozen members of the Black Caucus walked out of the House chamber as the roll call of the states continued.
This is posted for adding to a conversation from FACEBOOK where I repeatedly noted no one ever paid 90% in taxes after it was brought up by my antagonist — hoping the operative word “PAID” would sink in — (conversation reproduced at the end of this post for clarity — JUMP.) Other Posts that discuss related issues:
“economic historian Phil Magness, of the American Institute for Economic Research, says that progressives miss an important fact: The high tax rates that America had in the past actually didn’t bring in much revenue. When rates were at 70 percent, Magness tells John Stossel, ‘A millionaire on average would pay 41 percent’.”
Even “CheckYourFact” says this:
While the top marginal income tax rate was over 90 percent [92%] while Eisenhower was president, few people were subject to that rate due to deductions and other tax loopholes. Top income earners paid much lower average tax rates.
… So, let’s get more complicated. When there was a 94% top rate in 1944-45, there were so many deductions and exclusions that the taxable income was not comparable to someone’s entire income. First, the top rate started at $200,000, which today is equal to $2,413,059.90 — so the maximum EMTR would apply only to incomes of $2.5 million. But, that’s still taxable income, not earned income.
In 1944, you could deduct business meals, all business travel, all forms of interest payments, and much more. You could even deduct spousal travel expenses on a business trip! (Why travel alone?) Companies could also “loan” or “provide” almost anything to an employee, from an apartment to standard benefits. It was possible to shelter tens of thousands of dollars from taxable income. Three-martini lunches and expense accounts were important realities, skewing tax calculations.
As a result of deductions and exclusions, even the theoretical maximum Real Rate of taxation at 60% in 1944 overstates taxation dramatically. The reality? On earned income, the richest U.S. taxpayers paid close to 40 percent of their earned incomes in taxes in 1944. We simply didn’t count much of the compensation as taxable income.
Allow me to introduce you to Hauser’s Law. Published in 1993 by William Kurt Hauser, a San Francisco investment economist, Hauser’s Law suggests, “No matter what the tax rates have been, in postwar America tax revenues have remained at about 19.5% of GDP.” This theory was published in The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 1993. For a variety of reasons, we seem to balance tax collections within a narrow range.
Since 1945, U.S. federal tax receipts have been fairly constant in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with taxes ranging from 15 to 20 percent of GDP. The graph is as follows:
When people demand higher taxes on the rich, usually phrased as paying a “fair share,” they are ignoring how our tax system has functioned historically. We could create more brackets, to tax the top 1% at a higher rate once again, but the net increase in tax revenues wouldn’t be dramatic. Why not? Because government spending is near historical highs: we are spending at near-WWII levels. It would be nearly impossible to tax enough to pay the federal bills, and doing so would likely crush the economy….
Should tax rates be higher? It’s the million dollar question! Up? Down? No change? Where in the world should taxes go? In election years, the question of tax rates fills the airwaves. In non-election years, the question of tax rates, again, fills the airwaves. So what’s the answer? UCLA Professor of Economics Tim Groseclose explains his research on the topic. Basically, there’s a certain point at which higher tax rates actually reduce the amount of revenue the government collects. What’s that point? When are tax rates too high? Learn a valuable lesson in economics, and public policy.
Which is why either a national sales tax or a flat tax would help fuel our GDP engine more. Thomas Sowell further explains via an excerpt (my scan from my book) of the “conclusion” of Thomas Sowell’s “The World of Numbers.” You can listen to the entirety of chapter 4 read via MIKE READS:Chpt 4(a)| Chpt 4(b).
I will also emphasizeAEI’s PARTIAL QUOTE from my expanded quote — it has changed a bit due to my having the revised edition (as usual I add the references for people to further follow the rabbit trail):
Thomas Sowell, Discrimination and Disparities: Revised and Enlarged Edition (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2019), 110-114; (references), 255-257.
The emphasis on complex statistical analysis in economics and other fields— however valuable, or even vital, such statistical analysis may be in many cases— can lead to overlooking simple but fundamental questions as to whether the numbers on which these complex analyses are based are in fact measuring what they seem to be measuring, or claim to be measuring. “Income” statistics which lump together annual salaries and multi-year capital gains are just one of many sets of statistics which could stand much closer scrutiny at this fundamental level— especially if laws and policies affecting millions of human beings are to be based on statistical conclusions.
What can be disconcerting, if not painful, are the simple and obvious fallacies that can pass muster in intellectual circles when these fallacies seem to advance the prevailing vision of what is called “social justice.” Among prominent current examples is French economist Thomas Piketty’s large international statistical study of income inequality, which was instantly acclaimed in many countries, despite such obvious and fundamental misstatements as one pointed out by Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard:
Thomas Piketty, whose 2014 bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century became a talisman in the uproar over inequality, wrote, “The poorer half of the population are as poor today as they were in the past, with barely 5 percent of total wealth in 2010, just as in 1910.” But total wealth today is vastly greater than it was in 1910, so if the poorer half own the same proportion, they are far richer, not “as poor.”66
In addition to speaking of percentages as if they represented a given amount of income or wealth over the course of a century, Professor Piketty also made such assertions as that, in income, “the upper decile is truly a world unto itself,”67when in fact just over half of all Americans are in that upper decile at some point in their lives.68 When Piketty said that the top one percent sit atop the “hierarchy” and “structure of inequality,”69he again verbally transformed a changing mix of people in particular income brackets into a fixed structure rather than a fluid process, in which most Americans do not remain in the same quintile from one decade to the next.
Such misstatements are different expressions of the same fundamental misconception. As an empirical study of the 400 richest Americans pointed out, Piketty “naively assumes that it’s the same people getting richer.”70 But the majority of the 400 richest Americans have earned their fortunes in their own lifetimes, rather than being heirs of the 400 largest fortunes of the past!71
Such misconceptions are not peculiar to Professor Piketty. Nor are these the only problems with his statistics. But that such simple and obvious misstatements can pass muster in intellectual circles is a problem and a danger that goes far beyond Thomas Piketty.
Whether income differences are measured before taxes or after taxes can change the degree of inequality. If inequalities are measured both after taxes and after government transfers, whether in money or in goods and services, that can reduce the inequality considerably, when high-income people pay higher taxes and low-income people receive most of the government transfers.
Statistics on tax rates themselves can be grossly misleading when changes in tax rates are described in such terms as “a $300 billion increase in taxes” or “a $300 billion decrease in taxes.” In reality, all that the government can do is change the tax rate. How much tax revenue that will produce depends on how people react. There have been times when higher tax rates have produced lower tax revenues, and other times when lower tax rates have produced higher tax revenues,72 as well as times when tax rates and tax revenues moved in the same direction.
During the 1920s, for example, the tax rate on the highest income Americans was reduced from 73 percent to 24 percent— and the income tax revenue rose substantially73— especially income tax revenues received from people in the highest income brackets. Under the older and much higher tax rate, vast sums of money from wealthy investors were sheltered in tax-exempt securities, such as municipal bonds. The total amount of money invested in tax-free securities was estimated to be three times the size of the annual budget of the federal government, and more than half as large as the national debt.74
Such vast and legally untaxable sums of money caught the attention and aroused the ire of Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, who declared it “repugnant” in a democracy that there should be “a class in the community which cannot be reached for tax purposes.”75 Failing to get Congress to take steps toward ending tax exemptions for incomes from particular securities,76Secretary Mellon sought instead to lower the tax rates to the point where it would in fact lead to collection of more tax revenues.
Tax-exempt securities tend not to pay as high a rate of return on investments as other securities, whose earnings are taxed. It made sense for wealthy investors to accept these lower rates of return from tax-exempt securities when the tax rate was 73 percent, but not after the tax rate was lowered to 24 percent. In terms of words on paper, the official tax rate on the highest incomes was cut from 73 percent to 24 percent in the 1920s. But, in terms of events in the real world, the tax rate actually paid— on staggering sums of money previously untouchable in tax shelters— rose from zero percent to 24 percent. This produced huge increases in tax revenues received from high-income people, both absolutely and as a percentage of all income taxes collected.77
This increase in income taxes collected from high-income taxpayers was a result of the plain fact that 24 percent of something is larger than 73 percent of nothing. Tax rate cuts in some later administrations also led to increases in tax revenues!78 For example, a front-page news story in the New York Times of July 9, 2006 said: “An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year.79
However unexpected this increase in tax revenues may have been to the New York Times and others decrying “tax cuts for the rich,” this was precisely the kind of outcome predicted and expected by others in various administrations over the years, who had urged that tax rates be cut, in order to get money disgorged from tax shelters and invested in the market economy. This included people in the Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, where there were similar outcomes.80 But the very possibility that tax rates and tax revenues can move in opposite directions is seldom mentioned in the media— a crucial error of omission.
These are not simply arguments about history. Among the consequences in our own time is that proposals to reduce income tax rates are automatically met with objections to reducing income tax revenues. In the Wall Street Journal of January 31, 2018, for example, economist Alan Blinder objected to tax rate cuts on grounds that “the deficit is already too large!”81
This is in defiance of what the New York Times reported about the unexpected reduction of the deficit by increased tax revenues during the administration of President George W. Bush. It is also in defiance of a record-breaking budget surplus after tax rates were reduced in the 1920s— a surplus large enough to allow about one-fourth of the national debt to be paid off.82 Like many others, Professor Blinder proceeded as if it were axiomatic that tax rate reductions mean tax revenue reductions.
