Controversial Article: Read At Your Own Risk

This is an article worth reading. It is a liberal critic by a normally liberal news outlet.

It is the kind of scrutiny that all potential presidents should be subjected to (before the election) and it addresses the issue of racism.

I Too Have Become Disillusioned

—by Matt Patterson (Columnist, Washington Post, New York Post & San Francisco Examiner)

August 27, 2012

Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, the result of a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages.

How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world’s largest economy, direct the world’s most powerful military, execute the world’s most consequential job?

Imagine a future historian examining Obama’s pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League, despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a “community organizer;” a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, so often did he vote “present”); and, finally an unaccomplished single term in the United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions.

He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation as a legislator. And then there is the matter of his troubling Associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades served as Obama’s “spiritual mentor”; a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama’s colleague and political sponsor.

It is easy to imagine a future historian looking at it all and asking: how on Earth was such a man elected president?

Not content to wait for history, the incomparable Norman Podhoretz addressed the question recently in the Wall Street Journal: To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers, would have lasted a single day.

But because Mr. Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberal-dom to have hung out with protesters against various American injustices, even if they were a bit extreme, he was given a pass. Let that sink in: Obama was given a pass – held to a lower standard – because of the color of his skin.

Podhoretz continues: And in any case, what did such ancient history matter when he was also so articulate and elegant and (as he himself had said) “non-threatening,” all of which gave him a fighting chance to become the first black president and thereby to lay the curse of racism to rest?

Podhoretz puts his finger, I think, on the animating pulse of the Obama phenomenon – affirmative action. Not in the legal sense, of course. But certainly in the motivating sentiment behind all affirmative action laws and regulations, which are designed primarily to make white people, and especially white liberals, feel good about themselves.

Unfortunately, minorities often suffer so that whites can pat themselves on the back. Liberals routinely admit minorities to schools for which they are not qualified, yet take no responsibility for the inevitable poor performance and high drop-out rates which follow.

Liberals don’t care if these minority students fail; liberals aren’t around to witness the emotional devastation and deflated self-esteem resulting from the racist policy that is affirmative action. Yes, racist. Holding someone to a separate standard merely because of the color of his skin – that’s affirmative action in a nutshell, and if that isn’t racism, then nothing is.

And that is what America did to Obama. True, Obama himself was never troubled by his lack of achievements, but why would he be?

As many have noted, Obama was told he was good enough for Columbia despite undistinguished grades at Occidental; he was told he was good enough for the US Senate despite a mediocre record in Illinois; he was told he was good enough to be president despite no record at all in the Senate.

All his life, every step of the way, Obama was told he was good enough for the next step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.

What could this breed if not the sort of empty narcissism on display every time Obama speaks? In 2008, many who agreed that he lacked executive qualifications nonetheless raved about Obama’s oratory skills, intellect, and cool character. Those people – conservatives included – ought now to be deeply embarrassed.

The man thinks and speaks in the hoariest of clichés, and that’s when he has his teleprompters in front of him; when the prompter is absent he can barely think or speak at all. Not one original idea has ever issued from his mouth – it’s all warmed-over Marxism of the kind that has failed over and over again for 100 years.

And what about his character? Obama is constantly blaming anything and everything else for his troubles. Bush did it; it was bad luck; I inherited this mess. Remember, he wanted the job, campaigned for the task. It is embarrassing to see a president so willing to advertise his own powerlessness, so comfortable with his own incompetence. But really, what were we to expect? The man has never been responsible for anything, so how do we expect him to act responsibly?

In short: our president is a small-minded man, with neither the temperament nor the intellect to handle his job. When you understand that, and only when you understand that, will the current erosion of liberty and prosperity make sense. It could not have gone otherwise with such a man in the Oval Office.

 THIS REALLY BOTHERS ME.  And it should greatly concern you.

How does a man of this caliber attain the highest office in the land?

 

How can a majority of the people be so duped? We are talking hundreds of millions here, and what does that say about our educational system?

 

And most importantly, what are we going to do about it?  Sorry to say it, but electing a really good president (only time can tell) is not the answer.  What happens when no really good candidate is running–lesser of to evils, right?  If I hear that phrase one more time I think I will be sick.

 

Only its people can determine the long term direction of a nation.  If a people are strong culturally, morally, economically, and are well educated, they will naturally choose good leaders who will continue providing leadership that promotes these things.  If a people are culturally weak, bankrupt in both their morals and their finances, and have little personal discipline, they will always choose leaders who promise the moon, provide bread and circuses, and who look the other way.

 

From a historical perspective, things do not look good for Americans.  Heard that before?  Great, here are our current choices:

1. Become aware of our dire situation (foreign policy, economy, domestic affairs, culture, national morality, etc.) and develop a personal, family and community plan to rectify the deficiencies.

2. Acknowledge our real situation but continue as we are and hoping for the best, someone will eventually fit it.

3. Actually ignore our situation and living the good life as long as it lasts.

 

Personally, I am putting all of my eggs in basket number one. Other concerned citizens are helping me create a college that produces future moms and dads of the highest caliber, future citizens, business owners and community leaders who know and live by the Creed of Disinterestedness (a habit of high personal conduct, the mastery of all urgings that drive a man from his duty and the elimination of all calculations of benefit or gain at the expense of others) , and potencial state and national leaders who actually sacrifice for their country, voluntarily leaving office after a reasonable time of service, not having lined their own pockets in the process.

 

 

Why the Federalist Papers are a Primary Text at Monticello College

The May 7th issue of the Wall Street Journal printed an article with this title :

 

 

OPINION

May 6, 2012, 7:03 p.m. ET

Peter Berkowitz: Why Colleges Don’t Teach the Federalist Papers

At America’s top schools, graduates leave without reading our most basic writings on the purpose of constitutional self-government.

