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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lebens Unwertes Leben

“Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression." — James Madison

The phrase "life unworthy of life" (in German: "Lebensunwertes Leben") was a Nazi designation for the segments of populace which had no right to live and thus were to be "euthanized". The term included people with serious medical problems and those considered grossly inferior according to racial policy of the Third Reich. This concept formed an important component of the ideology of Nazism and eventually helped lead to the Holocaust.

This Nazi policy was the off shot of the Eugenics Movement. At its peak of popularity eugenics was supported by a wide variety of prominent people, including Winston Churchill, Margaret Sanger, Marie Stopes, H. G. Wells, Theodore Roosevelt, George Bernard Shaw, John Maynard Keynes, John Harvey Kellogg, Linus Pauling, and Sidney Webb Many members of the American Progressive Movement supported eugenics, seduced by its scientific trappings and its promise of a quick end to social ills. Its most infamous proponent and practitioner was, however, Adolf Hitler who praised and incorporated eugenic ideas in Mein Kampf and emulated Eugenic legislation for the sterilization of "defectives" that had been pioneered in the United States.

Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities, and received funding from many sources. One of the leading schools in the United States was the University of Indiana. Three International Eugenics Conferences presented a global venue for eugenicists with meetings in 1912 in London, and in 1921 and 1932 in New York. Eugenic policies were first implemented in the early 1900s in the United States. Later, in the 1920s and 30s, the eugenic policy of sterilizing certain mental patients was implemented in a variety of other countries, including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, and Sweden, among others. The scientific reputation of eugenics started to decline in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rüdin used eugenics as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany, and when proponents of eugenics among scientists and thinkers prompted a backlash in the public. Nevertheless, in Sweden the eugenics program continued until 1975.

Since the postwar period, both the public and the scientific communities have associated eugenics with Nazi abuses, such as enforced racial hygiene, human experimentation, and the extermination of "undesired" population groups. However, developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century have raised many new questions and concerns about what exactly constitutes the meaning of eugenics and what its ethical and moral status is in the modern era. [Source: Wikipedia]

Eugenicists advocate specific policies that (if successful) they believe will lead to a perceived improvement of the human gene pool. Since defining what improvements are desired or beneficial is perceived by many as a cultural choice rather than a matter that can be determined objectively (e.g., by empirical, scientific inquiry), eugenics has often been deemed a pseudoscience. The most disputed aspect of eugenics has been the definition of "improvement" of the human gene pool, such as what is a beneficial characteristic and what is a defect. This aspect of eugenics has historically been tainted with scientific racism.

Early eugenicists were mostly concerned with perceived intelligence factors that often correlated strongly with social class. Many eugenicists took inspiration from the selective breeding of animals (where purebreds are often strived for) as their analogy for improving human society. The mixing of races (or miscegenation) was usually considered as something to be avoided in the name of racial purity. At the time this concept appeared to have some scientific support, and it remained a contentious issue until the advanced development of genetics led to a scientific consensus that the division of the human species into unequal races is unjustifiable. This was one of the theories advanced by Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood

Eugenics has also been concerned with the elimination of hereditary diseases such as hemophilia and Huntington's disease. However, there are several problems with labeling certain factors as genetic defects. In many cases there is no scientific consensus on what a genetic defect is. It is often argued that this is more a matter of social or individual choice. What appears to be a genetic defect in one context or environment may not be so in another. This can be the case for genes with a heterozygote advantage, such as sickle-cell disease or Tay-Sachs disease, which in their heterozygote form may offer an advantage against, respectively, malaria and tuberculosis. Although some birth defects are uniformly lethal, disabled persons can succeed in life. Many of the conditions early eugenicists identified as inheritable (pellagra is one such example) are currently considered to be at least partially, if not wholly, attributed to environmental conditions. Similar concerns have been raised when a prenatal diagnosis of a congenital disorder leads to abortion.

After the end of the Second World War and details of the Holocoust and the Nazi policies of extermination became well known promoters of Eugenics became less and less.

Today with the constant push for abortion we have entered a new era where Eugenics for financial or social reasons is gaining open support.

Two ethicists working with Australian universities argue in the latest online edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics that if abortion of a fetus is allowable, so to should be the termination of a newborn.

Alberto Giubilini with Monash University in Melbourne and Francesca Minerva at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne write that in “circumstances occurring after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”

The two are quick to note that they prefer the term “after-birth abortion“ asNewborn-620x407 opposed to ”infanticide.” Why? Because it “emphasizes that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child.” The authors also do not agree with the term euthanasia for this practice as the best interest of the person who would be killed is not necessarily the primary reason his or her life is being terminated. In other words, it may be in the parents’ best interest to terminate the life, not the newborns. (Note the change in language from infanticide to after-birth abortion)

The circumstances, the authors state, where after-birth abortion should be considered acceptable include instances where the newborn would be putting the well-being of the family at risk, even if it had the potential for an “acceptable” life. The authors cite Downs Syndrome as an example, stating that while the quality of life of individuals with Downs is often reported as happy, “such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.”

This means a newborn whose family (or society) that could be socially, economically or psychologically burdened or damaged by the newborn should have the ability to seek out an after-birth abortion. They state that after-birth abortions are not preferable over early-term abortions of fetuses but should circumstances change with the family or the fetus in the womb, then they advocate that this option should be made available. In essence “Lebensunwertes Leben

The authors go on to state that the moral status of a newborn is equivalent to a fetus in that it cannot be considered a person in the “morally relevant sense.” On this point, the authors write:

Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.


Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal.”

The authors go on to state:

The authors go on to state that the moral status of a newborn is equivalent to a fetus in that it cannot be considered a person in the “morally relevant sense.” On this point, the authors write:

“Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.


Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal”

Giubilini and Minerva believe that being able to understand the value of a different situation, which often depends on mental development, determines personhood. For example, being able to tell the difference between an undesirable situation and a desirable one. They note that fetuses and newborns are “potential persons.” The authors do acknowledge that a mother, who they cite as an example of a true person, can attribute “subjective” moral rights to the fetus or newborn, but they state this is only a projected moral status.

The authors counter the argument that these “potential persons” have the right to reach that potential by stating it is “over-ridden by the interests of actual people (parents, family, and society) to pursue their own well-being because, as we have just argued, merely potential people cannot be harmed by not being brought into existence.”

And what about adoption? Giubilini and Minerva write that, as for the mother putting the child up for adoption, her emotional state should be considered as a trumping right. For instance, if she were to “suffer psychological distress” from giving up her child to someone else — they state that natural mothers can dream their child will return to them — then after-birth abortion should be considered an allowable alternative.

The authors do not tackle the issue of what age an infant would be considered a person.

The National Catholic Register thinks that these authors are right — once you accept their ideas on personhood. The Register states that the argument made by the ethicists is almost pro-life in that it “highlights the absurdity of the pro-abortion argument”:

“The second we allow ourselves to become the arbiters of who is human and who isn’t, this is the calamitous yet inevitable end. Once you say all human life is not sacred, the rest is just drawing random lines in the sand.”

First Things, a publication of the The Institute on Religion and Public Life, notes that while this article doesn’t mean the law could — or would — allow after-birth abortions in future medical procedures, arguments such as “the right to dehydrate the persistently unconscious” began in much the same way in bioethics journals.

The editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics today defended his decision to publish an article in which two ethicists advocated “after-birth abortion.” What was truly surprising about the article, editor Julian Savulescu writes, is not that the authors find infanticide morally permissible — but, rather, that opponents to infanticide would react to the article with vehemence. From Savulescu’s defense:

“What is disturbing is not the arguments in this paper nor its publication in an ethics journal. It is the hostile, abusive, threatening responses that it has elicited. More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.

What the response to this article reveals, through the microscope of the web, is the deep disorder of the modern world. Not that people would give arguments in favour of infanticide, but the deep opposition that exists now to liberal values and fanatical opposition to any kind of reasoned engagement.”

Note his reference to a “liberal society.” Savulescu might have a point that some of the responses to the article crossed the line. Of those he quoted, a couple were overtly racist and at least one was an outright death threat to anyone who would willingly perform an “after-birth abortion.” But that he doesn’t see the arguments forwarded by the authors as evidence of “the deep disorder of the modern world” is far more disturbing than comments thoughtlessly dashed off by justifiably outraged opponents of infanticide.

