Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Education, Economics, and Self-Government

Larry P. Arnn, the twelfth president of Hillsdale College, received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. From 1977 to 1980, he also studied at the London School of Economics and at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 until his appointment as president of Hillsdale College in 2000, he was president of the Claremont Institute, an education and research organization based in Southern California. In 1996, he was the founding chairman of the California Civil Rights Initiative, the voter-approved ballot initiative that prohibited racial preferences in state employment, education, and contracting. He sits on the board of directors of several organizations, including the Heritage Foundation, the Army War College, and the Claremont Institute. He is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education.

The following is adapted from speeches delivered in Indianapolis, Indiana, on September 24, and in Pocahontas, Arkansas, on October 19, 2009.

I HAVE BEEN ASKED TO talk today about education and economic development. The standard thing to say on this topic is that the former is vital to the latter. We live in the modern world, so we all have to be highly informed and highly skilled and understand the power of modern science. It is a task of the very first importance to train a workforce that will be able to compete in the global marketplace. That is the standard thing to say, and we hear it said often by education bureaucrats from the federal level on down. And of course it is perfectly true, as far as it goes. But there is more to be said.

The practical point of this standard thing to say is that America needs more technical education—more scientists and mathematicians. And of course we do need scientists and mathematicians. But I like to remind people when they say this that the word "technical" comes from the Greek word "techne," which means "art." And Aristotle points out that art is about making, and that the question of what one should make is always superior, in point of order and logic, to the question of how to make it.

What does this mean? Consider one of the greatest scientific achievements of the last century—the development of the atomic bomb. The question of whether to build an atomic bomb, and then the question of whether to drop it on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to end World War II without the need of invading and conquering the Japanese mainland, were more important questions—superior in order and logic—to the question of how to make the bomb. The brilliant physicists who accomplished the latter had immense technical training, but that training gave them no special knowledge about those more important questions. Or to put the point in a slightly different and more general way, a technical education can make a person wealthy and famous, but it does not teach that person what is best to do with wealth and fame.

So the first point I would make about education and economics is the importance of liberal arts education, which is the kind of education offered at Hillsdale College. Many think of liberal arts education as a broad education, but in fact it is a high education. We understand things to be arranged in a hierarchy. Hillsdale College has plenty of science and math majors, and our students go on to the very best graduate and professional schools. But whatever their majors, they learn the distinction I just made about questions of greater and lesser significance, and they study how to think about the very greatest ones.

The second point I want to make has to do with politics and education. The greatest example of economic development in human history was in the United States during the 19th century. At the beginning of that century, we were about five million people huddled along the East Coast. By the end of it we had grown at a rate of about 25 percent—much faster than China is growing today—and had settled an entire continent, largely without the help of modern science. To the question of how it was done, I think the short answer is the Homestead Act—the greatest piece of legislation I know. Signed by President Lincoln in 1862, the Homestead Act is short and beautiful—two qualities good legislation should have, and two qualities in which legislation today is utterly lacking.

What the Homestead Act did was to take the western land of the United States—surely one of the greatest assets ever held by any government in history—and give 160-acre plots to anyone with the backbone to live on them and work them. These plots of land were granted regardless of who someone was and with the certainty that no one settling on them could ever vote for this congressman or that. It is one of the greatest impartial acts of legislation in all of human history. It, and things like it, built America and the character of the people who spread across it.

How does this connect to my first point? It connects because the spirit of the Homestead Act, which led to unprecedented economic growth, could not be more different from the spirit of our legislation today. And the key to this difference is the difference between the education our leaders today have had, and the education students get at Hillsdale.

The principle that justified the Homestead Act has two parts, and both are found in the first 15 lines of the Declaration of Independence. The first is the idea of human equality—the idea that it does not matter what race or what family you come from, it only matters what you do—which has been the source of our greatest struggles in an attempt to live up to it. The second is the idea of the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God." At Hillsdale College, we study the Declaration of Independence as the greatest thing of its kind. The signers of the Declaration were risking their lives. There is a beautiful passage at the end of it where they write, "we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." But the document begins in an opposite mood, because the cause they are willing to die for is not specifically about them at all: "When in the course of human events"—that means not our time, but any time—"it becomes necessary for one people"—that means not our people, but any people—and then this sentence goes on to speak of the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," laws true always and everywhere.

Understood comprehensively, the Declaration points us to an unalterable law of God, visible in nature, that man is inferior to God and superior to the beasts, such that it is unjust for one human being to rule any other without his consent. And it is this same understanding of human nature on which Madison rests his case in Federalist 51, in explaining why government is both necessary and must be limited:

. . . [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. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

This is the understanding that animates legislation like the Homestead Act. And note the humility in it. America's founders understood themselves to be bound and limited by something higher. And it is precisely this understanding that is missing among our political leadership today. Nearly 20 years ago now, when Clarence Thomas was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearings, several senators questioned him about the idea of natural law, which seemed to them a foreign and dangerous idea. And why would it seem that way?

These senators have been taught to understand government as a means by which they can do marvelous things, changing society for the better in countless and unlimited ways. And in this light, the old-fashioned idea of natural law—which, as we saw in the passage from Madison, leads to the idea of limited government—becomes simply an impediment to progress.