Berkowitz begins his article:

It would be difficult to overstate the significance of The Federalist for understanding the principles of American government and the challenges that liberal democracies confront early in the second decade of the 21st century.

 

Yet despite the lip service they pay to liberal education, our leading universities can’t be bothered to require students to study The Federalist—or, worse, they oppose such requirements on moral, political or pedagogical grounds. Small wonder it took so long for progressives to realize that arguments about the constitutionality of ObamaCare are indeed serious.

 

He then lays out the origin of this forgotten road map to freedom,

 

The masterpiece of American political thought originated as a series of newspaper articles published under the pseudonym Publius in New York between October 1787 and August 1788 by framers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison.

 

The aim was to make the case for ratification of the new constitution, which had been agreed to in September 1787 by delegates to the federal convention meeting in Philadelphia over four months of remarkable discussion, debate and deliberation about self-government.

 

By the end of 1788, a total of 85 essays had been gathered in two volumes under the title The Federalist. Written at a brisk clip and with the crucial vote in New York hanging in the balance, the essays formed a treatise on constitutional self-government for the ages.

 

The Federalist deals with the reasons for preserving the union, the inefficacy of the existing federal government under the Articles of Confederation, and the conformity of the new constitution to the principles of liberty and consent. It covers war and peace, foreign affairs, commerce, taxation, federalism and the separation of powers. It provides a detailed examination of the chief features of the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

 

It advances its case by restatement and refutation of the leading criticisms of the new constitution. It displays a level of learning, political acumen and public-spiritedness to which contemporary scholars, journalists and politicians can but aspire. And to this day it stands as an unsurpassed source of insight into the Constitution’s text, structure and purposes.

Berkowitz continues with a list of Ivy League and similarly rated undergraduate and graduate schools that lightly touch on or completely skip the reading of the Federalist.

Touching on the treatment of the Federalist by progressive ideology and the corruption of political science in general, he ends by pointing out the forgotten value and common sense of reading the Federalist Papers,

And thus so many of our leading opinion formers and policy makers seem to come unhinged when they encounter constitutional arguments apparently foreign to them but well-rooted in constitutional text, structure and history.

 

These include arguments about, say, the unitary executive; or the priority of protecting political speech of all sorts; or the imperative to articulate a principle that keeps the Constitution’s commerce clause from becoming the vehicle by which a federal government—whose powers, as Madison put it in Federalist 45, are “few and defined”—is remade into one of limitless unenumerated powers.

 

By robbing students of the chance to acquire a truly liberal education, our universities also deprive the nation of a citizenry well-acquainted with our Constitution’s enduring principles.

Why are the Federalist Papers a primary text at Monticello College?

If you have to ask, we need to talk.

 

 

Full Berkowitz article below:

Peter Berkowitz: Why Colleges Don’t Teach the Federalist Papers

At America’s top schools, graduates leave without reading our most basic writings on the purpose of constitutional self-government.

By PETER BERKOWITZ

It would be difficult to overstate the significance of The Federalist for understanding the principles of American government and the challenges that liberal democracies confront early in the second decade of the 21st century. Yet despite the lip service they pay to liberal education, our leading universities can’t be bothered to require students to study The Federalist—or, worse, they oppose such requirements on moral, political or pedagogical grounds. Small wonder it took so long for progressives to realize that arguments about the constitutionality of ObamaCare are indeed serious.

The masterpiece of American political thought originated as a series of newspaper articles published under the pseudonym Publius in New York between October 1787 and August 1788 by framers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. The aim was to make the case for ratification of the new constitution, which had been agreed to in September 1787 by delegates to the federal convention meeting in Philadelphia over four months of remarkable discussion, debate and deliberation about self-government.

By the end of 1788, a total of 85 essays had been gathered in two volumes under the title The Federalist. Written at a brisk clip and with the crucial vote in New York hanging in the balance, the essays formed a treatise on constitutional self-government for the ages.

The Federalist deals with the reasons for preserving the union, the inefficacy of the existing federal government under the Articles of Confederation, and the conformity of the new constitution to the principles of liberty and consent. It covers war and peace, foreign affairs, commerce, taxation, federalism and the separation of powers. It provides a detailed examination of the chief features of the legislative, executive and judicial branches. It advances its case by restatement and refutation of the leading criticisms of the new constitution. It displays a level of learning, political acumen and public-spiritedness to which contemporary scholars, journalists and politicians can but aspire. And to this day it stands as an unsurpassed source of insight into the Constitution’s text, structure and purposes.

At Harvard, at least, all undergraduate political-science majors will receive perfunctory exposure to a few Federalist essays in a mandatory course their sophomore year. But at Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Berkeley, political-science majors can receive their degrees without encountering the single surest analysis of the problems that the Constitution was intended to solve and the manner in which it was intended to operate.

Most astonishing and most revealing is the neglect of The Federalist by graduate schools and law schools. The political science departments at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Berkeley—which set the tone for higher education throughout the nation and train many of the next generation’s professors—do not require candidates for the Ph.D. to study The Federalist. And these universities’ law schools (Princeton has no law school), which produce many of the nation’s leading members of the bar and bench, do not require their students to read, let alone master, The Federalist’s major ideas and main lines of thought.

Of course, The Federalist is not prohibited reading, so graduates of our leading universities might be reading it on their own. The bigger problem is that the progressive ideology that dominates our universities teaches that The Federalist, like all books written before the day before yesterday, is antiquated and irrelevant.