Sir Thomas More wrote in his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean where the people lived in a utopian society. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an ideal society, and fictional societies portrayed in literature. More described Utopia as being a place where masterminds made all of the decisions and where the old and infirm were urged to commit secede as their lives no longer had a value to the community and were a drain on the community’s resources. The masterminds also allowed a limited number of children in order to control the population so they could maintain the quality of life on the island.

Once upon a time, abortion advocates would accuse pro-lifers of “slippery slope logic” when those pro-lifers suggested it was only a matter of time before someone would use the abortion advocates’ arguments to defend infanticide. According to Savulescu, that began to happen a long time ago — and it continues to happen today. Turns out, it is a slippery slope, after all. If humans don’t have a right to life from the moment of conception, when does the right to life kick in? The moment a human becomes a person? When is that? Who determines when? The standard becomes movable — and, consequently, impossible to uphold.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Will The Rising Price Of Gas Sink Obama?

"Excessive taxation will carry reason and reflection to every man's door, and particularly in the hour of election." — Thomas Jefferson

"With the average price of a gallon of gasoline rising 40 cents just last week, President Obama attacked Republicans [Thursday], trying to distract voters from his own failed energy policy. 'The American people aren't stupid,' Obama said. 'You know there are no quick fixes to this problem.' Obama has been in office for three years now. There is plenty the federal government can do to lower gas prices in three years. Problem is, everything Obama has done on energy has been designed to increase Americans' pain at the pump. Yes, oil and gas production is up in the United States. But this is happening in spite of Obama, not because of him. It is being driven entirely by increased production on state and private lands, areas where Obama has little power to shut down production. The reality is that Obama's goal has always been higher gas prices. His Energy Secretary Steven Chu famously told The Wall Street Journal in 2008, 'Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.' And when Obama was asked by CNBC's John Harwood that same year if high gas prices actually 'helped' the United States, Obama said, 'I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment.' Americans aren't stupid. They remember Obama's words. They know that the only real regret Obama has about high gas prices is that he may get blamed for them at the ballot box." — Washington Examiner's Conn Carroll

President Barack Obama says there is no easy answer to the problem of rising energy prices, dismissing Republican plans to address the problem as little more than gimmicks. “We know there’s no silver bullet that will bring down gas prices or reduce our dependence on foreign oil overnight,” Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. Obama said Republicans have one answer to the oil pinch: Drill. “You know that’s not a plan, especially since we’re already drilling,” Obama said, echoing his remarks earlier in the week. “It’s a bumper sticker.”

Speaking of bumper stickers, remember “Yes We Can”, Mr. President? No one understands the concept better than the oil and gas industry. The main thing holding domestic energy companies back from making a stronger commitment to future domestic supplies is uncertainty. Capital hates uncertainty, avoids it like the plague. Your rhetoric may appease your radical environmental base, but it makes domestic energy producers hold back, fearful that you will punish their success, or that you will change the rules on them in the middle of the game.

Erasing uncertainty is the #1 thing you can do as a national leader if you truly desire to lower gasoline prices. Not only could it change the psychology of energy investing, there is still time for companies to change their 2012 investment plans.

Here is my humble 10-point plan: Things President Obama could (but won’t) do to reduce domestic gasoline prices by November 2012.

1. Commit to a strategic goal of North American energy security. That includes reasonable and responsible domestic drilling. That includes taking the lead on the Keystone XL Pipeline; we could find a way to make it happen while addressing the legitimate environmental concerns of Nebraskans. It includes a commitment to maintaining the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and opening ANWR.

2. Ditch the anti-industry, anti-capitalist rhetoric. It is not the President’s or the government’s place to decide when an industry’s profitability is “high enough”. High oil company profits fund more drilling; more drilling means more future supply and lower prices. Besides, American oil companies are not owned by a cabal of wealthy executives, but by America’s pension funds, mutual funds and private investment accounts. “They” are “us”.

3. Stop targeting the oil industry for punitive tax treatment. States such as Texas and Louisiana have production tax abatement programs that have successfully encouraged new drilling. If you don’t believe that the threat of increased taxes discourages drilling, just ask Governor Perry or Governor Jindal.

4. Realize that Uncle Sam is in the energy business and is a partner in industry’s success. Oil and gas royalties are the federal government’s #2 source of revenue, after the income tax. Offshore slowdowns hurt not only industry and jobs, but government revenue.

5. Recognize that industry does not need to be led by government; industry needs to be unleashed and encouraged to innovate. The resurgence of the domestic energy sector was rooted in the private sector, not matter how much President Obama and Dr. Chu would like to take credit for it. The growth in North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas happened in spite of the federal government, not because of it.

6. Trust that no oil operator wants to be the “next BP”. The BP spill costthe-andy-griffith-show that company something on the order of $40 billion. Industry safety and environmental commitment is motivated more out of self-interest and less out of fear of the government. When it comes to federal regulation, the nation would be better served by Sheriff Taylor, not Barney Fife.

7. Return offshore permitting to the pre-Macondo pace. Your overreaction to the BP Spill has cost on the order of 500,000 barrels per day of domestic oil production from the Gulf of Mexico. The ridiculous “Worst Case Discharge” calculation as a routine part of offshore permitting is engineering malpractice, in my humble opinion. The professional staff of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is capable of reasoned regulation, but they currently operate in fear of their political masters.

8. Declare hydraulic fracturing & well design to be the regulatory domain of the states, not the EPA. Geology and environment vary widely; Pennsylvania is not Louisiana is not North Dakota is not California. It is insanity to think that one broadly-applied set of rules can be applied to regulate industry without suffocating development.

9. Rescind the recently-enacted royalty rate increase for new onshore Federal oil and gas leases. Secretary Salazar’s stated rationale for increasing the government’s take by a whopping 50% – from 12.5% to 18.75% of gross production – was to equate onshore royalties with the offshore royalty rate. That makes no sense. Higher royalties mean less drilling, poorer economics of production and premature abandonment of wells. Besides, an IHS-CERA Study recently showed that the federal government’s total take of offshore cash flows makes the Gulf of Mexico the second-most punitive fiscal regime in the world, after Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. In keeping with the First Rule of Holes, rolling back the royalty rate increase may be the first thing the government should do if it is serious about reducing energy prices.

10. Encourage development of a nationwide distribution system of natural gas as a transportation fuel. Natural gas is clean, abundant and nearly 100% domestic. Its potential as a transportation fuel has scarcely been tapped.

Bonus #11: Get real about the promise of alternative fuels. Recently you said: “You’ve got a bunch of algae out there; If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we’ll be doing alright.” Maybe so, but I will stick my neck out and say it ain’t gonna happen, at least not in my lifetime, not on a scale that will impact pump prices.

Let’s face it the industrialized world runs on petroleum. Fuel to power your SUV is not the only use of oil. There is petroleum in almost everything we use today — from aspirin to shoes and from clothing to road paving. Even my trash cans are made with petroleum. We use oil for almost everything.

Say we want to reduce our dependency on oil is nonsense. Yes, in time we may be able to find other viable sources of energy to power or transportation needs, but it won’t happen under government. Everything the government touches turns to crap — just look at Solyndra. As Herman Cain says, “how’s that working for you?”

As for Europe their gas prices are high due to the incredible amount of taxes they heap on the prices of a gallon or litter of gas. These taxes subsidize their “wonderful, cheap” public transportation and some of their social welfare programs. Do we want that? I don’t think so.

The radical environmentalists and progressive masterminds will tout public800px-Acela_old_saybrook_ct_summer2011 transportation. They will tell is to take the train, light rail or bus like the Europeans. This is another fantasy being promoted by uniformed people. Yesterday I was watching Fox News and saw Shepard Smith touting the ACELA Express Train from NYC to Washington, D.C. This is a train that travels a distance of 456 miles and carries 8,800 passengers per day. Wow, a real contribution to our transportation needs, and its operated by AMTRAK — a highly subsidized operation that lost $1.2 billion in 2010 and was deemed a failure by its founder.

Most private transportation companies have been forced to apply real world solutions in these difficult economic times, yet Amtrak rolls on, acting as if they were exempt from the problem.