President Obama is an impressive man, and there is much good to be said about him. But he falls firmly into this newer school of thought. Let me read you a passage from his book, The Audacity of Hope:

Implicit in [the Constitution's] structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology or theology or "ism," any tyrannical consistency that might lock future generations into a single, unalterable course. . . .

One can see immediately the practical results of this in the health care debate. Advocates of one of the latest plans are proud to place the cost at only $900 billion—apparently it takes $1 trillion to impress in this day and age! But consider that, in most of the plans that have advanced in the Congress, people making in the range of $30,000 to $80,000 a year will be forced to pay health insurance costs—or fines of about the same amount—that come to between ten and 20 percent of their income. They will be compelled to buy plans that have certain specific features. There will be an allocation of health care resources as part of the plan. And it will not be legal to buy or sell a plan that does not fit the criteria. Compare the spirit of this legislation with the spirit of the Homestead Act. There is a bullying spirit behind it. And that bullying spirit is becoming ever more pervasive.

The means are already in place for the federal government to control what people say in elections. As a recent example of how it tries this between elections, consider that Henry Waxman—a congressman of some power and influence—sent a letter in August to the CEOs of health care companies asking for schedules of all salaries above a certain amount, and of the conferences they had been to, and how much they cost, and who was there. Was it a coincidence that he wanted this information just as a health care debate was starting up? Could it be that he was trying to intimidate and silence potential opposition? One of the many "czars"—isn't that an ominous word?—in the Obama administration is Cass Sunstein, the czar of regulatory policy. Mr. Sunstein is a very smart man—a law professor, like the president—but he is on record saying that speech rights should be redistributed by government bureaucrats much as wealth is redistributed through post-New Deal tax and entitlement policy. This is not supposed to be a country where there are czars dealing with things like speech. But it is such a country right now.

The economic policies being proposed these days are very bad. But the principles behind them are worse. They represent a return to the idea that the American Revolution repudiated—the idea that some are equipped by nature or training to manage the lives of others without their consent. I have been making the point lately that people are wrong who accuse the Obama administration of being socialist. I take the president at his word when he says that he has no desire to own the automobile companies. Instead, he wants to control them—and the rest of us as well—through a regulatory apparatus overseen by czars and bureaucrats. And again, his intentions are good. What is bad is the view underlying them of what human beings are. Rather than looking on us as equal beings with a set nature—such that none of us should rule another in the way that God rules man or man rules beast—our political leaders today have been taught to see us as material to be shaped and perfected by experts who have the proper technical training.

It has been close to 100 years now that the majority of people teaching in American colleges and universities have agreed with Woodrow Wilson, one of the founders of the Progressive movement and the first to write explicitly that the Declaration of Independence is obsolete, and that we need to liberate the Constitution from the Declaration's restraints. This liberation leads to the idea of a "living Constitution," characterized by constant change or progress. Absolute truth, to the extent that ordinary people still believe in it, obstructs change or progress—which is why President Obama refers to it, in the passage I read, as tyrannical. But if change or progress is the rule, who is to determine what version of change or progress is good? And the logical problem here—as any Hillsdale student could tell you—is that once you deny the existence of absolute truth, the definition of "good" becomes subjective and the only standard of behavior is what we want—"we," in the political sense, meaning the government or bureaucracy. It reduces politics not to right, but to force. That is why there is this bullying spirit about our government today, and why so many Americans are worried.

It is time for that to stop, and there are two conditions for stopping it. The first is for the ordinary folk of the United States to see in this the despotism that it is, and to rise up and repudiate it. The second thing is longer term, but equally vital: It is to replace leaders who have bad educations with leaders who have good educations. This is our work at Hillsdale College. We aim to recover the meaning of the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" and to place that meaning firmly in the minds and hearts of ambitious young men and women who have the courage to do something with that knowledge. And I swear that we shall not stop pursuing that task.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Mr. Obama - Who Are You?

The Fundamental Transformation of America

When Obama wrote a book and said he was mentored as a youth by Frank,

(Frank Marshall Davis) an avowed Communist,

people said it didn't matter.

When it was discovered that his grandparents, were strong socialist,

sent Obama's mother to a socialist school, introduced Frank Marshall Davis to

young Obama,

people said it didn't matter.

When people found out that he was enrolled as a Muslim child in school and his

father and step father were both Muslims,

people said it didn't matter.

When he wrote in another book he authored “I will stand with them (Muslims)

should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

people said it didn't matter.

When he admittedly, in his book, said he chose Marxist friends

and professors in college,

people said it didn't matter.

When he traveled to Pakistan , after college on an unknown national passport,

people said it didn't matter.

When he sought the endorsement of the Marxist party in 1996 as he ran

for the Illinois Senate,

people said it doesn't matter.

When he sat in a Chicago Church for twenty years and listened to a preacher

spew hatred for America and preach black liberation theology,

people said it didn't matter.

When an independent Washington organization, that tracks senate voting records,

gave him the distinctive title as the "most liberal senator",

people said it didn't matter.

When the Palestinians in Gaza , set up a fund raising telethon to raise money for his

election campaign,

people said it didn't matter.

When his voting record

supported gun control,

people said it didn't matter.

When he refused to disclose who

donated money to his election campaign,

as other candidates had done,

people said it didn't matter.

When he received endorsements from

people like Louis Farrakhan and

Mummar Kadaffi and Hugo Chavez,

people said it didn't matter.

When it was pointed out that he was

a total, newcomer and had absolutely

no experience at anything except

community organizing,

people said it didn't matter.