Particularly in the aftermath of the New Deal, according to the progressive conceit, understanding America’s founding and the framing of the Constitution are as useful to dealing with contemporary challenges of government as understanding the horse-and-buggy is to dealing with contemporary challenges of transportation. Instead, meeting today’s needs requires recognizing that ours is a living constitution that grows and develops with society’s evolving norms and exigencies.

Then there’s scientism, or enthrallment to method, which collaborates with progressive ideology to marginalize The Federalist, along with much of the best that has been thought and said in the West. Political science has corrupted a laudable commitment to the systematic study of politics by transforming it into a crusading devotion to the refinement of method for method’s sake. In the misguided quest to mold political science to the shape of the natural sciences, many scholars disdainfully dismiss The Federalist—indeed, all works of ideas—as mere journalism or literary studies which, lacking scientific rigor, can’t yield genuine knowledge.

And thus so many of our leading opinion formers and policy makers seem to come unhinged when they encounter constitutional arguments apparently foreign to them but well-rooted in constitutional text, structure and history. These include arguments about, say, the unitary executive; or the priority of protecting political speech of all sorts; or the imperative to articulate a principle that keeps the Constitution’s commerce clause from becoming the vehicle by which a federal government—whose powers, as Madison put it in Federalist 45, are “few and defined”—is remade into one of limitless unenumerated powers.

By robbing students of the chance to acquire a truly liberal education, our universities also deprive the nation of a citizenry well-acquainted with our Constitution’s enduring principles.

Mr. Berkowitz is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. His latest book is “Israel and the Struggle over the International Laws of War” (Hoover Press, 2012).

A version of this article appeared May 7, 2012, on page A17 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Why Colleges Don’t Teach the Federalist Papers.

 


Attention Span: Our National Education Crisis, Part Four

Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

Read Part Three Here

 

Fallacy Number 4: “Balance” means balancing work with entertainment.

Today’s adults don’t usually find out what really hard work is until they graduate and have to support a family.

The average person supporting a family in modern America puts in over fifty hours a week at work; in most countries the amount is much higher.

But the American high school system conditions most students to attend class five hours a day and do outside study a few extra hours a week.

The rest of the time is filled with activities, friends and occasional family time. And this has become the standard for balance.

Most college students follow suit: they are in class three to five hours a day, they study a couple of hours a day, and they fill the rest of the time with activities and friends.

Again, this is considered “balanced.”

Once people get out of school and go to work, “balance” most often means the need to spend more time with their family.

But while in school, they say it to mean that they need to spend more time with their friends engaging in fun activities. Family time and study time are shoved aside.
One of my mentors, a religious leader from my faith, taught that the right approach to daily life is eight hours a day of sleep, eight hours a day of work, and eight hours a day of leisure.

And he spoke at a time when leisure didn’t mean entertainment.

Indeed, leisure means serving people, studying, learning, being involved in community service and government, and so on—whereas the slaves in Rome were considered incapable of leisure and so their masters gave them entertainment to keep them pacified.

The media age has tried to convince us all, quite successfully, that we need entertainment—and often.

I take the eight hours sleep, eight leisure and eight work quite literally—it is a solid and realistic approach to “balance.”

In all my years of teaching, I have never had a married, working 40 hours a week student complain about not having time to study. They all make the time.

Those who complain are always those wanting more time for entertainment, never those who want more time for work or family.

Every single one of those complaining that they want balance has been someone without a full or steady part time job. That is amazing to me.

The simple truth is that they are right—they do need balance. They need to start working and studying as if they were college students.

Studying a minimum, and I mean minimum, of forty hours a week in college is balance—it balances the pre-college years where most students did real, intensive study only a few hours in their whole life.

And a few college students actually studying enough to become Jeffersons and Washingtons is balance to a whole generation of college students playing around.

If you really want to invoke balance, I think you could make a strong argument that entertainment is not part of a balanced life—unless it is the leisure sort done with family or to learn or serve. Get rid of entertainment time, and fill it with studying, and you will start to find balance.

Until then, you will continue to feel unbalanced—and whatever you blame it on, the study will not unbalance you.

On occasion I have had students who did become unbalanced in the side of their studies, and I have recommended that they cut back and spend more family time. But this has happened perhaps three times out of hundreds of students.

In contrast, it always surprises me who tries to argue for balance—they are usually the ones in no danger whatsoever of becoming unbalanced studiers.

Fallacy Number 5: Opinions matter.

This is perhaps the biggest, most widespread and most fallacious lesson of the electronic age.

A time traveler visiting from history might well consider this the most amazing thing about our age. Everybody has an opinion, which can be delivered in 30 seconds or less, and these opinions are considered newsworthy, valuable, and a sound basis for public policy and individual action.

But an opinion is really just something you aren’t sure about yet–either because you haven’t done your homework, or because after the homework is thoroughly complete the answers are still a bit unclear.

Opinions are at best educated guesses, at worst dangerously uneducated guesses. In any case, opinions are just guesses.

Great people in history know and choose. Opinions are really nothing more than the lazy man’s counterfeit for knowing and choosing. Again, there is a place for opinion, but after the hard work is completed, not as a replacement for it.

In short—opinion is not a firm basis for anything except passing time (which may be one of the reasons the market won’t listen to more than 30 seconds of it at a time).

Imagine what the educational system might look like in a society that values opinions over knowledge. Or try to imagine the future governmental and moral choices of a society where all opinions are created equal, and endowed by their creator with inalienable rights.

Certainly such a society will not be wise, or moral, or free.

III. How to Increase Attention Span

Now, in pointing out these false lessons of the electronic age, my point is not that books are better than computers or televisions. There is nothing I know of that makes paper and binding inherently better than plastic and silicon.

Computers are better than books for many things, such as tracking and storing large amounts of information, speeding up communication and technological progress, and increasing the efficiency and even effectiveness of business.