An independent 2009 study of Amtrak’s operations and revenue offered some startling facts;

Forty-one of Amtrak’s 44 routes lost money in 2008 with losses ranging from nearly $5 to $462 per passenger depending upon the line, according to analysis by Pew’s Subsidyscope.

“The line with the highest per passenger subsidy—the Sunset Limited, which runs from New Orleans to Los Angeles—carried almost 72,000 passengers last year. The California Zephyr, which runs from Chicago to San Francisco, had the second-highest per passenger subsidy of $193 and carried nearly 353,000 passengers in 2008. Pew’s analysis indicates that the average loss per passenger on all 44 of Amtrak’s lines was $32, about four times what the loss would be using Amtrak’s figures: only $8 per passenger. (Amtrak uses a different method for calculating route performance).

The Northeast Corridor has the highest passenger volume of any Amtrak route, carrying nearly 10.9 million people in 2008. The corridor’s high-speed Acela Express made a profit of about $41 per passenger. But the more heavily utilized Northeast Regional, with more than twice as many riders as the Acela, lost almost $5 per passenger.”

According to the Pew report, only 3 of Amtrak’s 44 lines are making any money. That statement alone might inspire the CEO of the failing rail service to consider cuts and changes. Of course, having more than 20,000 union employees (85% of those folks are covered by collective bargaining) makes it difficult to change anything that might cause a job to be lost, or a benefit diminished.

I have written several articles about the folly of high-speed rail and how it is a waste of the taxpayer’s money. With the exception of long-haul freight America is not a train nation. We use roads — local, regional and interstates for our transportation. We have developed our standard of living around these highways. We live in suburbs and rural areas where we need to get around in our cars and SUVs. We do not. Like the Europeans, live in densely packed urban areas. Germany’s 85 million people live in an area smaller that Montana. Also, why should the people in Montana, Wyoming and Utah pay for a losing rail operation to transport people from NYC to Washington, D.C. or San Francisco to Corcoran?

As for alternative energy we are a long way from a real technological breakthrough. Obama wants algae others want solar, wind or broccoli. Ethanol takes more energy to make than it saves and causes an increase in the price of our food. As for electric cars we need coal or oil to generate the electricity to charge the batteries that will run the car for two hundred miles. There is no free lunch in energy. We run on oil and that’s a fact!

Energy policy will be a President Obama’s key vulnerability in November. His goal has always been to encourage alternative fuels by raising conventional energy prices. Alternative energy may poll well, but the average voter who fills his tank with $4+ gas on the way to the ballot box will certainly “Hope for Change”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Political Correctness Is Killing Free Speech

If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." — Samuel Adams

Today the New York Times reported that an ESPN anchor was fired and another writer suspended for a so-called “racial” slur:

ESPN announced Sunday that it had fired one person and suspended another for using an ethnic slur last week in describing Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. It also said that it had discovered a third use of the offensive phrase, on Friday night.

The fired employee posted a headline on’s mobile Web site that used the phrase in a headline about Lin that appeared from 2:30 a.m. to 3:05 a.m. Saturday, after the Knicks’ loss to the New Orleans Hornets the night before. The phrase had two meanings, one of them an ethnic slur. The name of the employee was not released.

Max Bretos, an ESPN anchor, was suspended for 30 days for using the same phrase during an interview about Lin on ESPNews with Walt Frazier, the Knicks’ TV analyst for the MSG Network. Lin is of Chinese descent; his parents are Taiwanese.

Max Bretos, an ESPN anchor, was suspended for 30 days for using the same phrase during an interview about Lin on ESPNews with Walt Frazier, the Knicks’ TV analyst for the MSG Network. Lin is of Chinese descent; his parents are Taiwanese.

On Twitter, Bretos apologized and said, “My wife is Asian, would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community.”

ESPN apologized Saturday for the two incidents but noted Sunday that it had become aware that a commentator at ESPN Radio New York, which carries Knicks games, used the same phrase Friday after the Knicks-Hornets game. The commentator was Spero Dedes, the Knicks’ play-by-play voice, who is an employee of Madison Square Garden.”

The ESPN editor fired Sunday for using "chink in the armor" in a headline about Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin said the racial slur never crossed his mind — and he was devastated when he realized his mistake.

"This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny," Anthony Federico told the Daily News.

"I'm so sorry that I offended people. I'm so sorry if I offended Jeremy."

The headline — "Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin's 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets" — appeared on ESPN's mobile website at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday and was removed by 3:05 a.m.

We have been using phrases like “chink in the armor” for hundreds of years. It was used in the Middle Ages to describe a weak spot in a knight’s armor where an arrows or spear would be able to kill him. It had nothing to do with racial slurs or insults. Any racial connotation is in the mind of the beholder, not in the words of the speaker.

Of course Rosie O’Donnell’s comment about “slanted eyes” was considered funny. After all Ms. O’Donnell is lesbian lefty so that’s okay.

In another case at Gatwick Airport a cartoonist was detained for over an hour for a so-called racial comment about the clothes a Muslim woman was wearing.

The Daily Mail reports: David Jones, the creator of the popular, animated children’s character Fireman Sam, was recently accused of racism and held by Gatwick Airport (United Kingdom) security for an hour. The situation, which Jones calls an “Orwellian nightmare,” occurred after he commented about a Muslim‘s woman’s clothing.

After noticing how easily the woman, whose face was almost covered in itsarticle-2106631-06B8B96C000005DC-101_233x350 entirety (she was wearing a hijab), was able to get through the security process without showing her face, Jones, 67, commented, saying, “If I was wearing this scarf over my face, I wonder what would happen.” It was this statement — a short quip — that landed him in hot water.

Here’s how the situation unfolded: When Jones entered the metal detector, his artificial hip apparently set off the alarm. He was subsequently searched and, though nothing was found, a security guard notified him that he was being detained because he had made an offensive comment. Jones, of course, maintained that he had done nothing wrong.

Once he made it to the other side of the checkpoint, officials allegedly article-2106631-07B695F7000005DC-233_468x334accused him of racism. A Muslim security guard had purportedly overheard his comment and said that she was offended as a result. At this point, security staff, an airline administrator and a police officer spent the next hour trying to coerce Jones to apologize. He claims the group told him, “we now live in a different time and some things are not to be said.” What?

Although he has continued to defend himself against racist charges, in the end, he did admit that his comments “could” have been taken offensively and the incident was resolved. He was then able to rejoin his daughters, with whom he was traveling.

“What I said had nothing to do with the woman’s religion. It was the fact that her face was covered and she seemed to have passed through that part of the security process without showing it,” he claims. ”I was adamant I was not going to apologize because I had done nothing wrong.’

Jones, who believes his rights were trampled, is planning to lodge a complaint against the airport and against British Airways.

“Something like George Orwell’s 1984 now seems to have arrived in Gatwick airport. I feel my rights as an individual have been violated,” he explained. “What I underwent amounts to intimidation and detention. I am not opposed to having this level of security but it must be equal for all.”

A Gatwick Airport spokesman admitted that a woman who works in security was offended by Jones’ comments and that the “security team is looking at what happened to ensure the incident was handled in the right way.”

On June 6, 1989 I was arriving at Heathrow Airport on a flight from Frankfurt. When I arrived at passport control I had to get in a line with about 200 people from various third-world counties like Uzbekistan, mostly Muslim. I looked over to my right and the rest of the passengers from my Lufthansa flight were buzzing through the area reserved exclusively for EU passengers. Suffice it to say I was getting very frustrated. After about 45 minutes I arrived at the passport station and presented my passport to a young lady who was manning the station. After flipping through my passport she asked what the purpose of my visit was and I replied “business.” She asked what the business was and I replied “a visit to a UK firm I was doing business with in Wales.” She then stamped my passport and said I was good to go.

This was not enough for me. I asked her if I could ask a question. She smiled and replied yes. I then asked her why I, and American whose uncle had landed 44 years ago to the date on Utah Beach during the invasion of France to liberate Europe from the Nazis, was forces to go through the line with all of these third-world people with documentation problems while the folks who were killing them with bombs and V2 rockets were breezing through with no problems.” She looked at me for a moment and offered a serious apology stating she did not agree with this policy, buy it was the law. I told her I did not blame her, but the policy was a bit skewed and went on my way. I am sure she told her supervisor of the incident. What would happen to me today if I said the same thing?

