Monday, May 28, 2012

Don't like the 17th amendment? Blame Theodore Roosevelt

In a book titled "Progressive Principles", which is a collection of Roosevelt's speeches, (and which Roosevelt himself endorsed, see the preface) Roosevelt made clear his favor for the direct election of senators: (Page 3 - April 3rd, 1912)
For this purpose we believe in securing for the people the direct election of United States Senators exactly as the people have already secured in actual practice the direct election of the President.

Page 65: (February 21st, 1912)

I believe in the election of United States Senators by direct vote.

Page 315: (August 17th, 1912 - Bull Moose platform)

In particular, the party declares for direct primaries for the nomination of State and National officers, for Nation-wide preferential primaries for candidates for the Presidency, for the direct election of United States Senators by the people; and we urge on the States the policy of the short ballot, with responsibility to the people secured by the initiative, referendum, and recall.

As an aside note, I'd bet that many people didn't realize that all of these things were originally a part of the progressive program. All of this makes sense, when you consider the massive amounts of propaganda that progressives were putting out back in those days, and do still to this day.

There are a lot of people who will do a lot of hating on Woodrow Wilson for all of the things that were done on his watch(and almost the entirety of it is rightfully deserved. See my archives, I've probably posted about Wilson more than any other), but it's long been forgotten in far too many quarters that much of Wilson's program was either an extension of Roosevelt's or was the direct implementation of it.

At the time that these speeches of his were being given, the 17th would've been making it's way through state legislatures.

Now, it's true that there may have been more consistent voices out there agitating toward the implemtation of direct senatorial election, in particular, William Jennings Bryan. But as a former President, Roosevelt's voice would've been a powerful affirmative voice toward it's implementation given his popularity. And as the leader of the progressive party, Roosevelt's position on the matter should not be forgotten.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Isn't planning in itself a form of tyranny?

Yes. Planning is tyranny.

At some point during the closing of World War II, Max Lerner penned an essay titled "To Halt in this Land" in which he asks that very question, and here is how he answers it:(Page 150)

The third question may be: "Isn't all this tyrannical? Isn't planning in itself a form of tyranny?" I don't think so. We have been planning our war economy without tyranny. There were many who said before 1941 that if America entered the war against fascism it would itself become fascist in the process, that in a war for freedom we would lose our own freedom. We have neither lost our freedom nor become fascist. Planning is a neutral instrument, like an airplane. It can be used for purposes of destruction, or democratic survival.

I couldn't read the full essay, parts of it were blocked by Google. But here are some general observations:

Planning is indeed a form of tyranny, when applied by a government to it's own citizens. Hayek's book "The Road to Serfdom" could(theoretically) be summarized down to one single word, and that word would be planning, in the context of what it is that forces civil society to spiral down the rathole.(The word "planning" appears well over 100 times in "Road")

Considering Hayek, in looking at the table of contents of this book "The Return to Freedom", it strikes me that the second essay in the book is written by Carl L Becker, someone who is mentioned in The Road to Serfdom. See page 174, read that page if you have the book. Planning is indeed a form of tyranny - "planned freedom" is the most poisonous type of oxymoron, as it seeks to confuse people who know well enough that they don't want to be a slave to a tyrant, but doesn't yet realize that a liar stands before them selling them a bill of goods.

Reagan addressed this very concept as well:

"The full power of centralized government"—this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don't control things. A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose.

This is the difference between planning in theory, and planning in practice. Governments necessarily have to use force and coercion in order to implement their schemes, and moreover:

For three decades, we've sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan.

This right here is what makes it tyrannical, all things can be tested in reality, and when we test the theory of planning vs the practice of planning, planners treat individuals very, very poorly. Because when governments have usurped that much power over the people they govern, they don't stop ruining peoples lives. If the plan fails, the planners keep finding an excuses and devise new schemes in what becomes one big never-ending destructive path - The Road to Serfdom.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Woodrow Wilson school of thought in matters of judicial activism

In "Constitutional government in the United States", Woodrow Wilson wrote the following: (Page 167)
The weightiest import of the matter is seen only when it is remembered that the courts are the instruments of the nation's growth, and that the way in which they serve that use will have much to do with the integrity of every national process. If they determine what powers are to be exercised under the Constitution, they by the same token determine also the adequacy of the Constitution in respect of the needs and interests of the nation; our conscience in matters of law and our opportunity in matters of politics are in their hands.

The courts are the instrument of growth? Because it is they who 'determine the adequacy of the constitution', it's all in their hands. Wilson explains this further:

There is so much to justify the criticism of our German critics; but they have not put their fingers upon the right point of criticism. It is not true that in judging of what Congress or the President has done, our courts enter the natural field of discretion or of judgment which belongs to other branches of government, a field in its nature political, where lie the choices of policy and of authority.

How odd. The 'German critics' were wrong, and Wilson seeks to correct them and show them the real place they should criticize. And with that as the precursor, I take this as a complaint. Wilson is stating that the courts aren't political enough - just like this; This is Obama complaining that the government isn't powerful enough, so too here in this book Wilson wants a more political court. He continues:

That field they respectfully avoid, and confine themselves to the necessary conclusions drawn from written law. But it is true that their power is political; that if they had interpreted the Constitution in its strict letter, as some proposed, and not in its spirit, like the charter of a business corporation and not like the charter of a living government, the vehicle of a nation's life, it would have proved a strait-jacket, a means not of liberty and development, but of mere restriction and embarrassment.

Again, just like Obama, Wilson is complaining here. If only the courts would cease all this strict constructionism, then Wilson could redistribute wealth and centrally plan every part of American life. Wilson was very much into this business of government-as-an-organism and here he makes it plain that he views government as a means of liberty and development. This is the antithesis of what the founders intended. And once more, Wilson puts on display his contempt for the founders by placing 'restriction and embarassment' next to each other. That the constitution is a government-limiting document is a good thing, it is these limits that guarantee the liberty of the people. It's very important to understand that when progressives prattle on about 'liberty', they have a very different meaning. He continues:

I have spoken of the statesmanship of control expected of our courts; but there is also the statesmanship of adaptation characteristic of all great systems of law since the days of the Roman praetor; and there can be no doubt that we have been singular among the nations in looking to our courts for that double function of statesmanship, for the means of growth. as well as for the restraint of ordered method.