Television is better than books for many purposes, including mass and speedy communication, business advertising and marketing, and entertainment options where important ideas can be portrayed and carried to the hearts of people more quickly.

My point is not that books are inherently better than electronic screens, nor is it that electronic media is bad. Nor is my point that the electronic media undermines our morals; the truth is that many books are at least as bad.

My point is that books are better than television, or the internet, or computer for educating and maintaining freedom.

Books matter because they state ideas and then attempt to thoroughly prove them.

The ideas in books matter because time is taken to establish truth, and because the reader must take the time to consider each idea and either accept it, or (if he rejects it) to think through sound reasons for doing so.

A nation of people who write and read is a nation with the attention span to earn an education and a free society if they choose.

The very medium of writing and reading encourages and requires an attention span adequate to deal with important questions and draw sound and effective conclusions. The electronic media arguably does not do this in the same way.

Now, idealism aside, the reality is that 30 second sound bites is how public dialogue takes place in our society, and we can either whine about it or we can adapt to the realities and develop our skills to be leaders.

A leader of public dialogue in our day must use the 30 second method; in fact, the reality is closer to 6 seconds than 30.

I am not saying that we should ignore this reality and prepare for 7-hour debates to impact public opinion. The electronic age is real and statesmen should be prepared to utilize it effectively.

But there is a huge difference between those who just polish their media technique and those who do so after (or at minimum, while) acquiring a quality liberal arts education.

Technology is a valuable tool, and a person who has paid the price to know true principles and understand the world from a depth and breadth of knowledge and wisdom, and then applies his or her wisdom through technology is much more likely to achieve statesmanlike impact.

His 6-second sound bites will not be opinions, but rather ideas that have been fully considered, weighed and chosen.

Indeed, and this is my most important point, in the electronic age your attention span is even more important than it was at other times in history.

The future of freedom may well hinge on one thing—our attention spans. And certainly your future success as a leader and statesman depends on your attention span.

One thing is certain: there will be no Lincolns, Washingtons, Churchills, Gandhis, or the mothers and fathers who taught them, without adequate attention span.

CONCLUSION

I wish I had some tricks to give you to increase your attention span.

But there is only one that I know of: discipline and hard work, hours and hours and hours studying, with hopefully some prayer and meditation in the mix.

There will be leaders of the next 50 years; I believe you will be among them. But only if you increase attention span.

Otherwise, you will be one of the masses, going along with whatever those in power do to society, led along by your “betters”—not because they are better morally, but because they have a longer attention span.

Too many leaders in history have been people without virtue, who ruled because they had the knowledge. Knowledge truly is power. In this day, it is time for people of virtue to also become people of wisdom.

I challenge each of you to be one of them.

Don’t let your habits of entertainment, your attachment to fun and slave entertainment stop you from becoming who you were meant to be. Become the leader you were born to be—spend the hours in the library. Let nothing get in your way.

Many things will arise to distract you; study will often seem the least attractive alternative for the evening. But you know better. You were born to be the leaders of the future.

Now do it—not in 30-second sound bites of opinion, but in seven to ten hour daily stretches of building yourself into a leader, a statesman, a man or women capable of doing the mission God has for you.

Endnotes:

  1. Postman, Neil. 1985. Amusing Ourselves to Death. New York: Penguin Books. p.44
  2. Ibid.
  3. Thucydides, The Pelopponesian War, 1,1.84.4. For a fuller treatment of this subject, see Josiah Bunting III. 1998. An Education for Our Time. Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc.

My Experience At The Utah State Legislature: Part Four, Legislation

 Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

Read Part Three Here

(This resolution was passed onto the full House for debate with a favorable recommendation on February 13, 2012)  Rep. Galvez is leading the way to a sound monetary system for Utah.

Representative Brad J. Galvez proposes the following substitute bill: JOINT RESOLUTION ON MONETARY DECLARATION

2012 GENERAL SESSION STATE OF UTAH

Chief Sponsor: Brad J. Galvez

Senate Sponsor: ____________

LONG TITLE General Description:

This joint resolution of the Legislature expresses support for the legal and commercial framework necessary to establish and maintain well-functioning, sound monetary
systems.
Highlighted Provisions:

This resolution:

  • expresses support for the legal and commercial frameworks that are conducive to constitutional, well-functioning, monetary systems and that feature gold and silver coin as natural, sound, circulating money, protect against any impairment of financial contracts, and ensure the security and equal protection of the people’s monetary holdings.

Special Clauses:

None

Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah:

WHEREAS, the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness require, for their full enjoyment, the indispensable right to honorably acquire, use, hold, and transfer property;

WHEREAS, money, serving as a medium of exchange, a unit of measure, and a store of value, facilitates the free exercise of inherent property rights, both individually and collectively;

WHEREAS, natural money arises from reliable value stemming from a medium’s intrinsic uniformity, divisibility, durability, portability, desirability, and scarcity;

WHEREAS, sound money promotes the general welfare of society by maintaining stable purchasing power over extended periods of time;

WHEREAS, circulating money only functions when the exchange of one form of legal tender for another is proportional between denominations, free of taxation and of debilitating regulation;

WHEREAS, government should never compel payment in a form of money inconsistent with the intent of transacting parties, except with respect to amounts directly payable to government itself;

WHEREAS, the extent and composition of a person’s monetary holdings should never be subject to disclosure or search and seizure except upon strict adherence to the safeguards of due process; and

WHEREAS, for a check and balance on congressional monetary authority, states retain the constitutional right to make gold and silver coin a legal tender for payment of debts:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah expresses support for the legal and commercial frameworks that are conducive to constitutional, well-functioning, monetary systems which feature gold and silver coin as natural, sound, circulating money, protect against any impairment of financial contracts, and ensure the security and equal protection of the people’s monetary holdings.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the President of the United States, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the legislatures of all 49 other states, the Secretary of the United States Treasury, and to the members of Utah’s congressional delegation.