In yet another recent example of the stifling of free speech by the progressive left was the firing of the conservative writer and commentator Patrick Buchanan by MSNBC.

Cliff Kincaid writes in Liberty Extra:

Patrick J. Buchanan, who has been a major figure in the conservative movement for over 40 years, was fired from MSNBC after the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) concluded in Washington, D.C. Buchanan was not a featured speaker at CPAC, but his former colleague, Joe Scarborough, was. Scarborough, the co-host of a little-watched MSNBC program “Morning Joe,” is a former Republican congressman who pleases the liberals by making sure he doesn’t sound too conservative on the air. He takes shots at conservatives to make himself more palatable to the left.

Buchanan seems to be considered anathema by some newcomers to the conservative movement, mostly because of his criticism of America’s foreign wars and pro-Israel foreign policy under George W. Bush. One can criticize those stands and his occasional use of inappropriate language on sensitive issues while acknowledging Buchanan’s stature and place in the conservative movement.

An editorial writer at a young age who was trained in journalism, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of U.S. politics. He has written a number of books, some more controversial than others, as a look at the top of his website will attest. He crossed into government service by working for Republican Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan and later ran for president himself. At Reagan’s service, Buchanan was a fierce advocate for freedom against communism.

I first met Buchanan while working for Accuracy in Media. AIM founder Reed Irvine admired and respected Buchanan. This was the norm among conservatives who recognized Buchanan as a fighter against liberals in the media and elsewhere. Buchanan asked me to write an article for his newsletter, “Patrick J. Buchanan From the Right,” about the rise of conservative talk radio. I had hosted a radio show in the early 1990s.

While Buchanan was in the Reagan White House as communications director in the 1980s, I had the opportunity to fill in as the conservative co-host of a then-popular CNN program, “Crossfire.” Buchanan had been the conservative co-host and Tom Braden was the liberal co-host. The “crossfire” aspect also included the fact that there were conservative and liberal guests who sat in the middle, getting questions from both sides. I joked that the slogan of the program was, “Don’t talk while I’m interrupting.” I got into trouble with the producers when I asked the Ambassador from Libya to “please shut up” after he insisted at length that Libya was not involved in international terrorism. Nevertheless, the show had a lot of educational value and was great fun. It was advocacy journalism at its best.

The days of “Crossfire” are gone. The show was cancelled and a true “crossfire” on the issues is not permitted any more by some important media organizations which cower in fear when attacked by the left. It is significant that Buchanan has been forced off the air essentially by the same left-wing forces that previously claimed the scalp of Glenn Beck, who departed from Fox News because of his scrutiny of anti-American hedge fund billionaire George Soros. In both cases, the Soros-funded Media Matters and the Van Jones-founded Color of Change played roles in their ouster.

On his Politico blog, Scarborough issued a joint statement with Brzezinski: “Everyone at Morning Joe considers Pat Buchanan to be a friend and a member of the family. Even though we strongly disagree with the contents of Pat's latest book, Mika and I believe those differences should have been debated in public. An open dialogue with Morning Joe regulars like Al Sharpton and Harold Ford, Jr. could have developed into an important debate on the future of race relations in America. Because we believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant, Mika and I strongly disagree with this outcome. We understand that the parting was amicable. Still, we will miss Pat.”

Amicable? I see no evidence of that. Buchanan told Sean Hannity on his Fox News program that he had been the victim of an un-American blacklisting for his views on racial matters, as expressed in his new book, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?

It is significant that black agitator Al Sharpton, who made false racial allegations against white police officers in the notorious Tawana Brawley case, continues on the air on MSNBC while Buchanan has been let go. This has everything to do with the fact that Sharpton, a “Morning Joe” regular, is a loyal stooge of Obama and a faithful Democrat. It seems he will remain a member of the MSNBC “family” no matter what he says or does.

But to speak up for the interests of what Buchanan would call European-Americans, in terms of defending the Christian foundations of the U.S., is a grievous sin to the liberals. This is what the blacklisting of Buchanan really means. It is telling that Scarborough apparently felt compelled to denounce Buchanan’s views while lamenting his leaving the MSNBC “family.”

Another difference is that the buffoonish Sharpton has the intellectual depth of a saucer, while Buchanan has a deep knowledge of history. Buchanan has the intellectual ammunition to argue and win his arguments. Taking Buchanan to task for some of his comments should not mean conservatives have to fall into the trap of reading him out of the media and the conservative movement.”

On the other side of the spectrum are the left-wing protestors who can say anything they want with impunity. A report posted on The Blaze states:

“On Valentine’s Day, according to, the union teachers decided to make their grievance personal by protesting in front of the Delsea school board president’s home.

Unfortunately, the school board president was not home—but his children were, including his daughter whose teachers were among those protesting outside her home.

While the group of teachers, support staff and aides – who have been in contract negotiations since 2010 – were demonstrating within the boundaries of the law, school board members are “appalled and disgusted” with the union’s call to picket in front of Mario Christina’s home while his children were present.

Christina, who had no comment following the incident, was not home when the picket line assembled outside his Chew Avenue residence. His daughter, whose Delsea teachers were among the crowd, was home at the time.

The leader of the union protesters, Union President Christine Onorato (who also teaches children at Delsea ), appears to be unapologetic about protesting in front of a student’s home.

“It was a simple expression of our democratic right to express our discontent of not having a contract,” she said. “This was something our membership expressed, and our negotiating team said … we are going to do it.”

Apparently, this teacher’s union thug finds targeting individuals at their personal residence a legitimate tool in the union arsenal—even if inside the home are students of the very teachers protesting outside.

To someone like Onorato, the student(s) inside the home she and her union thugs were protesting are mere collateral damage.”

I could site many more examples of this double standard of “free speech” imposed by the left, but I am sure you can find them by browsing the news. So how did all this political correctness nonsense get started and what is the purpose behind it?

The late Charlton Heston once said, "Political correctness is tyranny with manners” and he was right on target

The rationale of political correctness (PC) is to prevent supposed minorities from being offended (the manners) — to compel people (the tyranny) to avoid using words or behavior that may upset Muslims, homosexuals, women, non-whites, the crippled, the stupid, the fat, the ugly, or any other minority or special interest group identified by those who define PC. Its primary method is the redefinition or replacement of words and behavior in order to avoid offense, to be sensitive to the feelings of minorities and special interest groups.

Before we can examine PC and its effect on politics, we must first understand PC's origin and purpose.

The concept of PC was developed at the Institute for Social Research, in Frankfurt, Germany, in the early 1920s otherwise known as the Frankfurt School. The institute considered why communism in Russia was not spreading westward. The conclusion was that Western civilization, with its belief that the individual could develop valid ideas, was the problem. At the root of communism was the theory that all valid ideas came from the state, that the individual is nothing. The institute believed that the only way for communism to advance and spread was to help Western civilization destroy itself, or else force it to.

The Institute was founded in Frankfurt am Main in 1923, where it was (and as of 2005 once again is) affiliated with the University of Frankfurt am Main. It was founded by Felix Weil, a student of the Marxian philosopher Karl Korsch, with an endowment provided by Weil's wealthy father. Its first director, Kurt Albert Gerlach, died before making his mark, and was swiftly followed by Carl Grünberg, a Marxist historian who gathered together fellow "orthodox" Marxists at the Institute, including his former pupil Henryk Grossman. Grünberg was followed by co-founder Friedrich Pollock.

Following a non-fatal heart attack, Grünberg was succeeded in 1930 by Max Horkheimer. Horkheimer rapidly became the guiding spirit of the Frankfurt School, a group of thinkers that was born under his directorship at the Institut. Horkheimer edited the group's journal Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung (Journal for Social Research) and wrote essays defining a critical theory of society. [Source: Wikipedia]

Click here to read my April 17, 2011 post about “The Toxic Effect of Cultural Marxism in Our Schools “

The institute said that by undercutting Western civilization's foundations by weakening the rights of individuals through the change of speech and thought patterns, by spreading the idea that vocalizing beliefs was disrespectful to others and had to be avoided to make up for past inequities and injustice, Western civilization could be destroyed. The institute wanted to call its method something that sounded positive — thus "political correctness."