The statesmanship of adaptation, as a "double function". What does he mean by this? He tells us:(Page 172)

What we should ask of our judges is that they prove themselves such men as can discriminate between the opinion of the moment and the opinion of the age, between the opinion which springs, a legitimate essence, from the enlightened judgment of men of thought and good conscience, and the opinion of desire, of self-interest, of impulse and impatience.

Woodrow Wilson was not playing games. He intended to remake America, just like Obama does. And well before he was elected president(He wrote this in 1908) just like Obama, he saw the courts as a vehicle to expand government. This is evident in that he's not asking the courts to stick within the realm of fact and law, but rather opinions of varying type. In another chapter of the book(page 193) he writes this:

The character of the process of constitutional adaptation depends first of all upon the wise or unwise choice of statesmen, but ultimately and chiefly upon the opinion and purpose of the courts. The chief instrumentality by which the law of the Constitution has been extended to cover the facts of national development has of course been judicial interpretation, the decisions of the courts. The process of formal amendment of the Constitution was made so difficult by the provisions of the Constitution itself that it has seldom been feasible to use it; and the difficulty of formal amendment has undoubtedly made the courts more liberal, not to say more lax, in their interpretation than they would otherwise have been. The whole business of adaptation has been theirs, and they have undertaken it with open minds, sometimes even with boldness and a touch of audacity.

So in many instances, we progressives can use the courts to circumvent the amendment process. Why go through all that messy nonsense of asking the states? Just pack the courts, and make it so.

In a lot of ways, the universities are the source of America's undoing. No doubt Wilson talked about ideas like this with all of his buds at Princeton and elsewhere, formulating ways of getting this sort of thing right.

Friday, May 25, 2012

You need to know about Brett Kimberlin

Today is being dubbed "Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day", and I'll certainly join in.

The Blaze has a tremendous posting about this story, click here:

Michelle Malkin also has a long posting about this, here, as does the Washington Examiner, here.

I used to think I'd never live to see days when freedom of speech would come under assault in America, but that changed a few years ago when I learned about the progressives' history and that it's already happened. Now I take things like this very seriously, because history repeats itself.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Progressivism: The purpose of colleges is to indoctrinate and manipulate

The following words are attributed to Woodrow Wilson in 1909: (14th quote down)
The purpose of a university should be to make a son as unlike his father as possible. By the time a man has grown old enough to have a son in college he has specialized. The university should generalize the treatment of its undergraduates, should struggle to put them in touch with every force of life.

This is important, for several reasons. He's making clear the progressive point of view about universities - they're not really there to educate people with meaningful and substantive information(although, some of what will come out of a college education will inevitably be useful) what they're really there for is to indoctrinate! To turn students into good little progressives. The progressive view is that colleges are a manufacturing plant. And I'm not being hyperbolic about this, it's no wonder that after the Days of Rage, Ayers and Dohrn decided to become professors. But note how the line is thrown in there about specialization vs generalization. I'll explain this further in a minute.

Now, I can verify that this is a true Woodrow Wilson quote by referencing the following volume from Arthur Link's "Papers of Woodrow Wilson", in this case, Volume 19. But by repeatedly massaging the various search terms, I was able to get a large portion of what was actually written here, and it is much worse than the small snippet above leads you to believe. I was able to extract about a page and a half, pages 99/100. This will begin badly because it's the beginning of the page, I can't seem to get at what's at the end of page 98. What you're about to read is a portion of a newspaper article, The Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 13, 1909: (Or, that's what Link attributes, anyways)

of accomplishing their work through the subterranean channels of their committees. The public might then be permitted to assist at the "general assize" of a subject. The country would then be able to weigh the men who come out into the open. It would reject those who remained in the background.

"A senator complained rather peevishly to me some time ago," said Doctor Wilson, "Of the injustice which had been done Congress when the President had been given the right to address it with messages. I replied that I thought it was fortunate that it had been so. The President's messages are given to the newspapers and through them he speaks to the people.

Few members of Congress speak in such a manner that their words are read so widely. "It is [not] an ideal situation in which Speaker Speaker [Joseph Gurney] Cannon suspects everything the President does and the President rejects everything Mr. Cannon does, while the Supreme Court stands between them. I think it desirable to have a President who can express himself forcibly. The President understands the foreign relations of the country as few others do. He is in a position to He is in a position to possess such knowledge of its domestic condition as few may possess." Doctor Wilson believed that we had emerged from the era of "regulation." We had been making experiments and the men who know most had not been advising us. Lawyers had been "standing pat" with the corporations by which they had been employed, saying that they would take advantage of every opportunity the law afforded to withstand the tendency. It had become the duty of every corporation lawyer to advise the corporation by which he was employed to correct the abuses which had caused the criticism of them.

Time was when public life had been easy. It had ceased to be easy. America had become a world power. It must cease to be provincial if it would grow, keep abreast of the times.

"The purpose of a university should be to make a son as unlike his father as possible," He said. "By the time a man has grown old enough to have a son in college he has specialized. The university should generalize the treatment of its undergraduates, should struggle to put them in touch with every force of life. Every man of established success is dangerous to society. His tendency is to keep society as it is. His success has been founded upon it. You will not find many reformers among the successful men. A man told me once that he left college interested in humanity. At 40 he was interested only in an industry to which he had applied himself. At 60 he was interested only in his bank account. Any social change affects that bank account. Society cannot progress without change." The relation of the university to life was the relation of the conception to the act, he said; the relation of the vision to that slow, toiling process by which an end was accomplished. University extension societies should extend the influence of the university to the general public.

Now, having a fuller view of Wilson's whole though we can proceed to examine just how dirty progressivism really is:

Time was when public life had been easy. It had ceased to be easy. America had become a world power. It must cease to be provincial if it would grow, keep abreast of the times.