1st Sub. (Buff) H.J.R. 9 02-13-12 2:08 PM             HJR 9

Another bill I am working to support is HB 148 or TRANSFER OF PUBLIC LANDS ACT AND RELATED STUDY which is scheduled to go to committee on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 8am.  If you want to come and experience this committee be at the Capitol no later than 7:30am and give me a call from the Capitol steps and I will get you to the meeting. (435) 590 1661.

One bill I am not happy with is SB 63, which promotes a national popular vote.  Read below for my take on this.

Why James Madison is Against a National Popular Vote

Madison’s Rule: Use factions to protect majorities and minorities from each other

The same logic that governs our Presidential electoral system, applies to many sports—which Americans do, intuitively, understand.

In baseball’s World Series, for example, the team that scores the most runs overall is like a candidate who gets the most votes.  But to become champion, that team must win the most games.

In 1960, the New York Yankees scored more than twice as many total runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates yet the Yankees lost the series, four games to three. And nobody walked away saying it was unfair.

Runs must be grouped in a way that wins games, just as popular votes must be grouped in a way that wins states. In this case the concept of majority rules applies to the states not the individual citizens.

In sports, we accept that a true champion should be more consistent than the Yankees were in 1960.

A champion should be able to win at least some of the tough, close contests by every means available—bunting, stealing, brilliant pitching, dazzling plays in the field—and not just smack home runs against second-best pitchers.

A presidential candidate worthy of office, by the same logic, should have broad appeal across the whole nation, and not just play strongly on a single issue to isolated blocs of voters.

Experts, scholars, and deep thinkers can make errors on electoral reform, but nine-year-olds can explain to a Martian why the Yankees lost in 1960, and why it was right.

And both are based on the same underlying principle.

As Madison, the chief architect of the Electoral College explained in Federalist Paper 10, “a well-constructed Union” must, above all else, “break and control the violence of faction,” especially “the superior force of an … overbearing majority.” In any democracy, a majority’s power threatens minorities. It threatens their rights, their property, and sometimes their lives. A well-designed electoral system might include obstacles to thwart an overbearing majority. But direct, national voting has none.  The Madisonian system, by requiring candidates to win states on the way to winning the nation, has forced majorities to win the consent of minorities, checked the violence of factions, and held the country together.*

Interestingly, with a National Popular Vote, even though a majority of voters (generally a minority of eligible voters – less than 42%) could choose the president, it could do so with as little as 20% of the states.  Democracy is always promoted as the champion of the majority but in reality it almost always serves the minority.

 These 10 states combined could elect the President of the United States

 

Sources:

*Math Against Tyranny, Will Hively, Discover Magazine, November 1996 ￿￿￿￿

http://elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2010G.html

 

Does Anybody Understand This Stuff?: Part 7, Radical Economics – A Thumbnail Sketch of 4,000 Years of Economics

Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

Read Part Three Here

Read Part Four Here

Read Part Five Here

Read Part Six Here

Read Part Eight Here

Key Economic Points

The beginning of the 20th century saw an explosion of violent and radical application of various economic principles.

Philosopher King

First let’s lay out a couple of economic theories. Then we will visit their application.

Plato contributed the concept of “The ideal State” to the Western world.   The problem with his contribution is two fold:

1. Plato couldn’t have been totally serious in his ruminations of the “Ideal State.”

2. Even if Plato was serious, he said that Philosopher Kings would rule his imagined society.  In other words, you had to have Philosopher Kings for Plato’s Ideal State to work, and the people who adopted his rationale were far from that pious and                 honorable stature.

Hegel contributed the concept of the Dialectic:

The Dialectic is nothing more than a means to describe human progression. In a nutshell, Hegel’s Dialectic suggests that “reality” is a matter of mind and through the individual process of ideas and acting on those ideas, we eventually come to the perfect state of existence. He is attributed to explaining this process in these terms: your current understanding of life, “your reality” today he describes as “Thesis.”

Hegel’s Dialectic

No sooner does one become comfortable in that reality when it is challenged by a counter-reality called “Anti-thesis.”

These two struggle, and finally merge into a new reality called “Synthesis.” This synthesis now becomes the new thesis and the process begins anew.

Hegel said that this process continues for a lifetime, a continual process of refining, or perhaps until the synthesis becomes so pure that no antithesis appears to challenge it.

As a number of authors have suggested, Marx  took Hegel’s Dialectic and turned it on its head, or in other words, corrupted it.  Hegel’s whole point was that we don’t know where the Dialectic will take us, hopefully continual improvement. But Marx hijacked the Dialectic and contributed these several points:

1. The end goal is Plato’s Ideal State

2. The means of getting there is Hegel’s Dialectic (highly modified)

3. History is driven by a variety of economic factors (especially class conflict/warfare).  The control of the means of production* by the state is vital.

4. The way to speed up history is to promote the antithesis of the current thesis (In Hegel’s world, the antithesis is natural and comes about on its own, but Marx believed that he could actually analyze the current thesis and then create and direct the antithesis as a way to speed up the progression to a more ideal state.)

5. The ideal state could be achieved by revolutionary communism as a way to move toward         democratic socialism.

6. This Ideal State must be global.  It cannot be nationalistic.

7. The Proletariat (working class) must revolt against the bourgeois (middle class or merchant/landed gentry), because it is the middle class that exploits the working class. He doesn’t say much about the rich or upper class.