When he chose friends and acquaintances

such as Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn

who were revolutionary radicals,

people said it didn't matter.

When his voting record in the Illinois

senate and in the U.S. Senate

came into question,

people said it didn't matter.

When he refused to wear a flag,

lapel pin and did so only

after a public outcry,

people said it didn't matter.

When people started treating him as

a Messiah and children in schools

were taught to sing his praises,

people said it didn't matter.

When he stood with his hands over

his groin area for the playing of the

National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance,

people said it didn't matter.

When he surrounded himself in the White house

with advisors who were pro gun control, pro

abortion, pro homosexual marriage and wanting to

curtail freedom of speech to silence the opposition

people said it didn't matter.

When he aired his views on abortion,

homosexuality and a

host of other issues,

people said it didn't matter.

When he said he favors

sex education in Kindergarten,

including homosexual indoctrination,

people said it didn't matter.

When his background was either

scrubbed or hidden and nothing

could be found about him,

people said it didn't matter.

When the place of his birth

was called into question,

and he refused to produce a birth certificate,

people said it didn't matter.

When he had an association in Chicago

with Tony Rezco, a man of questionable character,

who is now in prison and had helped Obama

to a sweet deal on the purchase of his home,

people said it didn't matter.

When it became known that George Soros,

a multi-billionaire Marxist,

spent a ton of money to get him elected,

people said it didn't matter.

When he started appointing czars

that were radicals, revolutionaries,

and even avowed Marxist/Communist,

people said it didn't matter.

When he stood before the nation

and told us that his intentions were to

"fundamentally transform this nation"

into something else,

people said it didn't matter.

When it became known that he had

trained ACORN workers in Chicago

and served as an attorney for ACORN,

people said it didn't matter.

When he appointed a cabinet members

and several advisors who were

tax cheats and socialist,

people said it didn't matter.

When he appointed a science czar, John Holdren,

who believes in forced abortions, mass

sterilizations and seizing babies from teen mothers,

people said it didn't matter.

When he appointed Cass Sunstein as regulatory

czar and he believes in "Explicit Consent",

harvesting human organs with out family consent,

and to allow animals to be represented in court,

while banning all hunting,

people said it didn't matter.

When he appointed Kevin Jennings, a homosexual,

and organizer of a group called gay, lesbian, straight,

Education network, as safe school czar and it became known

that he had a history of bad advice to teenagers,

people said it didn't matter.

When he appointed Mark Lloyd as diversity czar

and he believed in curtailing free speech,

taking from one and giving to another to spread

the wealth and admires Hugo Chavez,

people said it didn't matter.

When Valerie Jarrett was selected as Obama's

senior White House advisor and she is an

avowed Socialist,

people said it didn't matter.

When Anita Dunn, White House Communications director

said Mao Tse Tung was her favorite philosopher

and the person she turned to most for inspiration,

people said it didn't matter.

When he appointed Carol Browner as global warming

czar, and she is a well known socialist working

on Cap and trade as the nations largest tax,

people said it doesn't matter.

When he appointed Van Jones, an ex-con and

avowed Communist as green energy czar,

who since had to resign when this was made known,

people said it didn't matter.

When Tom Daschle, Obama's pick for health

and human services secretary could not be

confirmed, because he was a tax cheat,

people said it didn't matter.

When as president of the United States ,

he bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia ,

people said it didn't matter.

When he traveled around the world

criticizing America and never once

talking of her greatness,

people said it didn't matter.

When his actions concerning the middle-east

seemed to support the Palestinians

over Israel , our long time friend,

People said it doesn't matter.

When he took American tax dollars to

resettle thousands of Palestinians

from Gaza to the United States ,

people said it doesn't matter.

When he upset the Europeans by

removing plans for a missile defense system

against the Russians,

People said it doesn't matter.

When he played politics in Afghanistan by

not sending troops the Field Commanders

said we had to have to win,

people said it didn't matter.

When he started spending us into a debt

that was so big

we could not pay it off,

people said it didn't matter.

When he took a huge spending bill

under the guise of stimulus

and used it to pay off organizations,

unions and individuals

that got him elected,

people said it didn't matter.

When he took over insurance companies,

car companies, banks, etc.

people said it didn't matter.

When he took away student loans

from the banks and put it

through the government,

people said it didn't matter.

When he designed plans to take over

the health care system

and put it under government control,

people said it didn't matter.

When he set into motion a plan

to take over the control of all

energy in the United States

through Cap and Trade,

people said it didn't matter.

When he finally completed his

transformation of America

into a Socialist State ,

people finally woke up........

but it was too late.

Any one of these things, in and of themselves does not really matter. But.... when you add them up one by one you get a phenomenal score that points to the fact that our Obama is determined to make America over into a Marxist/Socialist society. All of the items in the preceding paragraphs have been put into place. All can be documented very easily. Before you disavow this, do an internet search. The last paragraph alone is not yet cast in stone. You and I will write that paragraph. Will it read as above or will it be a more happy ending for most of America ? Personally, I like happy endings.

If you are an Obama Supporter, please do not be angry with me because I think your president is a socialist but there are too many facts supporting this. If you seek the truth you will be richer for it. Don't just belittle the opposition. Search for the truth. I did. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Constitutionalist, Libertarians and what have you, we all need to pull together. We all must pull together or watch the demise of a society that we all love and cherish. If you are a religious person, pray for our nation.