This is common amongst progressives. They want one single nation,(or even better, global) because it's easier to centrally plan than 50 "provinces" are. In Wilson's day, there were only 48 provinces - still too many. Wilson continues:

"The purpose of a university should be to make a son as unlike his father as possible," He said. "By the time a man has grown old enough to have a son in college he has specialized. The university should generalize the treatment of its undergraduates, should struggle to put them in touch with every force of life. Every man of established success is dangerous to society. His tendency is to keep society as it is. His success has been founded upon it. You will not find many reformers among the successful men.

Toward the beginning of the posting I made a comment about generalization vs specialization. Now Wilson's thought comes into much clearer view. Those who have gone through the paces, become established in life, have specialized in some way; those who may have opened their own business, or done well climbing the ladder at whatever company they work for - these people don't want to throw it all away! Wilson recognizes this. So therefore, the successful man is a threat. A threat to social change. A threat to progressives. A threat to the schemes of the do-gooder. Seeing this quote in a much fuller context, you are seeing just how similar that Barack Obama is to Woodrow Wilson.(or vice versa) In short, this is a complaint. Woodrow Wilson wanted to centrally plan society, and he wanted to fundamentally change everything he possibly could. But so many of you d@#m successful people are out there in society and are wishing to remain successful, you stood in Woodrow Wilson's way. But that's ok. Woodrow had a plan. He'll indoctrinate your kids and make them the exact opposite of you - make them into revolutionaries. He continues:

You will not find many reformers among the successful men. A man told me once that he left college interested in humanity. At 40 he was interested only in an industry to which he had applied himself. At 60 he was interested only in his bank account. Any social change affects that bank account. Society cannot progress without change." The relation of the university to life was the relation of the conception to the act, he said; the relation of the vision to that slow, toiling process by which an end was accomplished. University extension societies should extend the influence of the university to the general public.

Reading this makes my blood boil. So again, Wilson makes clear what he said at the top. He wants to change society, and you successful people are the ones standing in the way of the schemes of the planner. Especially those of you with big bank accounts. It isn't just marxists who hate the rich, Wilson wasn't a marxist.

The quote at the beginning of the posting is nearly out of context, because it leaves one with the impression that Wilson is merely making some statement about making sure students are educated, and more prepared to enter life as productive citizens. That's not who Wilson was, he could've cared less about any of that. This statement's real intent, in context, is an open statement of intent to remake America into something it was never meant to be. And at the end, Wilson also inadvertently admits to what it is that progressives really mean by 'progress'. Wilson absolutely hated the principles of the Founding Fathers, and this is more of his words that go into establishing that concept. What once was, is old. It's dusty. It's outdated. It's provincial. And the universities are our best vehicle for permanently changing it into something else. A "fundamental transformation", according to our current dear leader Obama.

And Wilson was not the only one who looked at colleges this way. John Dewey, widely regarded as the Father of Modern Education, held a very similar, perhaps identical view. As did Horace Mann, who considered your children to be hostages to their cause. Nice group of people, eh?

I really can't stand how progressives look at American society. What the founders gave us is totally unique, and they want to destroy it because they know better than we do. Progressivism is totally unacceptable to me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why do newspapers have a sports section?

If you thought to yourself "because it brings in revenue" you'd be correct in a modern sense. But that answer is so overly generic as to be potentially meaningless, because it doesn't get to the root of the question. Why newspapers have sports sections is explained in a study done a century ago of newspapers, done by Will Irwin in his "The American Newspaper". Part 1, "The Power of the Press" explains the following:
On the other extreme, the yellow journals a few years ago, put some of their best cartoonists and cleverest writers into the sporting department. This created an artificial demand for "sporting stuff" far beyond the natural appetite of even an English-speaking people. That demand became so insistent that the other newspapers of all shades of opinion were forced to meet it; and now no newspaper is so conservative and intellectual as not to have a sporting page.

So to be specific, newspapers have sports sections because of propaganda. In one word. Because of yellow journalists. You could enlarge this into a phrase: newspapers have sports sections because they manipulate their readers. Only in the most generic of all senses can it be stated that newspapers have sports sections to make money. They essentially expanded their product line through the use of propaganda.

I wrote a larger posting about what's contained in the first part of this study yesterday, here, where other ways that newspapers manipulate people is illustrated, and he's not talking solely about the editorial pages where opinion rules.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Study: The power of the press is the power to omit and shape public opinion

I never cease to be amazed by the things I find by digging around in old progressive-era publications. At one point, they examined themselves and their own newspaper establishments.(All 15 segments) I would be shocked if anything like this were published today, with this level of candor. But 100 years ago the progressives thought they owned America lock, stock, and barrel. The primary author of the study was Will Irwin, who is still remembered to this day for this series of news articles - it's significant enough to have it's own section within Irwin's Wikipedia entry. In reading part 1 of the study, "The Power of the Press", he goes into detail about how newspapers can abuse information to reach a desired end result:
As a matter of fact, a newspaper may, by iteration, create public opinion and public taste for almost anything-provided it has not some rival contradicting all its iterations. William R. Nelson, with the Kansas City "Star" and "Times" for years had his field almost to himself. He educated his public to a taste for a calm, conservative and well written kind of reporting. When Tammen and Bonfils broke into Kansas City with the yellow "Post" their hardest task was to overcome the taste for Nelson's kind of journalism. Harrison Gray Otis of the Los Angeles "Times" was for years nearly as great a dictator in his community as Nelson in Kansas City. He hated labor unionism. The fact that Los Angeles is a poor union town, while its neighbors have been dominated by labor unions, is attributed to Otis; and he did it not by editorial fulminations, but by publishing all the news that tended to injure the unions and suppressing all that tended to help them. So he created in the minds of readers originally unbiased a picture of a labor union as a grotesque, unfair tyrant.

And the reverse is true today. But this goes way beyond unions, how much reporting have you seen that's anti-tea party and pro-occupy? How much reporting have you seen lamenting the Mourdock primary challenge landslide? When will the LA Times release that Obama/Khalidi tape? When will any other media outlet call for the LA Times to release that tape? They won't. They're "wink wink, nod nod" in it together. The article continues:

When Lincoln Stcffens was city editor of the old New York "Commercial Advertiser" he decided to ram painting and the fine arts in general down the throats of his readers. A newspaper could hardly set for itself a harder task, since genuine appreciation of the fine arts is the last trimming of culture. However by publishing the best art criticism he could get, together with educative articles on the first principles, and by reporting intelligently all the exhibitions, he created such a demand among his readers that when pressure of "live matter" crowded out art for a few days, subscribers used to write protesting.