8. The vanguard of the proletariat (a small, highly-organized band of intellectual revolutionaries) will carry out the revolt for the proletariat, and then see that they are taken care of (AKA – the rich and upper class).

9. Morality is nothing more than bourgeois prejudice.

10. There is no God, and religion is just an opiate of the masses.

*Means of Production – the knowledge, ability and resources to provide for one’s self. See the Servile State.

 

Chairman Mao

Radical Economics Since Marx (since about 1890 or 1900)

Key Economic Points

1. Lenin– Sped up the dialectic with violent revolutions and military might.

2. Stalin– Socialism in one country can work.  National socialism is better than none.

3. Mao–    Return to Marxism, not Leninism or Stalinism.

4. Hitler– Biological Marxism.

5. Gorbachev– Return to Leninism.

6. European Socialism (ie, Sweden & Britain)- Fabian Socialism. Gradually increase in governmental power.  Government provides more and more and government takes away more and more.

7. United States Socialism- Changed the name to welfare and programs for the less fortunate, but does the same as European.  In fact, from 1890-1920 the Brits were very big in propagandizing socialism to American universities and circles of power.

 

Conclusion

All of these systems have been implemented since about 1900 or so, under the argument that it had to be tried before we knew whether or not it would work. In some cases they have taken on new faces but are still promoted under the argument that it has never really been tried.  All failures are blamed on the fact that implementation has been “half-done” instead of fully executed.

Today, Marxists are taking on a whole new philosophy:

  • No longer class conflict, but race conflict and cultural strife
  • Not economic but biological
  • Multiculturalism is, in some ways, the “New Marxism”
  • Herbert Marcuse, an influential 20th century philosopher known as the “Father of the     New Left,” promoted the concept that Western culture was the great evil. The non-western or anti-colonial cultures must be liberated from the great exploiters (American and European powers). A vanguard of the oppressed cultures must revolt and set up the social democracy where the liberated can thrive.  He suggested that the most likely groups to lead this revolution are:

-nonconformist youth (disenfranchised high school age students)

-young middle class intelligentsia (college students)

-ghetto populations (disenfranchised young men and women who seem to have not future, nothing to lose)

In light of the direction American education has taken over the past 50 years, this quote from Lincoln is chilling, “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”

 

With the next two posts I will finish up the “Attention Span” article and then come back and finish economics.

Don’t forget that there are now 45 posts or mini lectures available on this blog.  These of course, are designed for 2 purposes:

1. to share my thoughts and feelings on the topics.

2. to give you a taste of what your children will experience as students at Monticello College  on campus or online. www.monticellocollege.org.

 

THE DEATH OF FREE ENTERPRISE: The American Dream Is Lost

I really tried to pare this excerpt down, but there is so much good in here that I was only able to reduce it by 500 words.  Again, I know that this violates all blog protocol, but what I am really doing is creating a new protocol.  Good writing is worth reading, especially in larger doses.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the allure of emigration to the United States was prosperity and the American Dream, a vision of the abundance mentality and freedom from political and economic oppression.  Sure it meant a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but the dream lies in the hope of a better tomorrow.  That hope is virtually dead  for the vast majority of Americans. To save it we need Producers.

What follows is adapted from the article “Monticello College: A Model of Leadership Education:”

Prosperity and abundance in a society depend on a certain type of person: the producer.  Societies with few producers stagnate and decay, while nations with a large number of producers vibrantly grow—in wealth, freedom, power, influence and the pursuit of happiness.

Producers think in abundance rather than scarcity, take initiative instead of waiting for someone else to provide them with opportunity, and faithfully take wise risks instead of fearfully believing that they can’t make a difference.

In contrast, non-producers provide very little leadership in society and cause more than a majority of the problems.  In history, as Jefferson put it, producers are the most valuable citizens.  Of course, he was speaking directly of farmers, but the principle applies to all those who add significant value to society.  Non-producers consume the value that is added to society, but they create little value.

But who are the producers?  Fortune 500 executives include themselves in this category, and so do small business owners in their first month of operation.  Successful investors call themselves producers, as do unsuccessful day traders who claim that they just “haven’t had their lucky break yet.”  Clearly, just calling yourself a producer doesn’t make you one.

In fact, there are at least five types of producers, and each type is vital to a successful civilization.  Each of the five creates incredible value, though the currency of the value is not always identical.  Without any of the five types, no society succeeds and grows.  When all five are creating sufficient value, no society has ever failed.  Producers are needed—all five types.

Prophets

The highest level of value creation comes from prophets.  This category of producers is not limited to the Biblical-type prophets who spoke directly with God, but also includes anyone who teaches true principles.

This makes prophets the most important of the producers, because without clearly understood principles all the other types of producers fail.  Indeed, the other producers succeed to the exact extent that they understand and apply true principles.

Prophet-producers include Moses and Paul, who share God’s wisdom with us, and also sages like Socrates or Confucius or Bastiat, gurus like Edward Deming or Robert Kiyosaki, philosophers like Buckminster Fuller and  financial wizards like Warren Buffet, or those who inspire us to serve like Billy Graham or Mother Teresa.

Whether you agree or disagree with these people, their wisdom causes you to think, ponder, consider, and ultimately understand truth.  By applying these truths, a person is able to produce.

For value to be created, true principles must be applied.  Ironically, because God, prophets and other wise people often share their wisdom without asking for monetary compensation, sometimes other types of producers discount the value of their contribution. But make no mistake: revealing and teaching true principles is the highest level of creating value.

Statesmen

The next type of creating value comes from statesmen.  Do not confuse statesmen with politicians and bureaucrats, who are often worse than non-producers because they actually engage in anti-producing.  In contrast, statesmen create the value of freedom in society.  The level of freedom in any nation is a direct result of the actions of statesmen—past and present.