Never before in the history of America have we been confronted with problems so huge that the very existence of our country is in jeopardy. Don't rely on most television news and what you read in the newspapers for the truth. Search the internet. Yes, there is a lot of bad information, lies and distortions there too but you are smart enough to spot the fallacies. Newspapers are a dying breed. They are currently seeking a bailout from the government. Do you really think they are about to print the truth? Obama praises all the television news networks except Fox who he has waged war against. There must be a reason. He does not call them down on any specifics, just a general battle against them. If they lie, he should

call them out on it but he doesn't. Please, find the truth, it will set you free.

Our biggest enemy is not China , Russia , Iran ; no, our biggest enemy is a contingent of politicians in Washington DC .

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obama's First 100 Days - Focus On The Family

Print This Article
Forward to a Friend

A Look Back at Obama's First 100 Days

staff reports
'I would hope he would do more to protect families in this country.'
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama will mark his 100th day in office. Focus on the Family Action has analyzed his decisions and policies thus far, as they relate to the family.
In his first 100 days, Obama has:
• Signed an executive order allowing taxpayer funding to go to international groups that promote or provide abortions. The “Mexico City Policy,” as it’s known, also was rescinded by President Bill Clinton and then reinstated by President George W. Bush.
• Opened the door for more human embryos to be destroyed for unethical stem-cell research despite science showing that adult stem cells provide cures; to date, embryonic stem cells have not.
• Begun the process of rescinding the Bush health care provider conscience regulations. This move comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of practicing physicians, a drop one senator described as reaching "crisis proportions." Making it easier for hospitals and medical schools to discriminate against physicians based on their moral or religious beliefs will only drive more of them out of the profession.
• Lifted a seven-year ban on taxpayer funding of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which is linked to forced abortion programs.
• Nominated Hillary Clinton as secretary of State. Clinton is an ardent pro-abortion politician who recently accepted Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger award. During her acceptance speech, Clinton praised the eugenicist Sanger as a great American.
• Nominated Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services. She has accepted campaign contributions from notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller and welcomed him into the governor’s mansion. Sebelius is one of the most pro-abortion governors in the country.
•Nominated Dawn Johnsen, former legal director of NARAL Pro-Choice America, to head the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. Johnsen has called motherhood “involuntary servitude” and has said that restrictions on abortion make women nothing more than “fetal containers."
• Attacked charitable giving by proposing a reduced tax deduction for gifts to nonprofits. If it becomes law, it will have a major impact on faith-based ministry giving and other nonprofits.
• Signed a bill that kills the District of Columbia’s successful school-choice program. The program benefits low-income families by providing private-school scholarships. Approximately 3,500 students have benefited from this program.
• Nominated David Hamilton to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Hamilton has been a board member for the ACLU and a fundraiser for ACORN. He has ordered the Indiana legislature to end its historic practice of beginning each session with a prayer, and has written an opinion in opposition to abortion clinics providing information to women about alternatives.
• Appointed Ellen Moran to a major communications post at the White House. Moran is the former executive director of the pro-abortion EMILY’s List.
• Nominated David Ogden, Tom Perrelli, Elena Kagan and Harold Koh to top Department of Justice and State Department posts. Ogden has been a legal advocate for pornography producers; Perelli helped lead the legal fight to remove the feeding tube from Terri Schiavo; Kagan supported denying military recruiters access to law schools; and Koh strongly advocates mixing foreign law into important U.S. constitutional debates.
• Expressed support for hate-crimes legislation and will sign if it reaches his desk. The House will vote on the measure April 29. The legislation creates a special class of crime based on the victim’s sexual orientation. Those accused of “inducing” a federal hate crime could be held responsible for the actions of another person. For example, pastors preaching against homosexuality could be charged with a crime if someone listening committed a “hate crime” against a gay individual.
• Ordered a legal review of hiring-and-firing standards instituted by faith-based groups that receive federal funding.
• Released a Department of Homeland Security “watch list” that included pro-life Americans.
Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family Action, said: "Focus often gets vilified for our public policy positions, but fundamentally, what Focus on the Family is about is seeing more families like Barack Obama’s in America — a man and a woman committed to their marriage and to each other, raising their kids.
"When we have 40 percent of babies born in ’07 to unwed moms, that’s a problem for our country," he said. "Everybody should be alarmed by that. And I think his first 100 days — we’ll let the historians talk about it.
"What I’m all about is marriage and parenting, and I would hope he would do more to protect families in this country."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

From Mark Alexander of the Patriot Post - Lincoln's Legacy

The "privilege to write history" is a powerful tool and has been and continues to be a way to obfuscate the truth by promoting one's own viewpoint to defend a course of action. But truth, it seems, is a most persistent and undeniable foe of the false. When examined in the interest of learning the truth even if that truth may mean that we have to rethink our positions on our own heroes, so be it. I have read others who have decried the suspension of habeas corpus and others who have defended it as "necessary at that time". But I believe Mark Alexander has brought together the proper perspective of the actions taken by Lincoln. When put up against the thoughts of men that were a part of the founding of our country like John Quincy Adams and the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, history, as it is written about Lincoln, falters.

"Our Constitution was written and ratified "in order secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" as set forth in the Declaration of Independence "endowed by their Creator." It established a Republic intended to reflect the consent of the governed, a nation of laws, not men.