There is, of course, no guarantee of what any given tax rate reduction will lead to in a given set of circumstances. But Professor Blinder’s assertion was not based on any argument that a tax rate reduction under particular current circumstances would lead to a reduction in tax revenues. There was in fact no argument whatever on that point, nor apparently any sense of need to make such an argument. Similarly, a twenty-first century book on President Calvin Coolidge likewise asserted that, as a result of the tax rate cuts during his administration, “the bounty that the rich enjoyed sapped the U.S. Treasury of funds it might have used for other ends.”83 Thus a record-breaking budget surplus under President Coolidge was verbally transmuted into a deprivation of funds, with the turn of a phrase.
All the voluminous and detailed statistics on tax rates and tax revenues published by the Internal Revenue Service, going back more than a hundred years, might as well not exist, as far as many of those with the prevailing social vision are concerned. This is ultimately not a question about history, but about what such heedlessness implies for the present and still more so for the future.
66Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (New York: Viking, 2018), p. 99.
67 Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2014), p. 252.
68 Thomas A. Hirschl and Mark R. Rank, “The Life Course Dynamics of Affluence,” PLoS ONE, January 28, 2015, p. 5.
69 Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, p. 278.
70Robert Arnott, William Bernstein, and Lillian Wu, “The Myth of Dynastic Wealth: The Rich Get Poorer,” Cato Journal, Fall 2015, p. 461.
71 “Spare a Dime,” a special report on the rich, The Economist, April 4, 2009, p. 4.
72 See, for example, Phil Gramm and John F. Early, “The Myth of American Inequality,” Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2018, p. A15. See also Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, fifth edition (New York: Basic Books, 2015), pp. 426-427, 428.
73 Gene Smiley and Richard Keehn, “Federal Personal Income Tax Policy in the 1920s,” Journal ofEconomic History, Vol. 55, No. 2 (June 1995), p. 286; Benjamin G. Rader, “Federal Taxation in the 1920s,” The Historian, Vol. 33, No. 3 (May 1971), p. 432; Burton W. Fulsom, Jr., The Myth of the Robber Barons: A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America, sixth edition (Herndon, Virginia: Young America’s Foundation, 2010), pp. 108, 115, 116.
74Burton W. Fulsom, Jr., The Myth of the Robber Barons, sixth edition, p. 109.
75 Andrew W. Mellon, Taxation: The People’s Business (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1924), p. 170.
76 Gene Smiley and Richard Keehn, “Federal Personal Income Tax Policy in the 1920s,” Journal of Economic History, Vol. 55, No. 2 (June 1995), p. 289.
77Burton W. Fulsom, Jr., The Myth of the Robber Barons, sixth edition, p. 116. The share of income tax revenues paid by people with incomes up to $50,000 a year fell, and the share of income tax revenues paid by people with incomes of $100,000 and up increased. At the extremes, taxpayers in the lowest income bracket paid 13 percent of all income tax revenues in 1921, but less than half of one percent of all income taxes in 1929, while taxpayers with incomes of a million dollars a year and up saw their share of income taxes paid rise from less than 5 percent to just over 19 percent. Gene Smiley and Richard Keehn, “Federal Personal Income Tax Policy in the 1920s,”Journal ofEconomic Histoy, Vol. 55, No. 2 (June 1995), p. 295; Benjamin G. Rader, “Federal Taxation in the 1920s,” The Historian, Vol. 33, No. 3 (May 1971), pp. 432-434.
78Alan Reynolds, “Why 70% Tax Rates Won’t Work,” Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2011, p. A19; Stephen Moore, “Real Tax Cuts Have Curves,” Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2005, p. A13. Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz argued that the tax rate cuts during the Reagan administration failed: “In fact, Reagan had promised that the incentive effects of his tax cuts would be so powerful that tax revenues would increase. And yet, the only thing that increased was the deficit.” Joseph E. Stiglitz, The Price of Inequality (New York: W.W. Norton, 2012), p. 89. However, the tax revenues collected by the federal government during every year of the Reagan administration exceeded the tax revenues collected in any previous administration in the history of the country. Economic Report of the President: 2018 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2018), p. 552; U. S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States, Part 2, pp. 1104-1105. The deficit reflected the fact that there is no amount of money that Congress cannot outspend.
79 Edmund L. Andrews, “Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Curbs U.S. Deficit,” New York Times, July 9, 2006, p. Al.
80 James Gwartney and Richard Stroup, “Tax Cuts: Who Shoulders the Burden?” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Economic Review, March 1982, pp. 19-27; Benjamin G. Rader, “Federal Taxation in the 1920s: A Re-examination,” Historian, Vol. 33, No. 3, p. 432; Burton W. Folsom, Jr., The Myth of the Robber Barons, sixth edition, p. 116; Robert L. Bartley, The Seven Fat Years: And How to Do It Again (New York: The Free Press, 1992), pp. 71-74; Alan Reynolds, ‘Why 70% Tax Rates Won’t Work,” Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2011, p. A19; Stephen Moore, “Real Tax Cuts Have Curves,” Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2005, p. A13; Economic Report of the President: 2017 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2017), p. 586. See also United States Internal Revenue Service, Statistics of Income 1920-1929 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1922-1932).
81 Alan S. Blinder, “Why Now Is the Wrong Time to Increase the Deficit,” Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2018, p. A15.
82The national debt, which was a little over $24 billion in 1920— the last year of President Woodrow Wilson’s administration— was reduced to less than $18 billion in 1928, the last year of President Calvin Coolidge’s administration. U. S. Bureau of the Census, _Historical Statistics ofthe United States, Part 2, p.1104. See also David Greenberg, Calvin Coolidge (New York: Times Books, 2006), p. 67.
The article Rush Limbaugh reads from can be found at CAPITALIST MAGAZINE. Some key parts are here:
…The left’s claim to “follow the science” is a lie. The left does not follow science; it follows scientists it agrees with and dismisses all other scientists as “anti-science.”
Science does not say that eating inside a restaurant at least six feet from other diners, let alone outside a restaurant, is potentially fatal, but eating inside an airplane inches from strangers is safe.
Science does not say mass protests during a pandemic (when people are constantly told to social distance) are a health benefit, but left-wing scientists say they are — when directed against racism. In June, Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, tweeted: “In this moment the public health risks of not protesting to demand an end to systemic racism greatly exceed the harms of the virus.” She cited )the former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden:
“The threat to Covid control from protesting outside is tiny compared to the threat to Covid control created when governments act in ways that lose community trust. People can protest peacefully AND work together to stop Covid. Violence harms public health.”
Even The New York Times, in July, acknowledged the double standard:
“Public health experts decried the anti-lockdown protests as dangerous gatherings in a pandemic. Health experts seem less comfortable doing so now that the marches are against racism.”
Science does not say, “Men give birth” or, “Men menstruate.” But the left routinely argues that “science says” such things and that “science says” there are more than two sexes, many more….
“It appears the real assault on ‘history’ can be found at CNN, where pundits compare a presidential administration they simply don’t like to one of the evilest and most violent regimes in human history” (LEGAL INSURRECTION)
More can be found at THE DAILY WIRE. Christiane Amanpour compared the Trump administration to Kristallnacht, a horrifying event that took place in November 1938 when Nazis “torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews,” according to History .com.
So, the only people “burning books” today (besides Muslims in Arab countries) is the Left. Here is a excerpt from a previous post:
Dennis Prager discusses Amazons attempt to silence freedom in banning Dr. Joseph Nicolosi’s books. The son of the author in question calls into the show. Maybe the updated edition to the book, “120 Banned Books,” can have a “Jeff Bezos” chapter. In fact, If Barnes and Noble were smart, they would have a “Jeff Bezos Box-Set” of banned books during “Banned Books Week.” At any rate, I find it fascinating that Freud was a book burned by Nazis in Germany, and now we have another psychologist’s work being burned. The attack on free speech by the Egalitarian Left since the New Left’s birth is now being “fast tracked” via the WWW. These groups of activists are essentially no different than the jack-boot brown shirts of pre-war Germany: shouting down those who they disagree with, violently attacking those who merely hold another opinion, banning books, and the like…..
….Here are some stories detailing the above:
Amazon Bans Books on Conversion Therapy for Homosexuals Who Want to Change Their Lives (RED STATE);
Amazon Bans Books on Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ – Is the Bible Next? (LIFESITE);
Amazon Bans Books On Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ (DAILY WIRE);
Amazon Stops Selling Books by Catholic Psychologist Amid LGBT Activist Pressure (CHRISTIAN POST);
Amazon Bans Books On “Conversion Therapy” (DENNY BURK).
I just wish to note that I am as conservative of an Evangelical as can be. I am a young-earth creationist, believe the Biblical when it self-ascribes literalness, etc., etc. In my extensive library is the Satanic Bible (LaVey), the Book of Laws (Crowley), most anti-creationist books, most books by atheists, the Communist Manifesto, Mao’s Red Book, Margaret Sanger’s “Pivot of Civilization,” etc., etc…..