Irwin himself is guilty of unbias here, he doesn't use the word 'progressive' as he did earlier to say some newspapers were conservative. But the important point here is noting just how successful newspaper journalists are at actually shaping public opinion. The article continues:

On the other extreme, the yellow journals a few years ago, put some of their best cartoonists and cleverest writers into the sporting department. This created an artificial demand for "sporting stuff" far beyond the natural appetite of even an English-speaking people. That demand became so insistent that the other newspapers of all shades of opinion were forced to meet it; and now no newspaper is so conservative and intellectual as not to have a sporting page.

This is incredible. So because of propaganda efforts, that's why all modern newspapers have sports sections. Who knew? Here is how the article ends:

Directly to the point is an experience of that fighting independent journal, the Philadelphia "North American." It had declared for local option. A committee of brewers waited on the editor; they represented one of the biggest groups in their business. "This is an ultimatum" they said. "You must change your policy or lose our advertising. We'll be easy on you. We don't ask you to alter your editorial policy, but you must stop printing news of local option victories." So the deepest and shrewdest enemies of the body politic give practical testimony to the "power of the press" in its modern form.

The pedants are wrong; the American press has more influence than it ever had in any other time, in any other country. No other extrajudicial force, except religion, is half so powerful.

This explains why so many hours of talk radio by all these hosts are devoted to nothing more than refuting the media. The news pages aren't used to tell the truth, they don't even try. What the news pages are there for are to "regiment and guide the masses". It's no coincidence that he too(Bernays), used to be a journalist.

The American Newspaper, by Will Irwin

Collier's once did a study of journalism, and in these there are some interesting findings. It's no wonder that it's been largely forgotten.

Part 1: "The Power of the Press"
Part 2: "The Dim Beginnings"
Part 3: "The Fourth Current"
Part 4: "The Spread and Decline of Yellow Journalism"
Part 5: "What is News?"
Part 6: "The Editor and the News"
Part 7: "The Reporter and the News"
Part 8: "All the News That's Fit to Print"
Part 9: "The Advertising Influence"
Part 10: "The Unhealthy Alliance"
Part 11: "Our Kind of People"
Part 12: "The Foe from Within"
Part 13: "The New Era"
Part 14: "The Press of Two Cities"
Part 15: "The Voice of a Generation"

The American Newspaper: A Series First Appearing in Colliers, January-July 1911

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Where is the wall of separation when the courthouse is approved for the common temple?

Those of you who have read The 5000 year leap will recognize the question. :-) (Page 71)

I read the following news article and I about had a cow, but my outlook on things it to be proactive - so I recorded this. These progressives will not stop assaulting our society until we force them to do so. And the worst part is, they "use Jefferson's words" to launch their assault. The best way to stop them is to correct the record. Mr "wall of separation" is who they would have you believe that Jefferson was. Jefferson also wrote this, regarding the place he lived:

"In our village of Charlottesville, there is a good degree of religion, with a small spice only of fanaticism. We have four sects, but without either church or meeting-house. The court-house is the common temple, one Sunday in the month to each. Here, Episcopalian and Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist, meet together, join in hymning their Maker, listen with attention and devotion to each others’ preachers, and all mix in society with perfect harmony."

This comment is consistent with the way he wrote legislation, see "Draft For A Bill For Establishing Religious Freedom, 1779". Everything we've been taught about this so-called "wall of separation" is wrong. Here is how dishonest the people behind this lawsuit are being: (from the story above)

"The court found that religious institutions in the town of just under 100,000 people are primarily Christian, and even Galloway and Stephens testified they knew of no non-Christian places of worship there," reported the AP.

These people dishonor the great Thomas Jefferson by using any issue they can get their hands on to drive free religious expression out of the public square - something Jefferson expressly approved of. Nobody's group is being favored over another, in Jefferson's words "ambition and tyranny". The ambitious and tyrannical here in this story are Galloway, Stephens, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The minimum wage and eugenics, 2

Continuing what I wrote yesterday, Alfred Benedict Wolfe, a professor at Oberlin college, wrote the following: (Page 278)
But if you wish to reduce the marriage rate, give young women economic independence, so that they will not be tempted to marry simply to escape long hours of hard work at low pay, which has to be turned into the family coffers.

Progressive contempt for the family unit goes back well over a century. Wrapped up in discussions of eugenics and the minimum wage is this. He's only speaking theoretically, but these people have known for a long time that the way to empower government is to assault families through devious means. He continues:

Humanitarian consideration aside, the strongest argument for minimum wage legislation for women, is that it will help them toward economic independence, and be one element in the reduction of the birth rate.
The general toning up of industry that would result from universal minimum wage legislation would be noteworthy. If the inefficient entrepreneurs would be eliminated so would the ineffective workers. I am not disposed to waste much sympathy upon either class. The elimination of the inefficient is in line with our traditional emphasis on free competition, and also with the spirit and trend of modern social economics. There is no panacea that can "save" the incompetents except at the expense of the normal people. They are a burden on society and on the producers wherever they are. The real question is whether the inefficient are less burden if we permit them to be employed at low wages and thus tend to fix the wages of the normal workers at the same low level, or whether they would be less burden if we definitely prohibit the employment in industry of any person who can not earn a standard wage, and set such persons aside for special treatment much as we do backward children and subnormls in the schools. 4

Footnote 4 is interesting: he cites Fabian socialist Sidney Webb. The effect that Fabianism has on liberal minded people is rather obvious once considered. Unless A.B. Wolfe was an actual Fabian, that might be considered as well.