At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin was asked if the delegates formed "a republic or a monarchy." He responded, "A republic if you can keep it."

We have all but lost it." (From A "Living Constitution" for a Dying Republic by Mark Alexander)

Friday Special Edition - Vol. 09 No. 06


"If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it." --Thomas Jefferson


Lincoln's legacy at 200

By Mark Alexander

February 12 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

During his inauguration, Barack Hussein Obama insisted on using Lincoln's Bible as he took his oath of office. Those who know their history might understand why Obama then proceeded to choke on that oath.

Obama, the nation's first half-African American president, was playing on Lincoln's status as "The Great Emancipator," though Obama himself is certainly not the descendant of slaves. His ancestors may well have been slaveholders, though -- and I am not talking about his maternal line. Tens of millions of Africans have been enslaved by other Africans in centuries past. Even though Chattel (house and field) and Pawnship (debt and ransom) slavery was legally abolished in most African nations by the 1930s, millions of African men, women and children remain enslaved today, at least those who escape the slaughter of tribal rivalry.

Not to be outdone by the Obama inaugural, Republican organizations are issuing accolades in honor of their party's patriarch, on this template: "The (name of state) Republican Party salutes and honors Abraham Lincoln on the celebration of his 200th birthday. An extraordinary leader in extraordinary times, Abraham Lincoln's greatness was rooted in his principled leadership and defense of the Constitution."


If the Republican Party would spend more energy linking its birthright to our Constitution rather than Lincoln, it might still enjoy the popular support it had under Ronald Reagan.

Though Lincoln has already been canonized by those who settle for partial histories, in the words of John Adams, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

In our steadfast adherence to The Patriot Post's motto, Veritas Vos Liberabit ("the truth shall set you free"), and our mission to advocate for the restoration of constitutional limits on government, I am compelled to challenge our 16th president's iconic standing.

Lincoln is credited with being the greatest constitutional leader in history, having "preserved the Union," but his popular persona does not reconcile with the historical record. The constitutional federalism envisioned by our Founders and outlined by our Constitution's Bill of Rights was grossly violated by Abraham Lincoln. Arguably, he is responsible for the most grievous constitutional contravention in American history.

Needless to say, when one dares tread upon the record of such a divine figure as Lincoln, one risks all manner of ridicule, even hostility. That notwithstanding, we as Patriots should be willing to look at Lincoln's whole record, even though it may not please our sentiments or comport with the common folklore of most history books. Of course, challenging Lincoln's record is NOT tantamount to suggesting that he believed slavery was anything but an evil, abominable practice. Nor does this challenge suggest that Lincoln himself was not in possession of admirable qualities. It merely suggests, contrary to the popular record, that Lincoln was far from perfect.

It is fitting, then, in this week when the nation recognizes the anniversary of his birth, that we answer this question -- albeit at great peril to the sensibilities of some of our friends and colleagues.

Liberator of the oppressed...

The first of Lincoln's two most oft-noted achievements was ending the abomination of slavery. There is little doubt that Lincoln abhorred slavery, but likewise little doubt that he held racist views toward blacks. His own words undermine his hallowed status as the Great Emancipator.

For example, in his fourth debate with Stephen Douglas, Lincoln argued: "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

Lincoln declared, "What I would most desire would be the separation of the white and black races..."

In 1860, Lincoln's racial views were explicit in these words: "They say that between the nigger and the crocodile they go for the nigger. The proportion, therefore, is, that as the crocodile to the nigger so is the nigger to the white man."

As for delivering slaves from bondage, it was two years after the commencement of hostilities that Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation -- to protests from free laborers in the North, who didn't want emancipated slaves migrating north and competing for their jobs. He did so only as a means to an end, victory in the bloody War Between the States -- "to do more to help the cause."

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery," said Lincoln in regard to the Proclamation. "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union."

In truth, not a single slave was emancipated by the stroke of Lincoln's pen. The Proclamation freed only "slaves within any State ... the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States." In other words, Lincoln declared slaves were "free" in Confederate states, where his proclamation had no power, but excluded slaves in states that were not in rebellion, or areas controlled by the Union army. Slaves in Kentucky, Missouri, Delaware and Maryland were left in bondage.

His own secretary of state, William Seward, lamented, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free."

The great abolitionist Frederick Douglass was so angry with Lincoln for delaying the liberation of some slaves that he scarcely contacted him before 1863, noting that Lincoln was loyal only "to the welfare of the white race..." Ten years after Lincoln's death, Douglass wrote that Lincoln was "preeminently the white man's President" and American blacks were "at best only his step-children."

With his Proclamation, Lincoln succeeded in politicizing the issue and short-circuiting the moral solution to slavery, thus leaving the scourge of racial inequality to fester to this day -- in every state of the Union.

Many historians argue that Southern states would likely have reunited with Northern states before the end of the 19th century had Lincoln allowed for a peaceful and constitutionally accorded secession. Slavery would have been supplanted by moral imperative and technological advances in cotton production. Furthermore, under this reunification model, the constitutional order of the republic would have remained largely intact.

In fact, while the so-called "Civil War" (which by definition, the Union attack on the South was not) eradicated slavery, it also short-circuited the moral imperative regarding racism, leaving the nation with racial tensions that persist today. Ironically, there is now more evidence of ethnic tension in Boston than in Birmingham, in Los Angeles than in Atlanta, and in Chicago than in Charleston.