I would like to note as well the only people tearing down history are Leftists:
Are conservative ideas allowed at American colleges? Protestors routinely try to shut down speeches by conservatives, like Heather Mac Donald, a Contributing Editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. She also wrote the book “The War on Cops,” which argues that Americans are less safe because police, for fear of being called racist, back off.
Dennis Prager sheds some thinking and light on the recent issue of the fascist left shutting down free speech. While I may parse a little of his position – for instance Cruz should have come out and have been clear on the main issue that this is a tactic of the left, to shut down freedom of speech while at the same time noting just how un-presidential Trump has been – Dennis Prager is still correct in his overall premise.
AND REPUBLICAN missed an opportunity to separate what conservatism “is” – the protection of all sides being heard; versus only one side using brown shirt type tactics:
Free Speech loses to Rollkommandos again:
JIHAD WATCH chimes in with the example from Richard Evans:
…Although this violence and brutalization of political opponents is a new phenomenon in American politics, it has a historical antecedent: the Nazi Brownshirts. In The Coming of the Third Reich, historian Richard J. Evans explains how, in the early days of National Socialist Germany, Stormtroopers (Brownshirts) “organized campaigns against unwanted professors in the local newspapers [and] staged mass disruptions of their lectures.”
To express dissent from Nazi positions became a matter of taking one’s life into one’s hands. The idea of people of opposing viewpoints airing their disagreements in a civil and mutually respectful manner was gone. One was a Nazi, or one was silent (and fearful). That is just the kind of public arena that the Left has been trying to bring to the United States for years, and is bringing to us now….
You can see a recent upload in this regards HERE. Free Speech is not a value of the Democrats…
Editor’S Note: this is a prime example of when the Left says “we want to help protect you” they often use language to get you to think they are helping… when in fact they are hurting the same people they purport to wish to help. Which is why President Reagan’s quip is so true — because it enumerates what our Constitutional republic was founded to protect us from:
The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help. — Ronald Reagan
I truly believe Reagan was influenced partially by C.S. Lewis in this thinking:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”
C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2002), 292.
What’s the best way to protect the rights of workers? Let them determine their own job preferences, or mandate that companies provide them with certain protections? California has chosen to take the latter path. Has it worked? Is it a victory for workers, or a debilitating defeat? Patrice Onwuka of the Independent Women’s Forum looks into these questions. Her findings may surprise you. For more information on Independent Women’s Forum, go to iwf.org/AB5
This was a statement made on my Facebook by a very left leaning chap that visits this sites FB site here-n-there:
Putin’s puppet and lawlessly hacked in puppet tRump who conspired to kill over 180,000 Americans and insulted the U.S. armed forces at calling war heroes losers and suckers as a treasonous POS deserves to suffer the extreme punishment guidelines of U.S. Constitutional law and the extreme punishment guidelines of the U.S. armed forces that tRump betrayed as a way of amusing his pimp Putin.
Here was my response:
Ahh, where you been Walt? Missed your Lefty take on life.
In 1969 the population was 207,659,263. 100,000 Americans died from the Hong Kong Flu (H3N2)… our country did not grind to a halt. We should not have sheltered in place but kept going like Sweden. But the main point is this:
According to the latest immunological studies, the overall lethality of Covid-19 (IFR) in the general population ranges between 0.1% and 0.5% in most countries, which is comparable to the medium influenza pandemics of 1957 and 1968. (SWISS POLICY RESEARCH)
In 1957 the U.S. population was 177,751,476, and 116,000. People were freer then than now apparently.
In 2019 the U.S. population was roughly 328.24 million.
LOSERS & SUCKERS:
I posted on the Atlantic article here (The Atlantic’s WWI Hit Piece — Anonymously Sourced Of Course). I updated it to show that 10-people have gone on the record to refute the main claim of the Atlantic about WWI. These people were either with the President when this conversation took place, or others were intimately involved with the facts of the case.
USA Today examined each of the 3,517 Facebook ads bought by the Russian-based Internet Research Agency, the company that employed 12 of the 13 Russians indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for interfering with the 2016 election. It turns out only about 100 of its ads explicitly endorsed Trump or opposed Hillary Clinton. Most of the fake ads focused on racial division, with many of the ads attempting to exploit what Russia perceives, or wants America to perceive, as severe racial tension between blacks and whites…. (LARRY ELDER)
(JUMP TO THE UPDATE) Wow. You have to hear what this painfully-woke Disney writer has to say to white women. ? Ben Shapiro lights it up. [Feminism counts… but not if you are a white female]:
The Left’s view of Intersectionality, Multiculturalism, Equality, and the like does not create unity but causes division. This is why the Left will continue to — as they embrace these ideologies more — to cannibalize themselves. Which conservatives both predict and enjoy to some extent. This, HOWEVER may (may) cause them to blame outside forces and become more violent and irrational. Take for instance the example of a famous Leftist movement of the not-so-distant past, via INTELLECTUAL TAKEOUT:
…I’ve long known of Stalin’s knack for erasing his enemies from Party photos once they had fallen out of his favor, but I recently stumbled on a wonderful visual example of it (see above).
The original photo (top left) was taken at the Fifteenth Leningrad Regional Party Conference in 1924 or 1925. It shows Nikolai Antipov (left), Joseph Stalin, Sergei Kirov (right), and Nikolai Shvernik (far right). Antiopov, who rose to become Deputy Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, was the first to fall out of Stalin’s favor. Shvernik vanished next. Readers can see he was airbrushed out of the photo, but Shvernik was lucky. He is the only person in the original photo to survive Stalin, whose enemies often had a penchant for dying unexpectedly. Which brings us to Kirov, a skilled politician and early Bolshevik leader who rose to become the First Secretary of the Communist Party’s powerful Central Committee. Kirov was shot in the neck in 1934 at the office at which he worked (the Smolny Institute). Though Stalin used Kirov’s death to clamp down on party dissidents, historians believe Kirov was killed on Stalin’s orders.
The images, which are now in the Public Domain, are instructive. They reveal at once the terror of the Soviet movement, the casual willingness of its leaders to employ deceit, and the importance the Bolsheviks placed on shaping narratives (regardless of truth).
The lesson? Beware those who employ deceit to shape a false version of history.
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
…they are in some sense removing them from history — or — being taken seriously in conversation. Who would want to discuss the health of the body politic with a racist? You see, the Left perceives certain features of reality based on an emotional “sixth sense” of some kind. This “perceiving” is not necessarily based in reality — for instance, creating a narrative about a President that has nothing to do with reality, making him into an anti-Semite, racist, etc. More on the unity [/sarcasm] of intersectionality:
(Editor’s Note: This is called cannibalism… the Left sets up a non-reality [lots of parameters to be an authentic black, Christian, voter, non-racist, etc] that they themselves cannot live up to — but is great as a bludgeoning tool for those they disagree with.)
“Every single one who’s running probably has—this is a racist country, right? Every single one of them has something in their background that doesn’t look good for race,” (WASHINGTON FREE BEACON)
The first part of the audio is the point made by Democrats that people of color or woman are not allowed on the debate stage… but a rich white-man can buy his way on to the stage. The second half of the audio is a montage (linked above at WEASEL ZIPPERS) of Leftist media and commentators attacking Democrats (themselves) for being sexist and racist. Hilarious. What do you do when the other side starts fighting each-other? Stay out of it.
A recent example in the Left vs. Left war comes from a Bernie Sander’s rally (CAUTION: NUDITY):
The topless women protesters at Bernie’s rally have “LET DAIRY DIE” written over their breasts. I’ll go along with this on condition they promise to visit me at breakfast and let me squeeze their mammaries over my cup of coffee. https://t.co/hUKYdHEctH
I recognize a lot of the so-called “moms” as the same antifa women who dressed in black as recent as a couple days ago. They just put on a yellow shirt now for optics. Most of these people aren’t mothers & many don’t even identify as female. #PortlandRiotspic.twitter.com/UPffcao0fv
GOP-USA has a decent story as well, noting: “Portland Wall of Moms, a group formed in recent weeks and quickly recognized as a staple of nightly downtown protests, was accused publicly Wednesday of “anti-Blackness” by leaders of an existing, Black-led community group.”
A girl is legally kidnapped in Santa Clarita by state authorities. The Left’s dogged emphasis on race, class, gender is destroying families, keeping them in poverty, and utterly failing our country’s motto, “out of many, one.” The Left has dumped out the melting pot and keeps us as divided as ever. This story is maddening! Here is the story from our local paper:
Keep in mind the racial science of NAZI Germany were concerned with a 1/16th racial mix… here we see the racial sciences of the Choctaw Nation and the State of California concerned over a 1/64th portion of heritage. Sick! Racist! Leftism!
Most of us learned the key ideas of the Declaration of Independence in school: that “all men are created equal,” “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” that government’s job is “to secure these rights.” This was a radical departure from the way things had always been. Where did these revolutionary ideas come from? Ben Shapiro explains in this illuminating video.