But this is important, particularly when it can be shown to be a pattern among academics, because academics is who in a lot of ways drive the thought of the country. Now, Wolf may be forgotten in the history books, but note the journal. The AEA is still with us today. In the day this was written, it carried weight.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The minimum wage and eugenics

I've seen plenty written about how minimum wage laws were a tool of progressives and believers in eugenics 100 years ago, but far too often we are left hanging without direct quotes. Written by Henry R Seager in 1913, "The Minimum Wage as Part of a Program for Social Reform" will have a certain familiarity, if you have read up on eugenics in America. It starts on page 3, ends on page 12. For those who may not be aware of it, Seager is who wrote the book that laid the groundwork for social security. Cute, eh? Here's what he wrote in the essay:
More important, however, than these immediate benefits would be the long run influence of the change on the ability of wage-earners to secure better conditions through their own efforts. Protected from the wearing competition of the casual worker and the drifter, wage-earners in every industry would find it easier to organize to demand better conditions. The greater health and vigor of the whole wage-earning population would lead to more persistent and more intelligent participation in all the movements of the day. The tone of our political life would be elevated and invigorated and we should be better able to grapple with those great economic and social problems that concern not only wage earners but all of us. This is the answer to critics of the minimum wage who object that it is merely negative and that it does not go far enough. If it goes far enough to contribute to the health and vigor of the masses of our citizenship, it must react beneficially upon all the important movements of the day.

Oh, it goes far enough. If you happen to be a regular reader, you're probably sick(as I am) of hearing this repeated slogan from progressives regarding what does or does not "go far enough". Enough is never enough for these people, keep "it doesn't go far enough" in mind as you read. Above, is the closing of the essay, the content is much more specific:(Page 9)

Just as there are special schools in the public school system for children who are backward with their books, so there must be developed industrial and trade schools for young persons who are so backward in their work that they cannot command even the minimum wages which the law prescribes. And it will not be enough to provide such schools. Young persons incapable of adequate self support and without independent resources will have to be assisted while they are taking advantage of them. Moreover, if on completing the course they are still unable to earn an adequate living, they will have to be treated as defectives for whom still further measures must be taken. If their defects are of a sort that render them entirely harmless members of the community they may be given licenses to work for less than the minimum wage required for normal persons. If there are reasons for isolating them from contact with others then they must be sent to farm or industrial colonies where they will be considerately and humanely cared for but under conditions that prevent them from inflicting injury on others. Critics of the minimum wage sometimes speak of this necessity which the plan presents of making special provision for the unemployable as if it were a new problem. It is not a new problem

Of course, all of this will require a huge massive government. New licences, schools, and isolation camps are not something that families do. And of course, we can't leave out the usual call for sterilization: (Page 10)

One important part of the program with reference to those who are defective from birth is to prevent that monstrous crime against future generations involved in permitting them to become the fathers and mothers of children who must suffer under the same handicap. If we are to maintain a race that is to be made up of capable, efficient, and independent individuals and family groups we must courageously cut off lines of heredity that have been proved to be undesirable by isolation or sterilization of the congenitally defective.

And with respect to putting together minimum wage laws and eugenics, he does this himself:

Michigan has just passed an act requiring the sterilization of congenital idiots. This may seem somewhat remote from the minimum wage but such a policy judiciously extended should make easier the task of each on-coming generation which insists that every individual who is regularly employed in the competitive labor market shall receive at least a living wage for his work. We cannot continue to increase the sums we spend for the care of congenital defectives in consequence of our failure to prevent them from becoming the parents of more congenital defectives without encroaching on the expenditures we ought to make for the better education and training of the normal children of normal citizens.

Doesn't go far enough? Progressives always go too far. Government must always remain limited, so that the people can always be free.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What should we do with the unemployable? Kill them. Obviously.

On page 300 of the book Fundamentals of Economics, Volume 2, Frank William Taussig writes the following :
A more fundamental question, yet still not one of an essentially novel sort, would be, how to deal with the unemployable. There would unfailingly be a certain number not capable of earning the minimum, - the aged, feeble, maimed, the dissolute or half dissolute. It would be impossible to compel employers to pay the minimum to those whose services were not worth it. But it is a fair question whether it is not a merit in the proposal, rather than a defect, that the community would be compelled to face squarely the problems of decrepitude and degeneration.

Who would do said compelling? The State - this is the chapter on "Labor Legislation".

Among those who are incapable of work or but half capable of it, two classes may be distinguished: those who are helpless from cases irremediable for the individual, yet not cumulative as regards society, such as old age, infirmity, disabling accident; and those helpless from causes that tend to be cumulative, such as congenital feebleness of body and character, alcoholism, dissolute living. The first class may be dealt with charitably, or provided for by some system of insurance. The second class should be simply stamped out. Neither the feeble minded, nor those saturated by alcohol or tainted with hereditary disease, nor the irretrievable criminals and tramps, should be allowed at large, still less should be allowed to breed. We have not reached the stage where we can proceed to chloroform them once for all; but at least they can be segregated, shut up in refuges and asylums, and prevented from propagating their kind. The opinion of civilized mankind is rapidly moving to the conclusion that so far at least we may apply the principle of eugenics, and thus dispose of what is the simplest phase of the problem of the unemployable.

Well thankfully, he didn't mince his words.

I have heard sentiments like this before. More than just once. When progressives start devaluing human life, you always seem to end up with the same result, now don't you?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What if Communism really hasn't been tried? Marx did outline very specific conditions

I recently posted the article from the Founder of Fabian Socialism in America titled Where Socialism Was Tried and I got to thinking, what about Communism? Well, here's what he's written:
In broad outlines Asiatic, ancient, feudal, and modern bourgeois modes of production can be designated as progressive epochs in the economic formation of society. The bourgeois relations of production are the last antagonistic form of the social process of production — antagonistic not in the sense of individual antagonisms, but of one arising from the social conditions of life of the individuals; at the same time the productive forces developing in the womb of bourgeois society create the material conditions for the solution of that antagonism.

And we know what Marx considers to be the solution to this 'antagonism' - the dictatorship of the proletariat. Communism can't just be formed anywhere. It has to be done with the right conditions, the right way and in the right country. In short, the United States. Because of the specificity of conditions, Communism is probably the most utopian of all the ideologies of centralized planning. Here's a brief outline:

At a certain stage of their development, the material productive forces of society come in conflict with the existing relations of production, or — what is but a legal expression for the same thing — with the property relations within which they have been at work hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters.