Another communist, Chairman Mao Zedong, in China in the 1930s, wrote an article on the "correct" handling of contradictions among the Chinese people, thus giving us the PC concept of "sensitivity training."

Today we can add socialism to communism. Does the addition of that economic philosophy alter the original intent of PC in any way?

Here are two specific examples of PC and of not being sensitive.

First, a famous PC incident occurred in Washington, D.C. in 1999. David Howard, a white aide to Anthony A. Williams, the black mayor of Washington, D.C., correctly used the word "niggardly" in reference to a particularly small budget item. This reference upset one of his black colleagues, who interpreted it as a racial slur and lodged a complaint. The use of the word "niggardly" was not PC due to its phonetic similarity to the racial slur "nigger," despite the fact that the two words are etymologically unrelated. Howard was not "sensitive" or PC. He actually resigned his job, but was reinstated after a national outcry over the conflation of unrelated terms.

The cited incident (and others like it) raise the question, "Are we now to abandon the use of certain useful words in the English language in the name of sensitivity and PC?"

We can now examine how PC specifically affects politics.

PC particularly serves mediocre politicians and the bureaucrats they appoint. It is used to hold on to jobs, silencing critics and threatening anyone who questions their abilities. If the offended party can strike back with accusation of racism, discrimination, prejudice, and hatred, then PC has done its job. PC is a way of covering up incompetence and corruption. It has worked well in the U.S. for decades: attack the accuser. Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP, wrote, "Let me tell you something about political correctness: when politicians start overdoing it with PC, rest assured they're either hopeless at what they do or have screwed everything up big time."

The current uproar about the Health and Human Services (HHS) edict on birth control is a good example of the PC problem. The HHS edict said it wanted to expand "health care preventive services." But that PC phrase included some services that were contrary to the First-Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion. PC tends to eliminate any possibility of the discussion of the rightness and wrongness of a particular action through the restraint of free speech.

As a final example of PC run amok, consider this: Why have "swamps" been replaced by "wetlands"? Why have "rainforests" replaced "jungles"? Are they not the same things? A government that wants to spend taxpayer money on conservation needs to avoid the negative connotations involving parasites and disease, so it redefines/replaces words in order to be more PC. The preservation of wetlands is a much more noble cause than preserving a mosquito-infested swamp.

Let’s look a few other words that political correctness has changed in our lexicon. Government spending is now “investment; abortion is called “choice”, an act of terrorisms by a Muslim on a U.S. Army base is called “workplace violence, male homosexuals are called “gay”, and wealth redistribution is called “equality.”

The continuing necessity for PC and sensitivity indicates that the ideal of societal equality (as defined by the PC-definers) has not yet been realized.

Where, ultimately, can PC take us? One forecast was published in 1949 by George Orwell. In his book 1984, Orwell, characterizing "newspeak," wrote, "The destruction of words is a beautiful thing." Big Brother, the personification of the power of the state, through newspeak "simplified" words (gave them definitions he determined) to better control society. With the simplification of words, the younger generations knew only Big Brother's version of reality. Is PC today's newspeak? Yes!

For over 90 years the left, communists, socialist, progressives, and environmentalists have been changing the lexicon of our language to suit their world view. They believe that by controlling the language they can change the world to their liking. They are the masterminds.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A College That Teaches Liberty, Not Liberalism

“What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” — James Madison in Federalist 51.

Higher education in the United States has become nearly synonymous with liberalism. Many conservative parents likely cringe when they imagine the mind-bending lectures that their young, knowledge-hungry, first-year college students will be subjected to upon arrival at university. Luckily, there is an antithesis to the trend.

The words college and conservative are not often used in the same context. The first years of college are considered by a great number of individuals as a time for self-exploration and pushing the limits — and rightly so. Unfortunately for many students, self-exploration is hampered by the constant barrage of liberal indoctrination that some educators consider knowledge and pushing the limits is encouraged only when the limits involve self-destructive personal behaviors. One small liberal arts college located on 200 acres in southern rural Michigan, though, has been rejecting regressive modern trends in higher education since its founding in 1844.

Hillsdale College is an independent, coeducational, residential, liberal arts college with a student body of about 1,400. Students who are accepted to the selective school embark on a four-year journey of learning that leads them to a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of sciences degree. Perhaps more important than the resultant degree Hillsdale students receive from the accredited institution, though, is the path the college’s educators take to bring them to the degree.

In the 1970s, the college made certain that liberal indoctrination on behalf of the status-quo Federal bureaucracy would never creep into its halls. The Department of Health, Education and Welfare set out to interfere with Hillsdale admissions policy during that period on the pretext that the school received Federal money in the form of student loans and financial aid. The Federal agency demanded that the college adopt an affirmative action admissions policy despite the fact that it was the first American college to prohibit in its charter any discrimination based on race, religion or sex, and became an early force for the abolition of slavery. It was also the second college in the Nation to grant four-year liberal arts degrees to women. Because the government’s unconstitutional mandate would make the college subject its admission roster to levels of discrimination that it had never before practiced, Hillsdale’s trustees responded with two resolutions:

  • The College would continue its policy of non-discrimination.
  • “With the help of God,” it would “resist, by all legal means, any encroachments on its independence.”

A decade of litigation ensued; and in 1984, the Supreme Court ruled against Hillsdale, saying it was indeed subject to bureaucratic, unconstitutional mandates. The college announced that rather than comply with unconstitutional Federal regulation, it would no longer accept Federal taxpayer money to pay student tuition. In 2007, the school also rejected any tuition assistance funded by the State of Michigan, instead opting to aid students who need financial help with private contributions.

Hillsdale has taught a Constitution course to its students since the college opened its doors in 1844 as a part of a core curriculum that takes up about half of each student’s four-year learning journey. Because the college’s administration believes that the United States has reached a point in its history when the Constitutional foundation of the Nation will either be decimated completely by Federal bureaucracy or renewed by the populace, it offers the course online to anyone who signs up here.

“Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution” is a 10-week online course presented by Hillsdale College.

An expanded format from the “Introduction to the Constitution” lecture series with Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn, Constitution 101 follows closely the one-semester course required of all Hillsdale College undergraduate students.

In this course, you can:

  • Watch lectures from the same Hillsdale faculty who teach on campus;
  • Study the same readings taught in the College course;
  • Submit questions for weekly Q&A sessions with the faculty;
  • Access a course study guide;
  • Test your knowledge through weekly quizzes; and
  • Upon completion of the course, receive a certificate from Hillsdale College

This course is offered free, but you are encouraged to donate at least $50 dollars for the course. What you say, $50 bucks for a free course? Well, in my humble opinion, $50 dollars is a very small price to pay for an on-line college level course on our founding documents. Both Mark Levine and Sean Hannity have endorsed this college and the course. I have looked into the course and will be signing up.

Hillsdale College does not merely offer a liberal arts degree, but also offers degrees in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, business, finance, education, economics, pre-medicine, and pre-engineering. This allows students to graduate with a BS degree and skills that allow them to go on to productive jobs in the professions. You will not find Hillsdale graduates hanging around the Occupy crowd with their useless educations in women’s studies, western civilization, African-American studies, or museum science. For a more complete listing of majors and programs click here.

As an example here is the published curriculum for a student wishing to pursue a course in engineering, something close to my heart:

“During the freshman and sophomore years, students should take: University Physics (Physics 201, 202 and 203), 15 hours; Mathematics (120 (or 113), 220, 320 and 340), 14-15 hours; Chemistry (101), four hours; Freshman Rhetoric and the Great Books (English 101 and 102), six hours; humanities, nine hours; social science (including economics) nine hours, Computer Programming (C), six hours; speech, three hours. The above curriculum should be a strong basis for entry into any engineering program but should be adjusted to reflect specific requirements for the chosen area of study at the engineering school of choice. Some engineering fields require additional chemistry courses. Chemical engineering students would replace Physics 203 with Chemistry 102. Students wishing to receive a degree from Hillsdale under one of the programs described above should add the College core requirements.”