When I read the title of this FEDERALIST article, it made me think back to an introduction letter to a co-worker who had left to go to San Francisco State University. The title is, “Seattle Anarchists Holding Capitol Hostage Demand Complete Return To State Of Nature.” You see, years ago I worked as the Special Order Clerk at Borders Books and Music. If there were harder to find books, I was the man to track them down for the customer. (This was around 1999 to 2001’ish.)
I had a co-worker that leaned Left and we set up a correspondence to exchange ideas about the roots or differences of Left and Right philosophies in the political parties. When I mentioned, for instance Rousseau being in a sense the philosophical founder for Western Leftism, he disagreed, but agreed that this should be our first subject. And Rousseau thought man should return to a state of nature, which is why thee FEDERALIST article rang a bell with me. At any rate, my co-worker…
…went away to school.
I mailed him the intro topic.
Never heard a peep.
I always wondered what happen to that [then] kid. Was the letter too long? Was he already partying and not caring a wit about the topic? Was his mailing address changed? Did he die? Whatever the case was, this was the first and only interaction I had with him when he left for college. So I figured I would put the paper here as an ode to the headline above and to save publicly some of my mediocre writing.
Enjoy. BTW, this section allows you to JUMP to a section or appendix of your choice. Just hit the back arrow on your browser to return.
Rousseau’s Philosophy Of “Nothing” In Retrospect To Locke’s Philosophy Of “Ordered Statesmanship.”
SECTION ONE — deals with Rousseau and his social contract.
SECTION TWO— touches on the topic of Locke’s work, second treatise of civil government and more.
CONCLUSION— I will reference the self refuting nature of Rousseau’s philosophy… when put into a logical framework, it is un-workable!
APPENDIX A — discusses what was meant by the “general will” in Rousseau’s work and what Locke was referring to when mentioning “natural law.”
APPENDIX B — is a “investigation” into who Rousseau was, the inner man.
APPENDIX C — uses two examples of social compacts years before Lockean principles were formed.
APPENDIX D — is the journey of a French statesman hired by his government to find the key to the American Revolution.
“I have received your new book against the human race, and I thank you for it. Never was such cleverness used in the design of making us all stupid. One longs, in reading your book, to walk on all fours. But as I have lost that habit more than sixty years ago, I feel unhappily the impossibility of resuming it.” — Voltaire on Rousseau’s Social Contract
“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.” — Mussolini
“The most horrid and cruel blow that can be offered to civil society is through atheism,” — Edmund Burke, British Statesman
According to Locke, people are better off in the properly constituted state than they are or were in the “state of nature.” Quite a different point of view was expressed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1721-1778). In the state of nature, in which there was neither state nor civilization, people were essentially innocent, good, happy, and healthy, maintained Rousseau in his Discourse on the Origin and Foundation of the Inequality among Men (1754). Further, in the state of nature, he said, people enjoyed perfect freedom. But with the advent of private property, this all changed. “The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying ‘This is mine,’ and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society,” which brought with it the destruction of natural liberty and which, “for the advantage of a few ambitious individuals, subjected all mankind to perpetual labor, slavery and wretchedness.”
To put this in some sort of perspective, Rousseau wrote this indictment of civilization in 1754. This was fully sixty-seven years after Newton had published his Principia. It was two years after Benjamin Franklin, with key and kite, had proved that lightning is electricity. Thirty years earlier, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit had devised his thermometer. Bach had been dead four years, and it had been twenty-three years since he had completed the Brandenburg Concertos, a masterpiece of mathematical reasoning expressed in music. This, in short, was the eighteenth century, the Enlightenment, the age of light, the Age of Reason. Civilization was stuffed with benefits. Philosophers were (as always) critical, but this critical? Civilization a step in retrograde?
But Rousseau later came to think that, in proper society, people would surrender their individual liberty for a different and more important collective liberty. Through a social compact a people may agree, in effect, to unite into a collective whole, called “the state” or “the sovereign,” and through the state sovereign enact laws reflective of the general will. An important point to be aware of here is that, for Rousseau, the state or sovereign is an entity in its own right, a “moral person” (as Rousseau says), a nonbiological organism that has its own life and its own will. Rousseau’s concept of the general will – that is, the will of a politically united people, the will of the state – is his most important contribution to political philosophy (see appendix A for a further discussion on the general will).
Plato viewed the state as a person or organic entity as well, a sort of organism. Alternatively, think of a football team, which can easily be regarded as something “over and beyond” the individual players that make it up, or a corporation, which the law regards as a person.
The general will, according to Rousseau, defines what is to common good, and thus determines what is right and wrong and should not be done. And the state or sovereign (i.e., the people as a collective agent) expresses this general will by passing laws. Further, the general will, the will of the people taken collectively, represents the truewill of each person. Thus, insofar as the individuals actions coincide with the common will, he is acting as he really wants to act – and to act as you really want to act is to be free, said Rousseau. “Compelling (*by force?) a person to accept the general will by obeying the laws of the state is forcing him to be free,” Rousseau wrote in a famous passage. So we may lose individual or “natural” liberty when we unite to form a collective whole, but we gain this new type of “civil” liberty, “the freedom to obey a law which we prescribe for ourselves.” Thus, Rousseau wrote, “it is to law alone that men owe justice and [civil] liberty.”
The question arises, of course, just how do we know what the general will is? Rousseau’s answer: If we, the citizens, are enlightened and are not allowed to influence one another, then a majority determines what the general will is: “The general will is found by counting votes. When, therefore, the opinion which is contrary to my own prevails, this proves neither more nor less than that I was mistaken, and that what I thought to be the general will was not so.”
Rousseau, however, distinguishes between the “will of all” and “the general will.” On the former of the two, Rousseau wrote, “is indeed but a sum of private wills: but remove from these same wills the pluses and minuses that cancel each other, and then the general will remains as the sum of the differences.”
According to Rousseau, it makes no sense to think of either delegating or dividing the general will. Therefore, he calculated, in the state, there cannot validly be a division of powers (in contrast to what Locke thought), and, though we may commission some person or persons to administer or enforce the law, these individuals act only as our deputies, not as our representatives. Rousseau maintained that the citizens of the state have the right at any time to terminate the social contract (explained more in the conclusion). He also held that they have the right at any time to depose the officials of the state. The implication of the right of the citizenry to terminate the social contract at any time and of their to remove officials of the state at any time is that the citizenry have a right of revolution and a right to resume anarchy at any time. Thus Rousseau is thought to have provided a philosophical justification for anarchy and revolution.
Did Rousseau also unwittingly establish a philosophical basis for totalitarianism? Some think that is the case because he said that “the articles of the social contract [reduce] to this single point: the total alienation of each associate, and all his rights, to the whole community.” If the community is regarded not just as the sum total of its members but as an entity somehow over and above the individuals in it, an entity with its own life and will that can itself do no wrong and must always be obeyed, then Rousseau’s words do have an ominous ring and invoke concepts that are incorporated wholesale in the philosophy of fascism. – (Hitler’s claim that the Fuhrer instinctively knows the desires of the Volk and is therefore due absolute obedience is an appeal to the general will.)
Also ominous is what Rousseau wrote near the end of The Social Contract (1792): “If any one, after he has publicly subscribed to these dogmas [which dispose a person to love his duties and be a good citizen], shall conduct himself as if he did not believe them, he is to be punished by death.” (*ahh, …by force!)
[Editor’s Note: before heading into section two, years after this I read a book by the son of famous atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, William J. Murray. In his book, Utopian Road to Hell: Enslaving America and the World with Central Planning (KINDLE), he discusses the origins of Communism in Plato and the Spartan’s. That was an interesting addition to this thinking. But here I am speaking to a more modern Leftism found in the West]
“I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion [Christianity] – for who can know the human heart? – but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable for the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class or to a party, but it belongs to the whole rank of society.” America, Tocqueville added, is “the place where the Christian religion has kept the greatest power over men’s souls; And nothing better demonstrates how useful and natural it is to man, Since the country where it now has the widest sway is both the most Enlightened and the freest.” — Alex de Tocqueville, French Statesman.
“[A] true patriot must be a religious man… [H]e who neglects his duty to his Maker, may well be expected to be deficient and insincere in his duty towards the public.” — Abigail Adams agreeing with John Witherspoon
“…we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams, first (1789–1797) Vice President of the United States, and the second (1797–1801) President of the United States.
In this section on the musings of John Locke, I must confess that I have to break the mold in which I was told I must write this paper. Some of the reasons being that a proper understanding of the “law of nature” or “natural law” is foundational to Locke’s writings and political philosophy. So I turn our attention first towards the French Revolution and it’s Constitution, whose announced aim was to duplicate the American Revolution, which had been such an obvious success. In fact, Thomas Jefferson traveled to Paris in order to assist Lafayette and his associates to draft their own Declaration of Rights.
“Everyone here is trying their hands at forming a declaration of rights,” Jefferson wrote in a letter to Madison, and included in his correspondence several drafts. “As you will see,” Jefferson observed, “it contains the essential principles of ours accommodated as much as could be to the actual state of things here.” Article Four of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, drafted in August of 1789, for example, states that “liberty consists in the ability to do whatever does not harm another.” France’s Declaration abolished slavery, titles of nobility, and the remnants of feudalism and serfdom. In many respects, the French Declaration appeared superior to Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. But whereas the American Revolution ended in the establishment of a constitutional democracy, a government under law, the French Revolution ended in tyranny and government by the guillotine, followed by the rise of Napoleon.