If great statesmen like Cato, Washington, Jefferson or Gandhi are present, a nation will throw off its enslaved past and adopt new forms and structures which ensure freedom of religion, freedom of choice and action, freedom of property and commerce, and other freedoms.

Together the value created can be called life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Take these freedoms away, and entrepreneurship and investment will fade and disappear.  There are no exceptions in history to this pattern.

Statesmen like Lincoln, Churchill, Joan of Arc or Margaret Thatcher keep a nation from rejecting its freedoms and moving back into a cycle of tyranny and anarchy, where little production of any kind occurs.  In short, without principles there is little freedom, and without freedom all other kinds of production shut down, are regulated out of existence, and cease to be viable options.  No matter how entrepreneurial your spirit, you would not have created much value in the economy of Nero’s Rome, Russia under Stalin, or even Boston under the Stamp Act.

Without freedom, only prophets survive as producers—all other types of producers need both principles and freedom to flourish.  The greater the understanding of principles and the freedom of the society, the greater the opportunities for producers.  Indeed, almost nothing creates more value than increasing freedom.

The well-known statesmen like Lincoln or Jefferson only appear on the scene when there are a lot of lesser known individuals studying, writing about, talking about and promoting statesmanship.  Only generations with lots of statesmen produce true freedom that allows widespread educational and economic opportunity.

Most of the history of the world shows the absence of such statesmanship, so most of the population of the world were serfs, peasants, slaves and other non-producers.  Yet it is the true nature of all mankind to be producers, leaders, nobles or landed gentry (free holders of land and wealth), imagine for a moment what society would look like if 80% not 5% of the population were nobles.

Jefferson called this the “natural aristocracy,” and it happens only in those rare pockets of history where statesmen create and perpetuate freedom and live by the abundance mentality.  Next to true principles taught by prophets, freedom is the highest value that one can add to any society.

Investors & Entrepreneurs

The third type of producer is the investor, and the fourth type is the entrepreneur.  This needs little commentary among producers, who nearly all realize that entrepreneurship is necessary to create new economic value and that even the best entrepreneurial ideas and leaders can fail without adequate capitalization.

Robert Kiyosaki lists Investors as the highest of his cashflow quadrants and Business owners, or entrepreneurs, next.  He is right on.  Without investors, many if not most entrepreneurs would fail.  Without both I’s and B’s, to use Kiyosaki’s language, no society can make significant or sustained progress. A society without adequate investment and entrepreneurship will see little, if any, progress.

The old joke is told of an American, a Frenchman, and a Russian, lost in the wilderness, who find a lamp and rub it. Out comes a Genie.  He offers them each one wish, for a total of three.  The American pictures the large ranch owned by the richest people in the valley where he grew up, and wishes for a ranch ten times its size, with flowing streams and meadows full of horses and cattle.

His wish is granted and he is transported home to his new life.  The Frenchman pictures the farm and cattle of the largest estate from his home province, and requests one just like it.  Again, his wish is granted.  Finally, the Russian pictures the land and herds of the rich family in the steppes where he grew up, and wishes that a drought kill the cattle, dry up the grass, and bankrupt the aristocratic family.

The joke isn’t really very funny, though it brings big laughs with audiences of producers.  They get it.  The Frenchman, thinking like an entrepreneur, wants the good things that life provides, and is willing to go to work to produce them.  The American, who thinks like an entrepreneur and an investor, is willing to go to work also, but wants to see his assets create more value.  The Frenchman wants value, the American plans for value, increased market share and perpetual growth.

In contrast, the Russian in this parable can only think of one thing—getting even with those who seem to have more than him.  This is the same as Steve Farber’s lament about the sad state of our modern employee mentality—where “burn your boss” is a slogan of millions of workers who see their employer as the enemy.

Initiative, vision, effective planning, the wise use of risk, quality execution—all are the contributions of entrepreneurs and investors.  Without them, any society will decline and fall.  Yet the non-producer mentality is often deeply ingrained in most people.  For example, a visiting speaker at a small liberal arts college told the student body of how challenging it was to get his employees out of their “serf” mentality.

As the founder of a growing manufacturing technology company, he pulled in all his two dozen employees and offered them liberal stock options.  He explained that if the company met its projections, they would all be very wealthy—and he abundantly wanted to share the prosperity.  Yet only a few of them would take the options.  They only wanted cash salary, and mistrusted the whole concept of stock ownership.

At first he just offered it, thinking they’d all jump on board.  But when only a few did, he pulled them in one by one and tried to make the case for stock.  Still, only a few more took the stock.  The company grew, expanded, and then its value soared.

Suddenly, only months later, a half dozen of the company’s employees were independently wealthy.  They met, made plans, some stayed with the company and others moved on.

But the real story happened with those who had refused the stock.  They were still paycheck-to-paycheck employees.  And they were very angry!  Most of them met with the founder in his office, and many of the meetings ended with yelling, names called, and doors slammed.  The entrepreneur couldn’t believe it.

NOW these employees wanted their millions.  But it just doesn’t work that way.  “I begged you to take the stock,” the owner told them.  “Now, I can’t help you.  Why didn’t you take it when I offered?” he asked.  They had no answer.  Only that: “I worked as hard as Jim and Lori, so why can’t I get the same payment?”

Entrepreneurs and investors understand that work is very, very important, but that high levels of compensation come to those who create value.  Like the fictional Russian in the joke above, this man’s employees felt they had been “ill-used.”  Consider the impact of this scarcity mentality on any society that adopts it.  Freedom is naturally lost, and prosperity slows down and eventually becomes poverty.  Entrepreneurs and investors are essential to societal success.