Physics at Hillsdale College is a rigorous program designed to prepare students for a wide variety of careers in all areas of science and engineering. Students study everything from the basic laws of nature to the behavior of subatomic particles; they also develop important problem-solving and analytical abilities along with essential qualitative and quantitative skills. Since the knowledge and skills obtained from the study of physics are a fundamental part of a liberal arts education, students of all majors participate in physics classes.

While a large number of students take physics, only a very small group of students major in it each year. This creates a program rich in hands-on experimentation and personal attention. Ask any physics major and the first thing you are likely to hear is that the teachers are exceptionally passionate and involved. Each physics major must complete a senior thesis involving original research. Research is frequently done one-on-one with a chosen advisor, which allows students to tailor their research to their specific interests without sacrificing any access to equipment or resources.

As you can see from the examples shown above Hillsdale is much more than a liberal arts college. They prepare a student for good paying jobs in the professions. A student not only prepared to a physicist or economist, but also a student well-grounded in the basis of our civil society and our Republic.

In a recent interview with the college’s publication, Imprimis, Hillsdale President Larry P. Arnn discusses the importance of all Americans’ dedication to the values set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Of the Declaration he says:

“There are three incredible things to keep in mind about the Declaration. First, there had never been anything like it in history. It was believed widely that the only way to have political stability was to have some family appointed to rule. King George III went by the title “Majesty.” He was a nice and humble man compared to other kings; but still, when his son wanted to marry a noble of lower station, he was told he mustn’t do that, no matter what his heart said. That was the known world at the time of the American Founding.

Second, look at the end of the Declaration. Its signers were being hunted by British troops. General Gage had an order to find and detain them as traitors. And here they were putting their names on a revolutionary document and sending it to the King. Its last sentence reads: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” That is how people talk on a battlefield when they are ready to die for each other.

The third thing about the Declaration is even more extraordinary in light of the first two: It opens by speaking of universal principles. It does not portray the Founding era as unique—“When in the Course of human events” means any time—or portray the Founding generation as special or grand—“it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another” means any people. The Declaration is thus an act of obedience—an act of obedience to a law that persists beyond the English law and beyond any law that the Founders themselves might make. It is an act of obedience to the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” and to certain self-evident principles—above all the principle “that all men are created equal” with “certain unalienable Rights.”

For the signers to be placing their lives at risk, and to be doing so while overturning a way of organizing society that had dominated for two thousand years, and yet for them to begin the Declaration in such a humble way, is very grand.”

Here is what Dr. Arnn had to say about the Constitution

“As for the Constitution, first, it is important to realize that some of the most influential modern historians suggest that it represents a break with the Declaration—that it represents a sort of second founding. If this were true, it would mean that the Founders changed their minds about the principles in the Declaration, and that in following their example we could change our minds as well. But in fact it is not true that the Constitution broke with the Declaration. It is false on its face.

The Constitution contains three fundamental arrangements: representation, which is the direct or indirect basis of the three branches of government described in the first three articles of the Constitution; separation of powers, as embodied in those three branches; and limited government, which is obvious in the Constitution’s doctrine of enumerated powers—there is a list of things that Congress can do in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, and the things that are not listed it may not do. And all three of these fundamental arrangements, far from representing a break with the Declaration, are commanded by it.”

When queried on his remarks about the Declaration and Constitution by the interviewer:

“I quote you again: “Woodrow Wilson and the founders of modern liberalism call these doctrines of limited government that appear in the Declaration and the Constitution obsolete. They argue that we now live in the age of progress and that government must be an engine of that progress.”

Wilson was dealing with conditions that the Founders could scarcely have imagined: industrialization, dense urban populations, and enormous waves of immigration. So what did he get wrong?”

Dr. Arnn responded:

“The first thing he got wrong was looking back on earlier America as a simple age. There was nothing simple about it. The Founders had to fight a war against the largest force on earth. They had to figure out how to found a government based on a set of principles that had never formed the basis of a government. The original Congress was called the Continental Congress, although no one would understand the extent of the continent until Lewis and Clark reported to President Jefferson in 1806. They had to figure out a way for the first free government in history to grow across that continent. These things took vast acts of imagination. And this is not even to mention the crisis of slavery and the Civil War. So the idea that the complications of the late 19th century were something new, or were greater by some order of magnitude, is bunkum.

The second mistake Wilson makes is fundamental, and goes to the core of the American idea. Wilson was opposed to the structure imposed on the government by the Constitution—for instance, the separation of powers—because it impedes what he calls progress.

In other words, human nature is such that human beings need to be governed. We need government if we are not to descend into anarchy. But since human beings will make up the government, government itself must be limited or it will become tyrannical. Just as we outside the government require to be governed, those inside the government require to be governed. And that has to be strictly arranged because those inside the government need, and they will have, a lot of power.

Against this way of thinking, Wilson argued that progress and evolution had brought human beings to a place and time where we didn’t have to worry about limited government. He rejected what the Founders identified as a fixed or unchanging human nature, and thought we should be governed by an elite class of people who are not subject to political forces or constitutional checks and balances—a class of people such as we find in our modern bureaucracy. This form of government would operate above politics, acting impartially in accordance with reason.

Now, it’s pretty easy for us today to judge whether Wilson or the Founders were right about this. Look at our government today. Is the bureaucracy politically impartial? Is it efficient and rational, as if staffed by angels? Or is it politically motivated and massively self-interested?”

Now this is something you would want to hear from a college president or professor, not the disrespect of the Deceleration and Constitution expressed by Obama, the so-called Constitutional expert and lecturer he is purported to be. As Obama stated,” the Constitution is a document of negative rights stating what government cannot do and not what government should do for the people. This reflects the ideology of a Hobbesian utopian mastermind expressed over and over by the progressive left.

The basis of Dr. Arrn’s argument is well detailed in Mark Levine’s book Ameritopia. It is the age old conflict between those who subscribe to the utopian philosophy of Plato, Moore, Hobbs, and Marx and that of Locke, de Montesquieu, and our Founders. In essence it’s the conflict between those who would be governed by the elite masterminds and those who would choose liberty.

Arnn contends that the Constitution is more important than ever by quoting James Madison in Federalist 51, “[W]hat is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”

The college President says Americans should take a look at the Federal government and ask themselves the following questions: Is the bureaucracy politically impartial? Is it efficient and rational, as if staffed by angels? Or is it politically motivated and massively self-interested?

No. No. Yes. That, Arnn contends, is why the Nation’s founding documents are as relevant today as they have ever been and should be studied and revered by all citizens of the United States.

I have been a subscriber to Imprimis for three years and find the articles interesting and informative. Of course they always have a conservative bent that I find refreshing as they offset the constant barrage of liberal clap-trap emanating from our “prestigious” Ivy League and state colleges and universities.

Imprimis is the free monthly speech digest of Hillsdale College and is dedicated to educating citizens and promoting civil and religious liberty by covering cultural, economic, political and educational issues of enduring significance. The content of Imprimis is drawn from speeches delivered to Hillsdale College-hosted events, both on-campus and off-campus. First published in 1972, Imprimis is one of the most widely circulated opinion publications in the nation with over two million subscribers. You can click here for your free subscription — I highly recommend it

At a time when the curricula of many colleges are chock full of liberal indoctrination — some are now even teaching classes in Occupy Wall Street, no joke — it should be refreshing to any conservative American to know that institutions like Hillsdale are still around. Anyone who may be worried that his children or grandchildren getting ready to send off college applications will end up wearing the blinders of liberal indoctrination may want to suggest Hillsdale College. The country can never have too few Constitutionally-minded citizens.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Arizona GOP Debate

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." — Frederic Bastiat

The debate was into the second hour, and Mitt Romney had just played the Arlen Specter card against Rick Santorum, blaming Santorum's 2004 endorsement of his fellow Pennsylvanian for the passage of ObamaCare in 2010. Santorum responded by playing the Dukakis card against Romney.

"Yes governor, you balanced the budget for four years," Santorum told Romney during the Arizona debate televised by CNN. "You have a constitutional requirement to balance the budget for four years. No great shakes. I'm all for -- I'd like to see it federally. But don't go around bragging about something you have to do. Michael Dukakis balanced the budget for 10 years. Does that make him qualified to be president of the United States? I don't think so."