~ The obvious question is what went wrong in France? ~
The French Declaration did not acknowledge that the source of man’s rights is man’s “Creator,” as Jefferson had affirmed in America’s Declaration of Independence. The French Declaration did not even mention that rights are inherent, inalienable, or derived from any transcendent authority. This is why in China today the communist government persecutes the followers of the Christian faith. Not because communism is atheistic in it’s philosophy, but because Christians believe that earthly kings are answerable to the “King of the Earth.” A transcendent right giver, so to speak. Rights, for the Frenchman, were granted by an enlightened government. George Washington inadvertently commented on such an enlightened government: “[L]et us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be concede to the influence of refined education on minds… reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Locke’s two Treatise of Civil Government contained 102 Biblical citations. Locke even began his argument with the proposition that God intended man to own private property, and referred the reader to Genesis: “God gave the world to Adam and his posterity in common,” He then went on cite Paul’s first letter Timothy: “God… richly supplies us all things….” But, Locke added hastily, this was by no means a prescription for socialism, as man also possesses property in the form of his own exertions. Thus, any individual who takes what God has provided equally to all and tailors it to his purposes becomes sole owner of that property. A farmer, for example, who builds a fence and cultivates the land for the production of food, becomes the legitimate owner of the land.
According to Locke’s view: “God, when He gave the World in common to all mankind, commanded man also to labor… God in His reason commanded him to subdue the earth, subdue it for the benefit of life, and therein lay out something upon it that was his own, his labor. He that in obedience to this command of God subdued, tilled and sowed any part of it, thereby annexed to it something that was his property, which another had no title to, and could not without injury take it from him.” Moreover, “thou shalt not steal” and “thou shalt not covet” are commandments (unchanging moral law that is Locke’s [God’s] general will) of God designed to protect private property, which includes labor and the fruits thereof.
Another vast difference between Rousseaulean doctrine and that of Locke’s is Original Sin. From his reading of Genesis, Locke noted that man at one time existed outside the bounds of civil government, was in a “state of nature” and completely free. But once sin entered into the world through Adam’s indiscretion, the safety of men and their property became tenuous. Man’s fallen state required that he give up some of his freedom and prudently subject himself to civil government, without which his ability to enjoy the fruits of his labor and defend his rights “is very uncertain and constantly exposed to invasion of others.”
Locke adds, “For all men being kings such as he, every man his equal and the greater part no strict observers of equity and justice, the enjoyment of the property he has in this state [of nature] is very unsafe, very insecure. This makes him willing to quite this condition, which however free, is full of fears and continual dangers.”
Frail and defenseless individuals, in Locke’s view, were forced by the brutish circumstances (i.e., original sin = man inherently evil; no original sin = man inherently good) of existence (which man creates) to band together for their own mutual protection to form civil societies, entrusting to some sovereign agent the power to wield the sword against bandits and foreign invaders. But Locke, wanting to confine the duties of government to a narrow compass, was quick to add that the power of government is by no means absolute; the people had entered into a mutual and binding trust with each other and had established a regime with precisely defined obligations. If this trust or “compact” – precisely defined obligations – is at any time broken, the people have the right to withdraw their allegiance… even to rebel and depose their ruler, an astonishing notion to those who believe the monarch’s authority flowed from divine right.
To the question: Who shall judge the king? Locke replied,
“The people shall be the judge,” though in the end, said Locke, “God in Heaven is Judge. He alone, ‘tis true, is Judge of the right. But every man is judge for himself… whether he should appeal to the Supreme Judge, as Jephthah did” and wage war (Judges 11:27-33). “I will not dispute now whether princes are exempt from the laws of their country,” wrote Locke, “but this I am sure, they owe subjection to the laws of God,” and added: “No body, no power, can exempt them from the obligations of that Eternal Law [caps in the original]… Whatever some flatterers say to princes of the world, who all together, with their people joined to them, are, in comparison to the Great God, but a drop of a bucket, or a dust on the balance, inconsiderable, nothing” (Isaiah 40:15).
Locke’s argument for disobeying a king was actually a conservative one. While Royalists believed rejection of the monarch’s authority was the same as disobeying God. Locke thought little harm would come from acknowledging the people’s prerogative to exercise their ultimate right to reject the civil authority, because “people are not so easily got out of old forms as some are apt to suggest.” “Great mistakes,” said Locke, “will be born by people without mutiny or murmur” (see conclusion). Only “a long train of abuses, prevarications and artifices, all tending the same way,” that is towards subverting the people’s God-given liberties, could make people “rouse themselves.”
Locke was merely applying Protestant religious principles to the world of politics (see appendix C). If the individual has the authority to interpret Scripture for himself, without a human agent acting as intermediary, isn’t it also up to the individual to determine his own relationship to the government and indeed to the rest of society? Under extreme circumstances, thought Locke, the conscience of the individual, informed by scripture, and right reason, can supersede the government and even the collective judgment of the group because society is a voluntary union, from which anyone can exit if he so chooses. Unlike Rousseau who said, “Further, the general will, the will of the people taken collectively, represents the true will of each person. Thus, insofar as the individuals actions coincide with the common will, he is acting as he really wants to act – and to act as you really want to act is to be free.” Neither are you free to exit at any time according to Rousseaulean philosophy: “If any one, after he has publicly subscribed to these dogmas [which dispose a person to love his duties and be a good citizen], shall conduct himself as if he did not believe them, he is to be punished by death.”
Society As the “Whole”
(Excerpted from the book, Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly In Mid-Air)
If Society, the will of all or the will of the majority [society says], is the final measure of morality, then all its judgements are moral by definition. Such a concept is an oxymoron – a contradiction in terms. An attorney once called a radio talk show with a challenge. “When are you going to accept the fact that abortion is the law of the land?” she asked. “You may not like it, but it’s the law.” Her point was simple. The Supreme Court has spoken, so there is nothing left to discuss. Since there is no higher law, there are no further grounds for rebuttal. This lawyer’s tacit acceptance of conventionalism suffers because it confuses what is right with what is legal.
When reflecting on any law, it seems sensible to ask, “it’s legal, but is it moral? It’s law , but is the law good; is it just?” There appears to be a difference between what a person has the liberty to do under the law and what a person should do. Conventionalism renders this distinction meaningless. There is no “majority of one” to take the higher moral ground. As Pojman puts it, “Truth is with the crowd and error with the individual” (much like Rousseau). This is tyranny of the majority.
When any human court is the highest authority, then morality is reduced to mere power – either power of the government or power of the majority. If the courts and laws define what is moral, then neither laws nor governments can ever be immoral, even in principle.
Another absurd consequence follows from the society says line of thought. This view makes it impossible to reform the morals of a society. There are actually two problems here; the first is called the reformer’s dilemma. Moral reformers typically judge society from the inside. They challenge their culture’s standard of behavior and then campaign for change. But when morality is defined by the present society’s standard, then challenging the standard would be an act of immorality. Social reformers would be made moral outcasts precisely because they oppose the status quo.
Corrie ten Boom and other “righteous gentiles” risked their own lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. William Wilberforce sought the abolition of slavery in the late eighteenth century in the United Kingdom. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights in the United States in the 50’s and 60’s. in Germany during World War II, Martin Niemoller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer challenged Christians to oppose Hitler.
We count these people as moral heroes precisely because they had the courage to fight for freedom. According to Society Says thought, however, they are the worst kind of moral criminals because they challenged the moral consensus of their own society. This view faces another difficulty with moral improvement of society. If society’s laws and cultural values are the ultimate standards of behavior, then the notion of moral improvement on a legal or cultural level is nonsense. A social code can never be improved; it can only be changed.
Think of what it means to improve something. Improvement means an increase in excellence by raising to a better quality or condition. How do we know if we have increased the quality of something? Only by noting that some change has brought it closer to an external standard of improvement. A bowler improves when she raises her average closer to 300, the perfect game. A baseball pitcher increases his skill by decreasing the number of batters he allows on base. If he strikes out every batter, he’s attained perfection. In either case, an outside standard is used as the measure of improvement.
To improve a society’s moral code means that the society changes its laws and values to more closely approximate an external moral ideal. If no such standard exists, if cultural values are the highest possible law, then there is no way for those standards to be better than what they are at any given moment. They can only be different. A society can abolish apartheid in favor of equality. It can adopt policies of habeas corpus protecting citizens against unjustified imprisonment; it can guarantee freedom of speech and the press. But according to this view, no one could ever claim that these are moral improvements but only that society changed its tastes. There is no moral ideal to emulate. Moral change is possible, but not moral improvement. Improvement means getting better, and there’s nothing better – in this view – than any society’s current assessment of morality. And moral reformers actually turn out to be unethical.