Intrapreneurs

The fifth type of producer is the intrapreneur.  In a truly free society, investment capital is plentiful—but only effective entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs can turn capital into increased value.  This takes initiative, wise risk and leadership, just like the other types of producing.  While entrepreneurs are founders and owners of businesses, intrapreneurs work for and lead established businesses—but unlike traditional employees, intrapreneurs lead with the Producer mindset.  They run their department, team, or company with an abundance mentality, an attachment to true principles, and a fearless faith in people and quality.

Intrapreneurs don’t really have jobs even though they are usually W-2 employees—like entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs consider themselves on a mission to help society, to give it what it needs and wants, to truly serve others.  Like all producers, they believe in a deep accountability, refuse to assign blame, don’t believe in failure, and give their heart and soul to serve the customer.

They add huge value in financial terms, leadership, and relationships—sometimes with people they’ve never met.  They pour quality into everything they do, and thereby deeply serve all who benefit from their product or service.

Great entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs have a deep faith in the market or the idea of fair exchange between different parties, as long as it doesn’t go against true principles or subvert freedom.  Without the initiative and risk of entrepreneurship, few intrapreneurs would have a place to work and serve; likewise, without intrapreneurs there would be few successful companies.  Indeed, it is hard to imagine that there would be any.

The Synergy of Created Value When All Five Do Their Part

For any company to succeed, all five types of producers must fulfill their socially unique roles.  This is even truer at a national level.

Producer                        Currency

Prophets                          Principles

Statesmen                        Freedom

Investors                          Capital

Entrepreneurs                 Prosperity

Intrapreneurs                  Quality

To see how vital all five types of producers are, consider the past.  Major world powers in history have failed in the same way:

First, the people stop giving heed to the wisdom of the prophets.

Second, voters or those in power replace statesmen with politicians, whereupon freedom steadily decreases.

Third, the natural result is increased regulations and taxation, ridiculous lawsuits and judicial decrees, and governmental policies that discourage and then attack producers, initiative, and the abundance mentality in general.

Fourth, investment capital flees the nation to follow the Rule of Capital—it goes where it is treated well.

Finally, the people have a scarcity mentality, refuse to listen to the prophets or elect statesmen, and entrepreneurs go where investment gives them opportunity.  The nation stagnates and declines.

Egypt, Israel, Greece, Rome, Spain, Italy, Bismark’s Germany, and Han China all followed this pattern.  Each was a major center of world power, influence and prosperity, and each declined into a third world nation.  France copied this pattern in the 1800s, Britain followed it in the 1900s, and the United States is on an identical track today.

Specifically, the U.S. is at the point where it is increasing its regulation, experiencing absurd lawsuits and court decisions, and increasingly adopting policies that discourage entrepreneurship.

The next step is to openly attack investment and entrepreneurship.  This is already happening if you look at the astronomical rates being forced on employers for unemployment insurance and other legislation that is making it harder and harder for the small business owner to operate at a profit. And when investors find higher profits in other nations, while facing decreasing returns along with public hostility and rising taxes at home, U.S. investment will dry up.  History is clear on this point.  There are no exceptions.

The only hope is for a new generation of producers to effectively promote freedom.  In fact, the U.S. has been at this point twice before—in 1860 and again in 1939.  Both times enough statesmen arose, most of them unknown to all except avid readers of history, to push aside the politicians and save our freedoms.

When the sages are ignored and statesmanship is seen as abstract and worthless, investors go elsewhere—capital flees to other nations, and the home country declines.  With such decline comes moral decay, the loss of political and economic freedom, and the end of opportunity.

Abundance is a true principle, yet through history most governments have made it their major goal to crush abundance and prosperity in the masses and give it to an artificial aristocracy or royalty.  Anyone who thinks this can’t happen here hasn’t read or understood history.

Overcoming Mistakes

Finally, many producers make three predictable mistakes.  Any producer who knows these mistakes and avoids them will be a better producer and create more lasting value in society.

First, producers seldom encourage their own children to follow the producer path.  Many young producers will disavow this, arguing that they’ll do all within their power to teach the abundance mindset to their children.

And most of them do, until the children start to get close to adulthood.  At this point, many producers realize just how hard the producer role is in life and seek to help their children avoid the pain and challenge of this path.

Many producers recommend that their children become professionals—doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers.  It is ironic how many very successful college-drop-out producers make sure that all of their children attend the most prestigious colleges available and major in the normal career fields.

Even the producers who train their oldest child to follow in their path often send the younger children in other directions.  And hardly any producers pass along the producer mindset to their grandchildren.

The second mistake many producers make is to think that their particular brand of producing is the only one that creates real value.  Like the old parable of the carpenter who believes that all of the world’s ills can be fixed with a hammer, sometimes producers get so focused on their type of producing that they narrowly discount the value of the others.  Focus is good, but narrow thinking usually limits one’s effectiveness.

True Abundance

Finally, the third common mistake made by producers is to look down on non-producers.  One of the true principles taught by prophets is that every person is inherently as valuable as any other.  True abundance means that we respect people, whatever their chosen path—as long as it is good and honorable.  Producers, all five types, are truly vital to society, but that doesn’t make producers any better than anyone else.

In fact, true abundance producers know that every person is a genius. Every single person.  Some decide not to develop it much, but everyone is a genius.  And producing is really just about getting people to develop that genius.

Producers who understand this point are the most effective producers, because they do it all for the right reasons—a true love of and desire to serve others.  This is what abundance really means.  Everything else falls short.

Real value means people value—and creating value really means helping people choose better lives.  This is what all five types of producing are all about.  Unfortunately, academia seems to have forgotten much of this.  An educational renaissance is needed.