This may have been the best line of the night in an otherwise dull and tedious debate. Not questions were asked about the rise in gas prices and what the candidates would do about them. Gingrich did, however, deviate from another question to espouse his energy policy. Also, there was no question on Fast and Furious, something of great interest to the voters in Arizona.

As highlights go, it wasn't spectacular, but Wednesday's debate — the 20th nationally televised meeting of Republican candidates during this long campaign — was generally lacking in highlights. There were no dramatic gaffes or stumbles, and few memorable zingers. While the commentators on CNN afterwards offered their own "what did it mean" analyses, it is unlikely that the debate changed many minds.

Newt Gingrich had arguably the best performance of the four finalists for the Republican nomination. CNN's moderator John King was booed when he asked a question submitted by a viewer online: "Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidate believes in birth control, and if not, why?" This prompted Gingrich to lecture that "not once in the 2008 campaign, not once did anybody in the elite media ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide. If we're going to have a debate about who the extremist is on these issues, it is President Obama who, as a state senator, voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived the abortion. It is not the Republicans." On this one I had to jump up and cheer for Newt, as the audience did. It seems as though I hear more things from Gingrich that I agree with that the other candidates and he is not bashful in attacking the left-wing media — something I like to hear.

The Republican audience in the Mesa Arts Center applauded, but the same "elite media" which ignored Obama's record four years ago are also unlikely to make much of Gingrich's strong debate performance. Gingrich thus did not "win" Wednesday's debate in the same sense that he won the two debates that preceded the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary. Nor did any of the candidates "lose" Wednesday in the same sense that Gingrich lost the two debates preceding the Jan. 31 Florida primary.

And then there was Ron Paul with his “broken record” stump speech on our13299776786238 countless wars and our monetary policy. You can see it Paul’s face and body language that he is passionate on these issues, but to me he comes across as a mean and intolerant person — a typical committed Libertarian. His long-winded speeches on the Federal Reserve and our monetary policy, while important to the future of the Republic, leave the viewer flat. While agreeing that we need to change our monetary policies, Paul never explains in simple language what steps he would take, especially with a divided Congress.

One answer Paul gave, however, made sense when the topic of education came up. Paul said that there was no warrant in the Constitution for the federal government to be involved in education and there was language in the Constitution prohibiting the state for doing so. On this one he was right on target.

After Wednesday's debate, CNN commentators tried to make the case that, because Santorum was not the clear winner, therefore Romney "won." However, Santorum was all smiles in his post-debate interview with the network's Gloria Borger, evidently feeling that, by not losing, he had scored a victory. It was Santorum's first debate since he moved to the top of national polls following his Feb. 7 triple victories in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. According to the well-established precedent of this campaign cycle, whenever any non-Romney GOP candidate eclipses the former Massachusetts governor in the polls, he either stumbles in debates (Rick Perry), is devastated by scandal (Herman Cain) or is buried in attack ads by Romney, which was the fate suffered twice by Gingrich, first in Iowa and then again in Florida. Santorum committed no Perryesque gaffes in Wednesday's debate and seems unlikely to suffer a Cain-like scandal, which probably means that the Republican campaign from here out will be shaped less by TV debates than by TV advertising. And to secure the money necessary to fight Romney's well-funded campaign in the ad wars, Santorum will be in Texas today for three fund-raising events before returning to the campaign trail Friday in Michigan, scene of next Tuesday's closely-watched primary.

Santorum’s biggest problem is his record in the Congress. His answer on his vote on No Child Left Behind as “taking one for the team” did not go over well with the audience or me. He claimed that while against the NCLB act in principle he voted for it to support President Bush. If he was against it why did he vote for it?

Last night's anti-climactic debate may, in fact, be the last GOP debate of the 2012 campaign. A scheduled March 1 debate in Atlanta was canceled after Romney pulled out. Another debate is scheduled March 19 in Portland, Oregon., but Romney has not yet agreed to participate in that event and would probably only do so if it suits the interests of his own campaign. If Romney can win Michigan and Arizona next Tuesday, and leverages that momentum to do well in the "Super Tuesday" primaries March 6, it is difficult to see why he would give his rivals another shot at him in a TV debate. If Romney should then go on to clinch the nomination, some cynics will look back on the long series of debates and wonder whether it was all just a charade, a stage-managed TV show designed to create an illusion of excitement on the way to the predictable coronation of the Republican establishment's favorite.

I hope this is the last debate. So far these debates have not done much except provide the Democrats sound bites in the fall. Of the four remaining candidates standing Romney has played his cards close to the vest and not generated too many negative sound bites, as Santorum has. Although Santorum leads among GOP voters in the polls (38% - 28% over Romney) he is behind in delegates.

As I wrote about in my blog on how the GOP can win in November it is not the national polls that matter, it’s the state by state polls that you have to look at. I still believe that Romney will have the best chance of beating Obama and we may have to accept that he will be the eventual nominee.

So far Romney has not said anything that has really turned me off. His so-called lack of passion and his perceived lack of debate skill in going against Obama may be legitimate concerns, but he has the fewest sound bites that can be used against him.

Ann Coulter writes in the Patriot Post in her column “What’s Their Problem With Romney:

I'm not sure what part of the Establishment supports Romney. Is it Romney supporter Christine O'Donnell, erstwhile tea party candidate for the U.S. Senate from Delaware? Am I the face of the Establishment? (If so, the country is going to be just fine.)

I would think that the pristine example of the Republican Establishment is Weekly Standard editor and Fox News contributor Bill Kristol. But he wants anybody but Romney, even proposing that we choose someone not running by means of a contested convention.

Who are we trying to get nominated in a contested convention, anyway?

Without having seen this mystery candidate in action, how do we know he won't be another Rick Perry? You'll recall that Perry was the dream candidate until we saw him talk.

In 2008, Romney was enthusiastically supported not only by Limbaugh and Levin, but also by Sean Hannity, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage and many others who now seem to view Romney as a closet liberal. This is especially baffling because there is no liberal candidate in the Republican primary this year.

Just four years ago, one Republican candidate for president was avowedly pro-abortion (Rudy Giuliani). One had opposed Clinton's impeachment and tort reform (Fred Thompson). One supported amnesty for illegals, restrictions on core First Amendment speech, federal laws to combat nonexistent global warming, and opposed Guantanamo and the Bush tax cuts ("tax cuts for the rich!") and called waterboarding "torture."

That last one was our nominee: John McCain.

This year, every Republican candidate for president opposes abortion, promises to repeal ObamaCare, opposes raising taxes, and on and on. Only one candidate is strong on illegal immigration, which is second only to repealing ObamaCare as the most important issue facing the nation.

That's the alleged liberal, Mitt Romney.”

I am not endorsing Romney, but I think he will be the eventual nominee. He has the backing and the money. He comes off as “presidential” and has high favorables among women and independents.

The most important issue facing this Republic is getting Obama and his Democrat radicals out of office. If Romney is the one to it so be.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Obama's Vision For America

"The mission of law is not to oppress persons and plunder them of their property, even though the law may be acting in a philanthropic spirit. Its mission is to protect property." — Frédéric Bastiat (The Law)

Sharon Jasper could be the poster child for Obama's re-election campaign. Ms. Jasper has lived on the dole 57 of her 58 years. She was moved out of the St. Bernard housing project after hurricane Katrina. Her current home is a voucher-backed apartment in a private residence. Speaking to a New Orleans Times-Picayune reporter, Jasper said, "it's pitiful what people give you."

Ms. Jasper, the key word is "give." We taxpayers do not owe you anything. How dare you whine and complain?

This ungrateful, arrogant, entitlement-minded woman called her apartment a "slum." Jasper allowed a photographer to tour her subsidized apartment. She complained about missing window screens, a slow leak in a sink, a warped back door, and a few other details of her residence. Otherwise, Jasper's apartment appeared to have been recently renovated.

Jasper's "slum" also featured hardwood floors and a 60-inch HD TV.

Regardless of the conditions, many former public housing residents avoidmedium_121907_housing1 privately owned apartments because they typically face utility and deposit expenses not charged in public housing.