“By offering evolution in place of God as a cause of history, Darwin removed the theological basis of the moral code of Christendom. And the moral code that has no fear of God is very shaky. That’s the condition we are in.” — Will Durant, the preeminent historian and author of The Story of Civilization
Speaking of his native born Russia, “But if I were asked today to formulate as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’“ — Nobel Prize winner, Alexander Solzhenitsyn
“I have been alternately called an aristocrat and a democrat. I am… neither. I am a Christocrat…. I believe all power… will always fail of producing order and happiness in the hands of man. He alone who created and redeemed man is qualified to govern him.” — Founding Father Benjamin Rush
A Critique of the “General Will”
Rousseau’s concept of the general will is essentially the same as such familiar concepts as the “sentiment of a nation” and the “aspirations of a people.” The idea is that a group of people may collectively or as a group desire or wish or want something, and that this collective desire, though it may coincide with the desires of the individuals in the group, is a metaphysically distinct entity.
Two questions about the general will, and all similar notion of a collective sentiment, are controversial to this day. First, what is it? Let’s suppose, for example, that every member of a group of people believes that the federal deficit should be reduced. We may say, then, that the federal deficit should be reduced. But can saying this possibly mean otherwise than simply that every individual in the group believes that it should be reduced? In this instance, that is, the general will seems no different from the wills of all individuals.
Let’s suppose now that 60 percent of the group believes that the deficit should be reduced. If we now say that the general will is that the federal deficit should be reduced, can we mean anything other than that 60 percent believes that way? In this instance, then, the general will seems no different from the individual wills of the 60 percent.
Suppose, finally, that 50 percent believes in raising taxes to reduce the federal deficit and 50 percent believes in cutting taxes to reduce the federal deficit. If we ignore the differences about how the deficit should be reduced (these, Rousseau might say, are “pluses and minuses that cancel each other”) and say that the general will is that the deficit should be reduced, do we mean anything other than what we did in the first instance, namely, that everyone believes that it should be reduced?
Thus, if the general will is supposedly something other than the will of all or the will of the majority – which clearly is Rousseau’s view because he envisions circumstances in which the majority will and the will of all may actually run counter to the general will – the question is: What is it?
And the second question is: Even granting that a group may have a general will that is distinct from the will of the majority, how is one to determine the specific propositions it endorses? Polls and elections disclose the will of all and the will of the majority; what discloses the general will? Through the will of all the general will could feasibly be changed since “the freedom to obey a law which we prescribe for ourselves.” Thus, Rousseau wrote, “it is to law alone that men owe justice and [civil] liberty.” Man is the end to a means, this general will then is subjected to his will as opposed to His Will!
This is why an unconstitutional democracy will never work. Founding Father Fisher Ames said, “A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption, and carry desolation in their way,” (legally, I might add). Founding Father Benjamin Rush was equally pointed when he noted, “A simple democracy is the devil’s own government.” Founding Father and President John Adams stated that, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There has never been a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
So strongly did the Founders oppose democracy that when they created the Constitution, they included a provision to keep America from becoming a democracy. Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution requires that “each State maintain a republican form of government” – a republican form as opposed to a democratic one. One of our most thoroughly educated Founding Fathers was Noah Webster, who illuminated us as to what a “republican form of government was,” keeping in mind that Webster was the author of Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution:
“[O]ur citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion.”
The Judeo-Christian moral standard will never change because the basis for it is Divine in nature. This is the general will that a properly constituted government can refer to in order to stay within the lane lines of freedom and liberty. This is something that Rousseau’s general will cannot, and will never be able to, accomplish!
“As a man thinkith in his heart, so he is” — Proverbs 23:7
“If the moral character of a people once degenerate, their political character must soon follow…. These considerations should lead to an attentive solicitude… to be religiously careful in our choice of all public officers… and judge of the tree by its fruit.” — Founding Father Elias Boudinot
As the quotes above give a clue as to what this appendix is, I would want to first say that a man can change, but Rousseau never showed that change that can so inspire men to renounce their past beliefs, like Abraham Maslow. So lets delve into the mind of Rousseau with a conglomeration of quotes by him from various sources. This is done in order that we may see who the real Rousseau is.
Rousseau actually enjoyed the lavish lifestyle and considerable success even in his lifetime. To the unprejudiced modern eye he does not seem to have had much to grumble about. Yet Rousseau was one of the greatest grumblers in the history of literature. He insisted that his life had been one of misery and persecution. He reiterates the complaint so often and in such harrowing terms, that one feels obligated to believe him. On one point he was adamant: he suffered from chronic ill health. He was “an unfortunate wretch worn out by illness… struggling every day of my life between pain and death.” He had “not been able to sleep for thirty years.”
“Nature,” he added, “which has shaped me for suffering, has given me a constitution proof against pain in order that, unable to exhaust my forces, it may always make itself felt with the same intensity.”
It is true that he always had trouble with his penis. In a letter to his friend Dr. Tronchin, written in 1755, he refers to “the malformation of an organ, with which I was born.” His biographer Lester Crocker, after careful diagnoses, writes: “I am convinced that Jean-Jacques was born a victim of hypospadias, a deformity of the penis in which the urethra opens somewhere on the ventral surface.” In adult life this became a stricture, necessitating painful use of a catheter, which aggravated the problem both psychologically and physically. He constantly felt the urge to urinate and this raised difficulties when he was living in high society: “I still shudder to think of myself, in a circle of women, compelled to wait until some fine talk had finished… When at last I find a well-lit staircase there are other ladies who delay me, then a courtyard full of constantly moving carriages ready to crush me, ladies’ maids who are looking at me, lackeys who line the walls and laugh at me. I do not find a single wall or wretched little corner that is suitable for my purpose. In short I can urinate only in full view of everybody and on some noble white-stockinged leg.”
The passage is self-pitying and suggests, along with much other evidence, that Rousseau’s health was not as bad as he makes out. At times, when it suites his argument, he points to his good health. His insomnia was partly fantasy, since various people testify to his snoring. David Hume, who was with him on the voyage to England, wrote, “He is one of the most robust men I have ever known. He passes ten hours in the night-time above deck in the most severe weather, where all the seamen were almost frozen to death, and he took no harm.”
Rousseau called himself the “unhappiest of mortals,” spoke of the “grim fate which dogs my footsteps,” claimed “few men have shed so many tears” and insisted: “my destiny is such that no one would dare describe it, and no one would believe it.” In fact he described it often and many did believe, that is until they learned more about his character. Even then some sympathy remained. Madame d’Epinay, a patroness whom he treated abominably, remarked, even after her eyes were opened: “I still feel moved by the simple and original way in which he recounted his misfortunes.” He was what armies call an Old Soldier, a practiced psychological con-man. One is not surprised to find that, as a young man, he wrote begging letters, one of which has survived. It was written to the Governor of Savoy and demands a pension on the grounds that he suffers from a dreadful disfiguring disease and will soon be dead.
But behind all this self-pity lay an overpowering egoism, a feeling that he was quite unlike other men, both in his sufferings and his qualities. He wrote: “What could your miseries have in common with mine? My situation is unique, unheard of since the beginning of time.…” Equally, “The person who can love me as I can love is still to be born.” “No one ever had more talent for loving.” “I was born to be the best friend that ever existed.” “I would leave this life with apprehension if I knew a better man than me.” “show me a better man than me, a heart more loving, more tender, more sensitive…” “Posterity will honor me… because it is my due.” “I rejoice in myself.” “…my consolation lies in my self-esteem.” “…if there were a single enlightened government in Europe, it would have erected statues of me.”
No wonder why Burke declared: “Vanity was the vice he possessed to a degree little short of madness.” It was part of Rousseau’s vanity that he believed himself incapable of base emotions. “I feel too superior to hate.” “I love myself too much to hate anybody.” “Never have I known the hateful passions, never did jealousy, wickedness, vengeance enter my heart… anger occasionally but I am never crafty and never bear a grudge.” In fact he frequently bore grudges and was crafty in pursuing them. Men noticed this. Rousseau was the first intellectual to proclaim himself, repeatedly, the friend of all mankind. But loving as he did humanity in general, he developed a strong propensity for quarreling with human beings in particular. One of his victims, his former friend Dr. Tronchin of Geneva, protested: “How is it possible that the friend of mankind is no longer the friend of men, or so scarcely so?”
In 1743 he was given what seemed to plush post of secretary to the French Ambassador in Venice, the Comte de Montaigu. This lasted eleven months and ended in his dismissal and flight to avoid arrest by the Venetian Senate. Montaigu stated (and his version is to be preferred to Rousseau’s own) that his secretary was doomed to poverty on account of his “vile disposition” and “unspeakable insolence,” the product of his “insanity” and “high opinion of himself.”
Rousseau was a madman impassioned only with his best interests in mind. Granted he did reapply some beliefs that had already existed, much like Locke, but the difference between the two men in lifestyle and philosophy shows, that in all, Locke was a man to be measured by his deeds and his words.
“Being a lover of freedom, when the [Nazi] revolution came, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities were immediately silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks…” “Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing the truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration for it because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.” — Albert Einstein
I wanted to quickly debunk the feeling that Locke and Rousseau were the originators of the social contract. Just a couple examples will suffice, but others throughout Christian history are available. The Mayflower Compact is a prime example of what a community with Godly principles and the welfare of all in mind can do.
“In the name of God, amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign, Lord King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, & c., having undertaken for the glory of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid.”