Then begins an epoch of social revolution. With the change of the economic foundation the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed.

I hear Obama in that, particularly the last line. But nonetheless, if it's seemed to you that communists have had their eye on the USA the way a wolf looks at a lamb, then this may explain it for you. It's because we have that superstructure, we are a 'capitalist' country. The ideal country, the one that will prove Marx right, is the United States. A little bit more:

Then begins an epoch of social revolution. With the change of the economic foundation the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed. In considering such transformations a distinction should always be made between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, aesthetic or philosophic — in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out.

When our massive 'capitalist' country implodes and goes into revolution, then they can start their "fundamental transformation" of everything, not just the modes of production. That's what he's saying. But society has to go through all of the various stages of development and reach 'antagonism'(free markets) before it can be done the right way and go into Communism. America is realistically the only one that ever has reached this stage following the "correct" evolution.

Here's how I think this works: (1)Economies go up and down, that's normal. (2)A believer in some form of planning takes advantage of a down, and makes it worse as centralized planning has disastrous effects upon economies(such as the housing bust, or the Carter years) and you end up in a true economic crisis. (3)Then, a strong-man comes in(who happens to be a hard core communist) and proposes to save the day. A "rising star" like Van Jones.

I say all of that because Marx' theory misses the boat: Free markets don't implode, the built in corrective mechanisms work. Free markets have to be forced by government to implode. If they can force it to implode(as Obama is clearly doing) then we can reach the worker's paradise.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Journalists, Muckrakers, and the Committee on Public Information: Right from the beginning they failed us

Journalism has a very long history of betraying the constitution and the United States of America. You can see just how traitorous this group of people have been by tracking down members of America's first domestic propaganda mill, the Committee on Public Information. The CPI was around during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. Most of these are in no particular order, also, some were life long journalists, others only spent part of their time as journalists before(or after) doing other things.

When Wilson created the CPI, George Creel, a journalist is who he tapped to lead the organization. Creel states one of the goals of the CPI was to make 'associates' out of journalists.

Edward Berhays, whose propaganda writings were used by Joseph Goebbels to exterminate Jews in Germany (see autobiography) was a member and a journalist.

Heber Blankenhorn was a member of CPI. Another journalist, he headed what appears to be a sub-group of the CPI known as G-2-D, which is giving me problems finding out more. But this is important because Blankenhorn worked with Lippmann in this organization.

The Father of Modern Journalism, Walter Lippmann, who initially worked for the Inter-Allied Propaganda Board overseas, was a member of CPI

Charles Merz, a journalist who co-authored "A test of the news" with Lippmann, was a member of CPI.(This is a direct CPI publication)

Ray Stannard Baker, was a journalist and CPI member.

Wallace Irwin and William Henry Irwin were both journalists and CPI members.

Ernest Poole was a member of CPI, and a journalist.

Edgar Sisson was a journalist and a member of CPI.

Carl Byoir was a journalist and was Creel's deputy.

Kenneth Durant, a CPI member and journalist, who went on to work for the Russian news agency TASS. Now having established these things, I'll note that Wikipedia rounds it out the same way as well.

William L Chenery was the publisher of Collier's, and a CPI member.

Ida Tarbell headed up the Women's Division of War-Work within the CPI along with Carrie Chapman Catt. Catt was a journalist, and Tarbell is remembered as one of the most influential muckrakers.

Clara Sears Taylor was a reporter and CPI member.

Paul Kennaday was a journalist, and CPI member.

Walter Prichard Eaton was a journalist and member of CPI.

William Dean Howells was a journalist and member of CPI.

William Allen White is considered one of the greatest journalists of all time. Member of CPI.

L. Ames Brown(Philadelphia Record), J W McConaughy(NY Evening Mail), Leigh Reilly(Chicago Herald),and Edward S Rochester(Washington Post) were all plucked from various places within the media and became members of the CPI.

There were plenty of other names which I couldn't find anything online about, so there could be more. The internet does have limits in this respect. There are also others who were writers of various things, and other activist types within CPI. But with respect to those who are supposed to be looking out for us, this betrayal that we live with today is nothing new. It's always been a widespread problem of reporters choosing to help and protect the powers that be, instead of questioning those they should be questioning.

Journalists being associated with propaganda is hardly an American phenomena either. Karl Marx was a journalist. Who was Joseph Goebbels before he became Joseph Goebbels?(everybody knows of him only as a nazi propagandist) Before this most infamous work, he was a journalist. All of these people knew how powerful the written(and now spoken) word is. Hey, could I interest you in an audiobook?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and modern American imperialism

One thing I find to be very ironic is how modern progressives will decry evil "American imperialism", yet even a cursory view of the history of the 20th century progressive era will expose the obvious: Progressives own it. It is progressives who own modern American imperialism. They're upset about what it is that their own forefathers began! On page 18 of the book "Public Opinion", Walter Lippmann quotes Senator McCormick stating the following:
Mr. Knox, interested in the question, forgets that he asked for an inquiry, and replies. If American marines had been killed, it would be war. The mood of the debate is still conditional. Debate proceeds. Mr. McCormick of Illinois reminds the Senate that the Wilson administration is prone to the waging of small unauthorized wars. He repeats Theodore Roosevelt's quip about "waging peace."

This may be a bit anecdotal, but it still applies and does carry weight given that it's coming from a sitting senator. Even the term "Wilsonianism"(as in Woodrow Wilson) is still in some quarters in use to this day. It's a term that is specifically used to describe interventionist policies in foreign affairs. As Conservapedia points out, and Wikipedia largely says the same thing about Wilsonianism. It's not 'isolationist', it's 'interventionist'.