Preserve the Union...

Of course, the second of Lincoln's most famous achievements was the preservation of the Union.

Despite common folklore, northern aggression was not predicated upon freeing slaves, but, according to Lincoln, "preserving the Union." In his First Inaugural Address Lincoln declared, "I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments."

"Implied, if not expressed"?

This is the first colossal example of errant constitutional interpretation, the advent of the so-called "Living Constitution."

Lincoln also threatened the use of force to maintain the Union when he said, "In [preserving the Union] there needs to be no bloodshed or violence ... unless it be forced upon the national authority."

On the other hand, according to the Confederacy, the War Between the States had as its sole objective the preservation of the constitutional sovereignty of the several states.

The Founding Fathers established the constitutional Union as a voluntary agreement among the several states, subordinate to the Declaration of Independence, which never mentions the nation as a singular entity, but instead repeatedly references the states as sovereign bodies, unanimously asserting their independence. To that end, our Constitution's author, James Madison, in an 1825 letter to our Declaration of Independence's author, Thomas Jefferson, asserted, "On the distinctive principles of the Government ... of the U. States, the best guides are to be found in ... The Declaration of Independence, as the fundamental Act of Union of these States."

The states, in ratifying the Constitution, established the federal government as their agent -- not the other way around. At Virginia's ratification convention, for example, the delegates affirmed "that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to injury or oppression." Were this not true, the federal government would not have been established as federal, but instead a national, unitary and unlimited authority. In large measure as a consequence of the War Between the States, the "federal" government has grown to become an all-but unitary and unlimited authority.

Our Founders upheld the individual sovereignty of the states, even though the wisdom of secessionist movements was a source of debate from the day the Constitution was ratified. Tellingly, Alexander Hamilton, the utmost proponent of centralization among the Founders, noted in Federalist No. 81 that waging war against the states "would be altogether forced and unwarrantable." At the Constitutional Convention, Hamilton argued, "Can any reasonable man be well disposed toward a government which makes war and carnage the only means of supporting itself?"

To provide some context, three decades before the occupation of Fort Sumter, former secretary of war and then South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun argued, "Stripped of all its covering, the naked question is, whether ours is a federal or consolidated government; a constitutional or absolute one; a government resting solidly on the basis of the sovereignty of the states, or on the unrestrained will of a majority; a form of government, as in all other unlimited ones, in which injustice, violence, and force must ultimately prevail."

Two decades before the commencement of hostilities between the states, John Quincy Adams wrote, "If the day should ever come (may Heaven avert it!) when the affections of the people of these States shall be alienated from each other ... far better will it be for the people of the disunited States to part in friendship with each other than to be held together by constraint. Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect Union. ... I hold that it is no perjury, that it is no high-treason, but the exercise of a sacred right to offer such a petition."

But the causal case for states' rights is most aptly demonstrated by the words and actions of Gen. Robert E. Lee, who detested slavery and opposed secession. In 1860, however, Gen. Lee declined Lincoln's request that he take command of the Army of the Potomac, saying that his first allegiance was to his home state of Virginia: "I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the army, and save in defense of my native state ... I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword." He would, soon thereafter, take command of the Army of Northern Virginia, rallying his officers with these words: "Let each man resolve to be victorious, and that the right of self-government, liberty and peace shall find him a defender."

In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln employed lofty rhetoric to conceal the truth of our nation's most costly war -- a war that resulted in the deaths of some 600,000 Americans and the severe disabling of more than 400,000 others. He claimed to be fighting so that "this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." In fact, Lincoln was ensuring just the opposite by waging an appallingly bloody war while ignoring calls for negotiated peace. It was the "rebels" who were intent on self-government, and it was Lincoln who rejected their right to that end, despite our Founders' clear admonition to the contrary in the Declaration.

Moreover, had Lincoln's actions been subjected to the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention (the first being codified in 1864), he and his principal military commanders, with Gen. William T. Sherman heading the list, would have been tried for war crimes. This included waging "total war" against not just combatants, but the entire civilian population. It is estimated that Sherman's march to the sea was responsible for the rape and murder of tens of thousands of civilians.

Further solidifying their wartime legacy, Sherman, Gen. Philip Sheridan, and young Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer (whose division blocked Gen. Lee's retreat from Appomattox), spent the next ten years waging unprecedented racial genocide against the Plains Indians.

Lincoln's war may have preserved the Union geographically (at great cost to the Constitution), but politically and philosophically, the constitutional foundation for a voluntary union was shredded by sword, rifle and cannon.

"Reconstruction" followed the war, and with it an additional period of Southern probation, plunder and misery, leading Robert E. Lee to conclude, "If I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in my right hand."

Little reported and lightly regarded in our history books is the way Lincoln abused and discarded the individual rights of Northern citizens. Tens of thousands of citizens were imprisoned (most without trial) for political opposition, or "treason," and their property confiscated. Habeas corpus and, in effect, the entire Bill of Rights was suspended. Newspapers were shut down and legislators detained so they could not offer any vote unfavorable to Lincoln's conquest.

In fact, the Declaration of Independence details remarkably similar abuses by King George to those committed by Lincoln: the "Military [became] independent of and superior to the Civil power"; he imposed taxes without consent; citizens were deprived "in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury"; state legislatures were suspended in order to prevent more secessions; he "plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people ... scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation."