This agreement was executed on November 11, 1620 – predating Locke’s Second Treatise by seven decades. It proved to be an accurate precursor of the Plymouth polity, which thereafter featured annual elections for governor, deputy governor, and legislature. As with the churches of that era, the pattern was repeated often in the experience of New England. Here, for example, are the words of the Fundamental Orders of Conneticut (1639), the colony established and led by Thomas Hooker:
“…well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such people there should be an orderly and decent government established according to God, [we] do therefore associate and conjoin ourselves to be as one public state or commonwealth; and… enter into combination and confederation together, to maintain and pursue the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess…”
Alex de Tocqueville on the American Revolution
Alex de Tocqueville in the early 1800’s was commissioned to by the French government to travel throughout the United States in order to discover the secret of the astounding success of this experiment in democracy. The French were puzzled at the conditions of unparalleled freedom and social tranquility that prevailed in America. Previously, it was thought that where there was liberty, anarchy would inevitably follow because of the inability of the people to govern themselves. But in America people were free – and also well behaved. In fact, nowhere on earth was there so little social discord.
When the French jurist, Alexis de Tocqueville, visited the United States in 1831, he became so impressed with what he saw that he went home and wrote one of the best definitive studies on the American culture and Constitutional system that had been published up to that time. His book was called Democracy in America. Concerning religion in America, de Tocqueville said: “On my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things” (emphasis added).
He described the situation as follows: “Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must be regarded as the first of their political institutions … I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion – for who can search the human heart? – but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.”
In Europe, it had been popular to teach that religion and liberty were enemies of each other. De Tocqueville saw the very opposite happening in America. He wrote: “The philosophers of the 18th century explained in a very simple manner the gradual decay of religious faith. Religious zeal, said they, must necessarily fail the more generally liberty is established and knowledge diffused. Unfortunately, the facts by no means accord with their theory. There are certain populations in Europe whose unbelief is only equaled by their ignorance and debasement; while in America, one of the freest and most enlightened nations in the world, the people fulfill with fervor all the outward duties of religion”….
The Greatest Influence [De Tocqueville] emphasized the fact that this religious undergirding of the political structure was a common denominator of moral teachings in different denominations and not the political pressure of some national church hierarchy. Said he: “The sects [different denominations] that exist in the United States are innumerable. They all differ in respect to the worship which is due to the Creator; but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man. Each sect adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner, but all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God…. All the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same … There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.”
It was astonishing to de Tocqueville that liberty and religion could be combined in such a balanced structure of harmony and good order. He wrote: “The revolutionists of America are obliged to profess an ostensible respect for Christian morality and equity, which does not permit them to violate wantonly the laws that oppose their designs … Thus while the law permits the Americans to do what they please, religion prevents them from conceiving, and forbids them to commit, what is rash or unjust”….
In one of de Tocqueville’s most frequently quoted passages, he stated: “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.”
Two Treatises of Government, John Locke, edited by Edited by Thomas I. Cook.
Rousseau’s Political Writings, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, edited by Alan Ritter. Translated by Julia C. Bondanella.
Intellectuals, by Paul Johnson.
The Betrayal of Liberalism: How the Disciples of Freedom & Equality Helped Foster the Illiberal Politics of Coercion & Control, edited by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball.
Christianity & the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers, by John Eidsmoe.
Intellectuals Don’t Need God & Other Modern Myths: Christian Apologetics for Today, by Alister E. McGrath.
Faith & Freedom: The Christian Roots of American Liberty, by Benjamin Hart.
Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews With An Absolutist, by Peter Kreeft.
America’s Thirty-Year War: Who Is Winning?, by Balint Vazsonyi.
Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air, Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory Koukl.
The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, edited by Ted Honderich.
Philosophy for Dummies, by Tom Morris.
Introduction To Ethics, by Robert van Wyk.
The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View, by Richard Tarnas.
America’s God & Country Encyclopedia of Quotations, by William Federer.
The Theme Is Freedom: Religion, Politics, & the American Tradition, M. Stanton Evans.
How Now Shall We Live?, by Charles Colson.
Keys to Good Government: According to the Founding Fathers, by David Barton.
The Foundations of American Government, by David Barton.
Philosophy: The Power of Ideas, Brooke N. Moore and Kenneth Bruder.
The Oxford History of Western Philosophy, edited by Anthony Kenny.
The Concise Conservative Encyclopedia; 200 of the Most Important Ideas, Individuals, Incitements, & Institutions That Have Shaped the Movement, by Brad Miner.
The Character of Nations: How Politics Makes & Breaks Prosperity, Family & Civility, by Angelo M. Codevilla.
Larry Elder corrects the record on a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr., often taken from its larger context. On Thursday, May 28th, the quote was the 11th most searched item in Google “A riot is the language of the unheard“
THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR deals with the above misquoting of MLK (misunderstanding his intent of that statement) very well:
It was inevitable that George Floyd’s death would spark protests against police brutality and that mendacity would characterize the attendant media coverage. True to form, the press affected dismay when the demonstrations devolved into violence, yet reported the riots with obvious approbation. The most obscene example of this was the widespread use, in headlines and ledes, of an out-of-context Martin Luther King quote suggesting that the civil rights leader would have condoned the mayhem. USA Today, for example, ran a feature story bearing the following title: “ ‘A riot is the language of the unheard’: MLK’s powerful quote resonates amid George Floyd protests.”
This grotesque misrepresentation of Dr. King’s views is only possible by cynically cherry-picking eight words from a 1966 interview during which he repeatedly emphasized that violence was counterproductive to the progress of the civil rights movement. Mike Wallace interviewed him for “CBS Reports” on Sept. 27, 1966, and the primary topic of discussion involved divisions within the movement concerning overall strategy. The myth that King had somehow endorsed violence went mainstream in 2013, when “60 Minutes Rewind” posted a clip from the Wallace interview and irresponsibly titled it using the same out-of-context quote. The interview transcript begins with this unambiguous statement:
KING: I will never change in my basic idea that non-violence is the most potent weapon available to the Negro in his struggle for freedom and justice. I think for the Negro to turn to violence would be both impractical and immoral.
It’s pretty difficult to find anything resembling support for street violence or riots in this statement, but a subsequent question about the “Black Power” movement persuaded Dr. King to explain the impetus of the numerous 1966 riots. He cited the growing frustration caused by the absence of progress on basic civil rights for black people in general. King obviously understood that much of the community was growing very impatient. He also knew that most owners of property burned and businesses ruined during riots were owned by black people. This is still true. Thus, he continued to denounce the riots as self-defeating and socially destructive and insisted that nonviolence was the best course to follow:
MIKE WALLACE: There’s an increasingly vocal minority who disagree totally with your tactics, Dr. King.
KING: There’s no doubt about that. I will agree that there is a group in the Negro community advocating violence now. I happen to feel that this group represents a numerical minority. Surveys have revealed this. The vast majority of Negroes still feel that the best way to deal with the dilemma that we face in this country is through non-violent resistance, and I don’t think this vocal group will be able to make a real dent in the Negro community in terms of swaying 22 million Negroes to this particular point of view. And I contend that the cry of “black power” is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. (Emphasis added.)
The media have dishonestly plucked the highlighted fragment from this 175-word answer to create the false impression that Dr. King somehow viewed violence as a legitimate weapon in the fight for justice. In reality, there is no honest way to arrive at this conclusion when those eight words are read in their proper context. Yet USA Today is by no means alone in its misuse of this fragment. CNN uses the same eight words for the title of a Fareed Zakaria segment that begins with a deceptively edited clip from King’s 1967 speech, “The Other America,” in which he discusses riots much as he did on CBS. In order to launch the segment with the magic words, however, CNN edited out most of the speech, including the following:
Let me say as I’ve always said, and I will always continue to say, that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. I’m still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. I feel that violence will only create more social problems than they will solve. That in a real sense it is impracticable for the Negro to even think of mounting a violent revolution in the United States. So I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way.
USA Today, CBS, and CNN have lot of company. The Week, for example, ran yet another trite effusion titled “ ‘A riot is the language of the unheard,’ Martin Luther King Jr. explained 53 years ago.” This nonsense, like the rest, ignores the facts and includes standard fictions to once again conjure up an image of Dr. King as an advocate of violence in the cause of social justice. Among those offended by this mendacious exploitation of King’s words to validate violence is his niece, Alveda King. She writes, “I am saddened yet undaunted that a quote from my Uncle Martin is being taken out of context.… Some people are calling this an endorsement of violence, but nothing could be further from the truth.”……
MY RIOTESS THOUGHTS
I feel bad for the Floyd family. Not because of their loss (although that was my first emotion and care, was for the loss of their son… even if it was more heart related, the officer in question could have saved his life if he wasn’t kneeing his neck), but because I do not care about the incident all that much any longer. I am more focused on the fruits of a culture that has been brewing since gay author/professor first fired a warning shot over the New Left’s bow (the beginning of the culture war):
There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students’ reaction: they will be uncomprehending. That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them…. The relativity of truth is… a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or so they see it…. The danger they have been taught to fear is not error but intolerance. (Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind [New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1987], 25.)