Sharon Jasper, a former St. Bernard complex resident presented by activists Tuesday as a victim of changing public housing policies, took a moment before the start of the City Hall protest to complain about her subsidized private apartment, which she called a "slum." A HANO voucher covers her rent on a unit in an old Faubourg St. John home, but she said she faced several hundred dollars in deposit charges and now faces a steep utility bill.

"I'm tired of the slum landlords, and I'm tired of the slum houses," she said.

Pointing across the street to an encampment of homeless people at Duncan Plaza, Jasper said, "I might do better out here with one of these tents."

At a New Orleans City Council meeting about whether or not to tear down the dilapidated St Bernard projects, Ms. Jasper verbally attacked a white male in attendance, saying, "I will not be treated like a slave!" and "Back up and Shut up! Shut up, white boy! Shut up, white boy!"

Housing officials said hundreds of private apartments where disaster or Section 8 vouchers can be used are also available to help meet the needs of displaced public housing residents, both in the short and long term.

Meanwhile, activists staged a protest on the steps of City Hall, saying procedural snags, as well as extra costs for utilities and security deposits, put those options out of reach for many poor people. Furthermore, some alleged "slum" conditions at those properties, and they have said they don't trust housing officials to make good on promises of mixed-income redevelopments that will welcome the poor.

Sharon Jasper should be ashamed of herself. Jasper's shamelessness confirms how deeply our culture is infected with an entitlement mindset. Please do not write me about how I am beating up on the poor. I am not. I have known of Sharon Jasper in various forms all of my life I have witnessed firsthand the devastating toll cradle-to-grave government dependency has taken on the human spirit and the wasted lives left in its wake. So please, do not preach to me about liberals' good intentions or tell me I simply do not support black folks. I once lived in Cleveland, Ohio and I saw what the entitlement and welfare culture did to a once dynamic, industrial city.

Sharon Jasper epitomizes the type of voter Obama seeks and is working to create. With more Americans than ever on food stamps and half the country receiving government assistance in some form or another, Obama is cloning Sharon Jasper. Unquestionably, Obama is putting all his re-election eggs into his Sharon Jasper basket.

Bastiat wrote:

“The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.

Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.

Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole—with their common aim of legal plunder—constitute socialism.

Now, since under this definition socialism is a body of doctrine, what attack can be made against it other than a war of doctrine? If you find this socialistic doctrine to be false, absurd, and evil, then refute it. And the more false, the more absurd, and the more evil it is, the easier it will be to refute. Above all, if you wish to be strong, begin by rooting out every particle of socialism that may have crept into your legislation. This will be no light task.”

As callous, self-serving and heartless as drug dealers, the Democrats are government-dependency dealers. Hooking as many Americans as possible on government dependency secures the Democrats' voting bloc of government-dependency junkies. Every election, Democrats will promise to increase the dosage of freebies. Just look what has happened to cities like Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Gary — all under decades of Democrat control.

But somewhere down the road, workers/taxpayers will revolt! "Screw it! I ain't workin' no more for the government to take it and give it away."

I cannot begin to express how painful it is for me to see lazy, "bums'" (as my dad used to call them) do-nothings getting over on hardworking taxpayers and being celebrated by the president of the United States. Obama treats deadbeat entitlement junkies like saints, superior to working Americans. Mr. Obama, we are a not a bunch of slackers. We are Americans, doggone-it! We work! Quoting Larry the Cable Guy, we "git-r-done"!

Some of you patriots still do not get it. You write your blogs and columns explaining the sins of Newt and Santorum and how if Ron Paul does not win the nomination, you're sitting this election out. Well, that is just plain wrong and crazy. While I have my favorite, at this stage of the game, I will support whoever wins the nomination! What part of "Obama will end America as we know it" do you not understand?

The argument that the "wrong Republican" in the White House is just as bad as Obama confirms a naivety of the depths of Obama's far-left radical — and Rev. Jeremiah Wright-inspired hatred for America. Obviously, you do not comprehend the seriousness of the unique situation we find ourselves in as Americans. On their worst day, none of our candidates are as devastating to our freedom, liberty, and culture as Obama is.

And to all you people who write saying both political parties are corrupt and so what's the point in Tea Partying, voting, or even trying, I will not embrace your defeatist attitude. When ten out of twelve spies for Israel said they could not defeat the giants, God called their report "evil." To all you folks who say America is too far gone and we should simply give up, I say take your "evil" report elsewhere!

Four years after winning the White House, Obama is dealing with a different economic and political reality as he seeks re-election. He's focused less on a lofty vision for overcoming divisions and remaking Washington, and more on the most basic building blocks of middle-class economic security: a job, a house, a college education for the kids, health care, money for retirement.

What Obama describes as the American Dream can seem a spare, fundamental aspiration, tailored for a campaign that looks to be fought over who is best equipped to safeguard the interests of middle-class Americans and the Sharon Jaspers of the country.

The question is whether it will convince, even as Mitt Romney and the other GOP presidential hopefuls mount a counter-argument that the president has made the American Dream harder, not easier, to achieve. And Obama must overcome the grinding realities many voters confront daily, even with the economy showing signs of life: no jobs, mortgages they can't pay, dwindling retirement funds and college savings.

The president is betting that if he shows voters he understands their yearning for economic stability and security, they'll reward him over Republicans he's casting as just watching out for the rich — even though he hasn't succeeded in fully reviving the economy so far.

"If you're willing to put in the work, the idea is that you should be able to raise a family and own a home; not go bankrupt because you got sick, because you've got some health insurance that helps you deal with those difficult times; that you can send your kids to college; that you can put some money away for retirement," Obama said recently in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

As you can see Obama’s vision of the American Dream is based on what government entitlements you can get. What happened to promoting ambition and aspirations? How about becoming a doctor or a scientist? What happened to wanting to build dams and bridges?

"That's all most people want," he said. "Folks don't have unrealistic ambitions. They do believe that if they work hard they should be able to achieve that small measure of an American Dream."

The goals can seem almost humdrum in comparison with some of the rhetoric from Obama's 2008 White House campaign. But the message sounds made for the times, with the country emerging haltingly from recession, the income gap widening and unemployment stuck above 8 percent.

"He can't run on change because he's the incumbent, and he can't paint too rosy a scenario because things aren't that rosy," said John Geer, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University. "He's got to come up with a theme that appeals to voters, especially middle-class voters, alleviates their fears and gives them reason to believe the future will be better."

The message also creates an implicit contrast with the portrait Democrats are trying to create of front-runner Romney as preoccupied with the concerns of the rich. But Romney is answering Obama's message head-on, seeking a careful balance between sounding optimistic about the nation's future and accusing Obama of destroying the American Dream.

"I've met Hispanic entrepreneurs who thought they had achieved the American Dream and are now seeing it disappear," Romney said after his recent victory in Florida's GOP primary. "We want to restore America to the founding principles that made this country great."

GOP candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich also have accused Obama of tarnishing American opportunity, as Republicans make clear that no matter their nominee, Obama's claim to be the one to restore the American Dream is sure to be challenged.

The candidates' focus on the American Dream is in itself a sign of the times, said Michael Ford, founding director of the Center for the Study of the American Dream at Xavier University. The phrase was coined during the Great Depression and since then has tended to become a central theme during economic downturns, Ford said.

He said rhetoric about the American Dream has been featured during this election cycle more than in decades, which he attributed to the tough times the nation has been suffering.

"It's pretty basic stuff (Obama) talks about and I think as it turns out that's pretty much where the dream is right now," Ford said. "We can say the dream might have been lowered a little bit in terms of its aspiration but the aspiration is still there, and it's always there."

Some polling suggests that, despite voters' continued unhappiness with the economy and Obama's handling of it, the president may be convincing Americans he's on their side. A recent CBS/New York Times poll shows people view Obama as the candidate who best understands the needs and problems of "people like you," and see his policies as more apt than those of the GOP candidates to favor the middle class or the poor.

I love my country and trust God too much to surrender the greatest nation on the planet to those who would destroy her. Don't know 'bout y'all, but I'm fightin' for my country 'til the Lord takes me home.

Mr. Obama, Sharon Jasper is not America! We will not allow you to turn us into a nation of Sharon Jaspers! Sharon Jasper and Barack Obama are not my America! Your vision of the American Dream is a far cry from mine!