Enter Theodore Roosevelt. For all that can be said about how awful that Wilson was(which is all true and perhaps even understated) and how he can be pointed to as the center point of progressivism during those days, Theodore Roosevelt is really the grandfather of progressivism. How much of what Wilson did was merely an extension of Roosevelt's grandiose anti-constitutional schemes? In a speech titled "True Americanism and Expansion" on December 21st, 1898 Roosevelt said the following:

No; the tasks are difficult, and all the more for that reason let us gird up our loins and go out to do them. But let us meet them, realizing their difficulty; not in a spirit of levity, but in a spirit of sincere and earnest desire to do our duty as it is given us to see our duty. Let us not do it in the spirit of sentimentality, not saying we must at once give universal suffrage to the people of the Philippines - they are unfit for it. Do not let us mistake the shadow for the substance. We have got to show the practical common sense which was combined with the fervent religion of the Puritan; the combination which gave him the chance to establish here that little group of commonwealths which more than any others have shaped the spirit and destiny of this nation; we must show both qualities.

Gentlemen, if one of the islands which we have acquired is not fit to govern itself, then we must govern it until it is fit. If you cannot govern it according to the principles of the New England town meeting - because the Philippine Islander is not a New Englander - if you cannot govern it according to these principles, then find out the principles upon which you can govern it and apply those principles. Fortunately, while we can and ought with wisdom to look abroad for examples, and to profit by the experience of other nations, we are already producing, even in this brief period, material of the proper character within our own border, men of our own people, who are showing us what to do with these islands.

This arrogance from progressives, I don't care who they are or what party they were in, is beyond infuriating. First off, note how at the very beginning of the speech, it began with a toast from Charles B Davenport - the eugenicist. It seems that Roosevelt is at his worst when Davenport is around. Second, we can't just go around taking everything over and being a bully - There are large sections of the world that hate America because of how progressives have abused the power we have built for ourselves. If we have to go in and make a mess for whatever reason, then we have to. Contrast Roosevelt with Jefferson, who got involved with the Barbary Pirates, did what needed to be done, then left. George Washington, who in his farewell address (audio direct download mp3) stated the following:

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

There is a bit more of this address that applies, but that makes it clear. Our founders intended us to be a lot more like Switzerland than the intrigues of progressivism demand. There are, naturally, times when you have to get involved - and afterward it makes sense to help with rebuilding. But the act of long term foreign governing is not the role of the US. We can't police the world. Even though that's what it appears that Roosevelt wanted. From his 1904 address (What we would recognize as a SOTU):

All that this country desires is to see the neighboring countries stable, orderly, and prosperous. Any country whose people conduct themselves well can count upon our hearty friendship. If a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in social and political matters, if it keeps order and pays its obligations, it need fear no interference from the United States. Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power.

This is the Roosevelt Corollary. This is the road to bankruptcy. This is a road to serfdom. Nations that become empires inevitably place themselves into the ash heap of history. I don't want to live in the post-constitutional empire of progressivism. I want my constitutional republic back. On getting involved in foreign intrigues, the progressives have it wrong and the Founders (as usual) provide the correct model. Only when necessary.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What is Economic Justice?

It's been a long time since I went in-depth into the book Philip Dru: Administrator. While most people concern themselves with hacking away at the tree, I find it instructive to look at the root. Here's what it says in the last two chapters at the end of chapter 5:(unnumbered pages)
If the powerful use their strength merely to further their own selfish desires, in what way save in degree do they differ from the lower animals of creation? And how can man under such a moral code justify his dominion over land and sea?

"Until recently this question has never squarely faced the human race, but it does face it now and to its glory and honor it is going to be answered right. The strong will help the weak, the rich will share with the poor, and it will not be called charity, but it will be known as justice. And the man or woman who fails to do his duty, not as he sees it, but as society at large sees it, will be held up to the contempt of mankind.

What's bolded, that's clearly economic justice. Progressives have long stated that charity simply isn't enough, and that sentiment is echoed right here as well, with "not as he sees it, but as society at large sees it". Society will determine how much you should give, because you aren't giving enough, you greedy SOB.

And if you don't? "will be held up to the contempt of mankind" Then we're going to hassle you out of business with all of our institutions, the media, non profits, academia, and etc.

This is exactly how progressives today act. We've all seen it. Philip Dru has been called a blueprint of progressivism, which is certainly also how I see it, and this is just one example. For anybody who's read the book like I have, I think you'll agree with me: Barack Obama is Philip Dru.

The text of the book is in the link above, or you can also get it from Gutenberg.

Or you can listen to my audiobook recording of it. But as I told Glenn when I spoke with him in October, my first couple of recordings weren't very good. But even in Dru, I do speak clearly. It won't take you very long before you start saying to yourself the very same kinds of things I started saying; the reason why I originally started doing all of this: "It's all here." All the answers. Finally, there are answers.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Where Socialism Was Tried

In 1905, the founder of the Fabian Society in America - W.D.P.Bliss - penned an article titled "Where Socialism Was Tried". The Outlook, November 11th, page 616:

Where Socialism Was Tried

By W.D.P. Bliss

The traveler who climbs the Acropolis at Athens will find that there is only one way of approach to the Parthenon. Seen, near at hand, from any other standpoint, the great temple appears out of drawing. There is, as is well known, in the whole edifice not a single straight line. Everywhere in the structure, from base to pediment, on column and on cella, there are only curves - ektasis and entasis - the curvings out and the curvings in of matchless lines. Viewed from all points save one, these curves are apparent and seem out of place, even as, from that one point of view, each marvelous line falls into place, seemingly straighter than straight, and giving to the great building that unequaled life, that sense of lightness and of grace, wedded to sublimity, which modern architecture does not know enough even to copy. Cunningly did the artful Greek compel the visitor to take that point of view by creating but one public access to the temple - that just at the right point - and erecting here the Propylaea.

It is the endeavor of this article to approach the social structure of ancient Athens, not from the ordinary, individualistic, nineteenth-century point of view, but from the ancient Greek point of view, from that conception of society where, as Professor Ingram tells us, "the individual is conceived as subordinated to the State, through which alone his Nature can be developed and completed, and to the maintenance and service of which all his efforts must be directed." So viewed - if one can look at bare facts, rather than at accepted explanations of those facts - he will be almost startled at what he will find. Did they try Socialism in ancient Athens? Let us turn to the indubitable record.