These riots have nothing to do with that officers’ actions. It has to do with how a large segment of society brands people for seeking categories for society to adhere to (SIXHIRB: sexist, islamophobic, xenophobic, homophobic, intolerant, racist, bigoted). Unless people (a) counter these histories found in horrible university texts like the one pictured to the right with actual histories that work in the real world when applied… not some fantasy Utopia; (b) or at least invigorate adults to challenging themselves to enter into real conversations about our body politic (which requires discussions about our nation’s history, past and current politics, our nations roots in cities like Athens and Jerusalem), we will see more of this:
The Western world has produced some of the most prosperous and most free civilizations on earth. What makes the West exceptional? Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire and author of “The Right Side of History,” explains that the twin pillars of revelation and reason — emanating from ancient Jerusalem and Athens — form the bedrock for Western civilization’s unprecedented success.
All culminating in America’s “Trinity”:
Nearly every country on Earth is defined by race or ethnicity. Not America. What makes the United States different? Dennis Prager outlines the values that have allowed the American people to flourish and, unlike immigrants almost everywhere else, transformed those who arrived from across the globe into full Americans—regardless of where they were born.
One needs to also confront the idea that in the black community cults like the Five Percenters (The Nation of Gods and Earths) and Nation of Islam in some of these communities of color (an aside: if I had said colored communities — that is racist — but not communities of color). If MLK hated this radicalism, then why do people support it in the black community but rebuff it in the white?
King’s influence was tempered by the increasingly caustic tone of Black militancy of the period after 1965. Black radicals increasingly turned away from the Gandhian precepts of King toward the Black Nationalism of Malcolm X, whose posthumously published autobiography and speeches reached large audiences after his assassination in February 1965. King refused to abandon his firmly rooted beliefs about racial integration and nonviolence.
In his last book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, King dismissed the claim of Black Power advocates “to be the most revolutionary wing of the social revolution taking place in the United States.” But he acknowledged that they responded to a psychological need among African Americans he had not previously addressed.
“Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery,” King wrote. “The Negro will only be free when he reaches down to the inner depths of his own being and signs with the pen and ink of assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation.”
People [read here adults] need to challenge their beliefs with thinking outside their lifelong or university taught Leftism. Pick a site from the following and visit it a couple times a week [hint: Powerline will be the quickest reads]:
– just to name a few with good writing and represent some counter thinking to the CNN’s and WaPo’s of the world. They offer an excellent introduction to how Conservatives view our political landscape. Stop feeding these lies about American history based on emotion rather than testing one’s own viewpoints. PICK UP A SINGLE BOOK AND READ. Preferably one you disagree with and would otherwise read. If we don’t figure out how to do this, the cities that most need businesses and stability will lose them over and over. This is exactly what we can expect to happen:
A conservative think tank had to have their yearly meeting in an undisclosed place due to threats of violence, Michael Steele had Oreo cookies thrown at him, conservative speakers like Ann Coulter need body guards when going on to a campus when speaking (the reverse is not true of liberal speakers), eco-fascists (like this CBS story notes) put nails in trees so when lumber jacks cut through them they are maimed, from rapes and deaths and blatantly anti-Semitic/anti-American statements and threats made at occupy movements [endorsed by Obama], we are seeing Obama’s America… divided, more violent; [NOT OT MENTION] forcing Christians to photograph, make cakes for, and put flower arrangements together for same-sex marriage ceremonies… to pro-choice opponents with jars of feces and urine taken from them after chanting “hail Satan” and “fuck the church,” a perfect storm is being created for a real culture war… all with thanks to people who laugh at terms like “eco-fascists” and “leftist thugs.” The irony is that these coal unions asked their members to vote for Obama. Well, the chickens have come home to roost.
The chickens indeed are coming home to roost (Obama’s pastor’s saying after his “Goddamm America” sermon), just for the people that except such a bad ethos. With the NYTs 1619 project. Professors teaching a generation that America was and is the most oppressive racist nation. Media making things up about Republicans being racists since Goldwater. And the calling of a President who has Jewish religious kids and grandkids an anti-Semite/racist. The comedic newsers like Trevor Noah, Colbert, and the like confirming such lies to a millennial generation that gets their news from the “Jimmy Falons” of the world (not to mention CNN, NPR, WaPo, MSNBC, NYT, etcetera).
The publication of my new book, America’s Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American revolution and the Declaration that Defined It, comes at a crucial moment in American history. Academic study of the American revolution is dying on our college campuses, and the principles and institutions of the American Founding are now under assault from the nattering nabobs of both the progressive Left and the reactionary Right. These two ideological antipodes share little in common other than a mutually-assured desire to purge 21st-century American life of the founders’ philosophy of classical liberalism.
On this point, the radical Left and Right have merged.
The philosophy of Americanism is, as I have argued in my book and elsewhere, synonymous with the founders’ ideas, actions, and institutions. Its core tenets can be summed up as: the moral laws and rights of nature, ethical individualism, self-interest rightly understood, self-rule, constitutionalism, rule of law, limited government, and laissez-faire capitalism.
The founders’ Americanism is most identifiably expressed in the leading political documents of the founding era: the Declaration of Independence, which Thomas Jefferson said was an “expression of the American mind,” and in the revolutionary state constitutions as well as the federal Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The classical liberalism of the founding era assumed that individual rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness are grounded in nature and that government’s primary responsibility is to protect those rights.
The anti-Americanism of the radical Left is well known and long established. Its most recent and most virulent incarnation comes in the form of the New York Times’s “1619 Project,” which claims that the founders’ principles and institutions were disingenuous in 1776 and immoral today.
Much more interesting than the ho-hum anti-Americanism of the progressive Left, though, is the rise in recent years of a rump faction of former Paleo or Tradcons, who have come out of their ideological closet and transitioned from pro- to anti-Americanism. The recent rise of the radical Right in America is distinguished from all previous forms of conservatism and libertarianism by its explicit rejection of the founders’ liberalism.
A new generation of neo-reactionary ideologues looks at contemporary America and sees nothing but moral, cultural, and political decay, which they blame on the soullessness of the founders’ Americanism. Remarkably, just like the radical Left, the radical Right condemns the philosophy of 18th-century liberalism as untrue and therefore immoral. It is the source, they claim, of all our present discontents.
Much has already been written on the 1619 Project, so I shall only briefly describe its arguments and goals in order to better focus on the aims and tactics of the reactionary Right.
Lastly, a word to the young—to those who have been let down or feel abandoned by the cowardice and unmanliness of Conservatism and Libertarianism, Inc.—know this: you have not been abandoned. There is a new generation of intellectuals willing to take up the cause of Americanism.
More to the point, you should know this as well: I will be, to quote William Lloyd Garrison, as “harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice” when it comes to defending the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The principles and institutions of the founders’ liberalism are worth defending because they are true. The reactionary Right is a dead end; it’s a dead end because it’s a lie. You should not let your despair turn you to the Dark Side. It’s time to come home.
As the realities of Obamacare continue to sink in, more and more people are getting letters from their health insurance providers telling them that their plans no longer comply with federal requirements under Obamacare. We just brought you the story of “Trick Shot Titus” and his family facing significant increases in the cost of their health care plans.
Now, a community blogger on the far-left Daily Kos website has penned a blog post complaining that both he and his wife are facing a nearly 100 percent increase in their monthly premiums. He claims he is canceling his insurance and refuses to pay any “f***ing penalty.”
Blogger “Tirge Caps” explains:
My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don’t go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.
Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife’s rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.
I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any f***ing penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?
The blogger also notes he and his wife may qualify for some “government assistance,” but that it’s just “another hoop” to jump through to get assistance that he may or may not be eligible for…
…Conversely, the right believes that, “Man is flawed from Day One, and that there are no solutions, there are only trade-offs. And whatever you do to deal with man’s flaws, it creates another problem.”
“But you try to get the best trade-off you can get. And that’s all you can hope for.”
So when presented with leftist idealism as to how to fix the world, here is the first question to ask: “Compared to what?” The leftist idea is the solution, compared to what?
Look at the argument for government healthcare. ‘Government healthcare serves the poor.’ Compared to what? Strong arguments can be made that the poor are better off in terms of care and options under a free market system.
The second question Sowell presented is: “At what price?” What price will be paid for the leftist ideal to be implemented? This leads to the discussion of if it is worth it or not … or even realistic.
For this example, consider the argument for open borders. Strong arguments based on “at what price” can be made against having open borders. There are financial costs, national security costs, personal safety costs, national identity costs, functional government costs, national economy costs, job costs, and many more.
The “feel good” concept of no borders is nothing more than a “feel good” concept. It cannot withstand close scrutiny in terms of cost and practical implementation.
The final question is: “What hard evidence do you have?” This one is a doozy, since so much virtue signalling and “feel good” ideology is part and parcel of leftist ideology.
Oftentimes, even when “evidence” is presented, it is not authoritative, hard evidence. It is opinion or cherry-picked, out-of-context, questionable or even debunked in its “facts” and sourcing.
This presents a prime opportunity to then show hard evidence for the right’s argument. It may require time and patience, but if you have a willing audience, it can be well worth the investment to lead the way to why conservatives believe their answers are better.
Sowell noted that conservative arguments tend to be able to pass all three questions because “they don’t assume there is a solution out there.”…