The final analysis...

Chief among the spoils of victory is the privilege of writing the history.

Lincoln said, "Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."

Lincoln's enduring reputation is the result of his martyrdom. He was murdered on Good Friday and the metaphorical comparisons between Lincoln and Jesus were numerous.

Typical is this observation three days after his death by Parke Godwin, editor of the New York Evening Post: "No loss has been comparable to his. Never in human history has there been so universal, so spontaneous, so profound an expression of a nation's bereavement. [He was] our supremest leader -- our safest counselor -- our wisest friend -- our dear father."

A more thorough and dispassionate reading of history, however, reveals a substantial expanse between his reputation and his character.

"America will never be destroyed from the outside," Lincoln declared. "If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." Never were truer words spoken.

While the War Between the States concluded in 1865, the battle for states' rights -- the struggle to restore constitutional federalism -- remains spirited, particularly among the ranks of our Patriot readers.

In his inaugural speech, Barack Obama quoted Lincoln: "We are not enemies, but friends.... Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection."

Let us hope that he pays more heed to those words than did Lincoln.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So You Think Teddy Roosevelt Was A Conservative?

Do you have a soft spot for Teddy the "Rough Rider". I do or did until I realized through this article that even the history books that I had emphasized his flamboyant character rather than the reality of his politics.

Yes, there are still many things that I admire about him....for example a quote of his about hyphenated Americans:


German or the Irishman who becomes an American.

We have no use for the German or Irishman who

remains such. We do not wish German-Americans and

Irish-Americans who figure as such in our social and

political life; we want only Americans, and, provided

they are such, we do not care whether they are of native

or of Irish or of German ancestry. We have no room in

any healthy American community for a German-

American vote or an Irish-American vote, and it is

contemptible demagogy to put planks into any party

platform with the purpose of catching such a vote. We

have no room for any people who do not act and vote

simply as Americans and nothing else. (Forum, April 1894.) Mem. Ed. XV. 24; Nat. Ed.

XIII, 21.

But contrast that with:

If on this continent we merely build another country of great but unjustly divided material prosperity, we shall have done nothing; and we shall do as little if we merely set the greed of envy against the greed of arrogance, and thereby destroy the material well-being of all of us. . . . The worth of our great experiment depends upon its being in good faith an experiment—the first that has ever been tried—in true democracy on the scale of a continent, an a scale as vast as that of the mightiest empires of the Old World. Surely this is a noble ideal, an ideal for which it is worth while to strive, an ideal for which at need it is worth while to sacrifice much; for our ideal is the rule of all the people in a spirit of friendliest brotherhood toward each and every one of the people. (At Carnegie Hall, New York City, March 20, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 223; Nat. Ed. XVII, 170. (Emphasis added by me)

In all of his many talks and famous quotes he sounds so right then in the midst of it all comes the lies, the bombs. These are two that jumped out at me once I started reading with a more opened mind. We are not a TRUE DEMOCRACY nor did we have unjustly divided property until big government. Besides, who says what is unjustly divided property....the government?

I believe that Calvin Coolidge was the last of our Presidents that did not expand government.

Theodore Roosevelt Was No Conservative

There's a reason he left the GOP to lead the Progressive Party.

We know that Barack Obama and his allies identify themselves as "progressives," and that they aim to implement the big-government liberalism that originated in America's Progressive Era and was consummated in the New Deal. What remains a mystery is why some conservatives want to claim this progressive identity as their own -- particularly as it was manifested by Theodore Roosevelt.

[Commentary] Corbis

The fact that conservative politicians such as John McCain and writers like William Kristol and Karl Rove are attracted to our 26th president is strange because, if we want to understand where in the American political tradition the idea of unlimited, redistributive government came from, we need look no further than to Roosevelt and others who shared his outlook.

Progressives of both parties, including Roosevelt, were the original big-government liberals. They understood full well that the greatest obstacle to their schemes of social justice and equality of material condition was the U.S. Constitution as it was originally written and understood: as creating a national government of limited, enumerated powers that was dedicated to securing the individual natural rights of its citizens, especially liberty of contract and private property.

It was the Republican TR, who insisted in his 1910 speech on the "New Nationalism" that there was a "general right of the community to regulate" the earning of income and use of private property "to whatever degree the public welfare may require it." He was at one here with Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who had in 1885 condemned Americans' respect for their Constitution as "blind worship," and suggested that his countrymen dedicate themselves to the Declaration of Independence by leaving out its "preface" -- i.e., the part of it that establishes the protection of equal natural rights as the permanent task of government.

In his "Autobiography," Roosevelt wrote that he "declined to adopt the view that what was imperatively necessary for the nation could not be done by the President unless he could find some specific authorization to do it." The national government, in TR's view, was not one of enumerated powers but of general powers, and the purpose of the Constitution was merely to state the narrow exceptions to that rule.

This is a view of government directly opposed by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 84. Hamilton explains there that the fundamental difference between a republican constitution and a monarchic one is that the latter reserves some liberty for the people by stating specific exceptions to the assumed general power of the crown, whereas the former assumes from the beginning that the power of the people is the general rule, and the power of the government the exception.

TR turns this on its head. In his New Nationalism speech he noted how, in aiming to use state power to bring about economic equality, the government should permit a man to earn and keep his property "only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community." The government itself of course would determine what represented a benefit to the community, and whether society would be better off if an individual's wealth was transferred to somebody else.

We can see the triumph of this outlook in progressive income taxation, which TR trumpeted in his speech (along with progressive estate taxes). We may also see this theory in action when a government seizes private property through eminent domain, transferring it to others in order to generate higher tax revenues -- a practice blessed by the Supreme Court in its notorious Kelo v. New London decision of 2005.

Some conservatives today are misled by the battle between TR and Wilson in the 1912 presidential election. But Wilson implemented most of TR's program once he took office in 1913, including a progressive income tax and the establishment of several regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission.

Others are misled by TR's crusade against an activist judiciary. But unlike our courts today, the judiciary during the Progressive era properly struck down legislation that violated our bedrock rights to liberty of contract and private property. TR hated the judiciary precisely for standing up for the Constitution; this is certainly no reason for conservatives today to latch on to his antijudicial rhetoric.

Many who respect individual liberty and the free market believe that the electoral tide has turned, and that an era of big government is inevitable. But recall that John McCain gained traction in the closing days of his campaign only when he attacked Mr. Obama's desire to "spread the wealth" through higher tax rates on the upper-income earners. His attack clearly resonated among the public. But it came too late, and truth be told, his heart wasn't really in it.

Looking ahead, conservatives hardly need to look back to progressives for inspiration. If there is a desire to "conserve" or restore something about our political tradition that has been lost with the rise of modern liberalism, how about the American founding as a model? It is with the founders that we can find the patriotic promotion of America as an exceptionally great nation -- a notion that attracts some conservatives to TR.

The difference is that, with the founders as a model, we get the idea of American greatness, but without the progressives' assault on the very enduring principles that justify America's claim to greatness in the first place.

Mr. Pestritto is the Shipley Professor of the American Constitution at Hillsdale College and a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute. Among his books are "Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Change has Definitely Begun - Barack Obama's Legacy

We are apparently going to transparency in the new White House. We are also going to see a new era of turning our backs on God unlike any that has gone on before.

To review the several Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda go to the then the Briefing Room button then choose Executive Orders.





SUBJECT: Mexico City Policy and Assistance for Voluntary Population Planning

The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151b(f)(1)), prohibits nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that receive Federal funds from using those funds "to pay for the performance of abortions as a method of family planning, or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions." The August 1984 announcement by President Reagan of what has become known as the "Mexico City Policy" directed the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand this limitation and withhold USAID funds from NGOs that use non-USAID funds to engage in a wide range of activities, including providing advice, counseling, or information regarding abortion, or lobbying a foreign government to legalize or make abortion available. The Mexico City Policy was in effect from 1985 until 1993, when it was rescinded by President Clinton. President George W. Bush reinstated the policy in 2001, implementing it through conditions in USAID grant awards, and subsequently extended the policy to "voluntary population planning" assistance provided by the Department of State.

These excessively broad conditions on grants and assistance awards are unwarranted. Moreover, they have undermined efforts to promote safe and effective voluntary family planning programs in foreign nations. Accordingly, I hereby revoke the Presidential memorandum of January 22, 2001, for the Administrator of USAID (Restoration of the Mexico City Policy), the Presidential memorandum of March 28, 2001, for the Administrator of USAID (Restoration of the Mexico City Policy), and the Presidential memorandum of August 29, 2003, for the Secretary of State (Assistance for Voluntary Population Planning). In addition, I direct the Secretary of State and the Administrator of USAID to take the following actions with respect to conditions in voluntary population planning assistance and USAID grants that were imposed pursuant to either the 2001 or 2003 memoranda and that are not required by the Foreign Assistance Act or any other law: (1) immediately waive such conditions in any current grants, and (2) notify current grantees, as soon as possible, that these conditions have been waived. I further direct that the Department of State and USAID immediately cease imposing these conditions in any future grants.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

The Secretary of State is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.


THE WHITE HOUSE, January 23, 2009.

And here is the finely worded justification to expand abortion around the world using American taxpayers funding:

Saturday, January 24th, 2009 at 10:12 am

Statement released after the President rescinds "Mexico City Policy"

Yesterday, President Obama rescinded the "Mexico City Policy" and released the following statement:

It is clear that the provisions of the Mexico City Policy are unnecessarily broad and unwarranted under current law, and for the past eight years, they have undermined efforts to promote safe and effective voluntary family planning in developing countries. For these reasons, it is right for us to rescind this policy and restore critical efforts to protect and empower women and promote global economic development.

For too long, international family planning assistance has been used as a political wedge issue, the subject of a back and forth debate that has served only to divide us. I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate.

It is time that we end the politicization of this issue. In the coming weeks, my Administration will initiate a fresh conversation on family planning, working to find areas of common ground to best meet the needs of women and families at home and around the world.

I have directed my staff to reach out to those on all sides of this issue to achieve the goal of reducing unintended pregnancies. They will also work to promote safe motherhood, reduce maternal and infant mortality rates and increase educational and economic opportunities for women and girls.

In addition, I look forward to working with Congress to restore U.S. financial support for the U.N. Population Fund. By resuming funding to UNFPA, the U.S. will be joining 180 other donor nations working collaboratively to reduce poverty, improve the health of women and children, prevent HIV/AIDS and provide family planning assistance to women in 154 countries.