We begin by noting that they did, in one way or another, produce marvelous individualities in Athens. Says Dr. Francis Galton, of the highest authority in anthropological science, "A population of ninety thousand produced two men, Socrates and Phidias, whom the whole population of Europe has never equaled, and fourteen men of an ability to which the Anglo-Saxon race has only produced, in two thousand years, five equals." He asserts that the average ability of the Athenian race was about as much above that of the English race as that race is above the African negro. This is a strong statement, and yet J. A. Symonds, one of the foremost literary and artistic critics of our own or of any day, favorably quotes it, and says that the population of classic Athens, taken as a whole, was perhaps as superior to ours as our race is to that of the Australian savage.

But let us record some of these individualities, and put against each name the years during which they lived, or, if this is unknown, when they produced their greatest works, as it will be seen that this element of the period will play an important and a vital part in our argument.

What a record it is! Socrates (469 - 399 B.C.), Plato (428 - 347 B.C.), Aristotle (384 - 322 B.C.); surely in the history of thought there are no greater names than these. In the drama Aeschylus (525 - 456 B.C.), Sophocles (495 - 406 B.C.), Euripides (480 - 406 B.C.) - here are the masters of the classic tragedy; while Aristophanes (444 - 380 B.C.) is the unique founder of the world's comedy. In history, Thucydides (470 - 404 B.C.) has perhaps no rival, while Xenophon (430 - 355 B.C.) has but few. In sculpture Phidias (490 - 432 B.C.) and Praxiteles (390 B.C.) stand supreme, while (Myron 480 B.C.) and Scopas (370 B.C.) occupy high place. In architecture Ictinus and Callicrates, the architects of the Parthenon (438 B.C.) and Mnesicles, the builder of the Propytea (437 B.C.) produced works, of their period certainly the most beautiful, and of all periods the most perfect buildings in the world. In painting, Polygnotus (460 B.C.) did work which cultured Athens placed on a par with her sculpture. In oratory, every school-boy knows of Demosthenes (385 - 322 B.C.), every college boy of Aeschines (389 - 314 B.C.); while their contemporaries compared Lysias (445 - 378 B.C.) and Isocrates (436 - 338 B.C.) with these. In statesmanship Pericles (495 - 429 B.C.), Cimon (504 - 449 B.C.), and Themistocles (514 - 449 B.C.) are names that stand out in any history; while in generalship, Miltiades (490 B.C.), the hero of Marathon, and Nicias, the leader in the Spartan wars, can never be forgotten. Other names, among them Alcibi-ades (450 - 404 B.C.), Cleon (422 B.C.), Thrasybulus (390 B.C.), Lycurgus, the orator (395 - 323 B.C.), and Myronides (457 B.C.), belong to this period. Thirty one names! Where in history is another city that can produce even approximation to such a record?

But notice the dates. Every one these great names appeared in the hundred and fifty two years between Battle of Marathon (490 B.C.) and Battle of Chaeronea (338 B.C.). Was this an accident? Let Us seek the cause.

It has been said that this marvelous outflowering of genius was due to Athens's political and military supremacy during that period. But all through these years Athens was fighting often for her very life - with Persia, with Sparta, with the other Greek States; and, in spite of some most brilliant victories, was again and again defeated, the city itself being twice captured during this very time, once burned by the enemy, and once having her walls razed by the ground. Not a very large basis here for the theory of military and political supremacy. Let the advocates of the war basis compare the intellectual development of the repeatedly captured Athens with Constantinople, which during twenty five hundred years has been besieged thirty-one times, and captured only twice.

It is contended that the Athenian greatness was due to race. But the Ionic race was not limited to Athens. It largely peopled the islands and shores of the Aegean. Its colonies extended from Trapezus (Trebizond) on the Black Sea to Massilia (Marseilles) and Sagum-tum in the western Mediterranean. Nor did it exist only during those one hundred and fifty-two years. Classic Athens may be said to have endured at least fifteen hundred years, from the eleventh century B.C. to the closing of her schools of philosophy by the Christian Emperor Justinian in 529 A.D. If race was the cause, why did it only so operate in one city and during one comparatively short period?

Was the cause in the climate and physical environment? These remain in Athens yet, comparatively unchanged, but except during this period what have they produced" Still

"The mountains look on Marathon, And Marathon looks on the sea,"

but Marathon today has no Miltiades, and his modern successors defend no academies of Plato or of Aristotle, and only the ruins of the Parthenon of Phidias and of Pericles. Byron is right:

"The Isles of Greece! The Isles of Greece! Where burning Sapho loved and sung, -
Where grew the arts of war and peace, -
Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet!
But all except their sun is set."

The glory of Athens during those one hundred and fifty years is scarcely more marked than the absence of great names in the remaining two thousand eight hundred and fifty years of Athenian history. What cause, then, was there operating during that unique period, but not operating before or since? We know of only one - an essentially and radically socialistic organization of the city. This did prevail, as we shall see, during that exact period, and that only.

What is a socialistic organization of a city? The ownership and operation of land and capital collectively by the city, for the good of its citizens. Did Athens under Pericles have this? No student of Boeckh's "Public Economy of Athens," nor one who can put together the statements of hundreds or thousands of passages in the classic Greek authors, can well deny this. Athens owned lands, mines, forests, farms, houses, markets, which it worked, under one form or another, for the profit of the citizens. Its citizens did not support the city; the city supported the citizens - at least all such as needed support. Out of the revenues derived from its possessions, Athens practically guaranteed a livelihood to every citizen. Have we not here the essence of a very complete Socialism? Yet how truly this prevailed in Athens can be seen only as we enter into some detail.

It is necessary to make some distinctions. There was in Athens no attempt at any community or even equality of goods. Aristotle scoffed at such ideals, and Aristophanes burlesqued them. Athens was not communistic. But then this is not Socialism. Socialism and Communism are distinct. Once again, Athens was not socialistic in any modern ethical sense of the word, as based on ideals of human brotherhood or theories of universal equal rights. The fellow citizens of Socrates and of Plato knew no such theories. The individual, per se, they did not recognize. He was an TSios - a no-man, an idiot. Athens's Socialism was distinctly selfish. Her citizens instituted it simply because they believed it to be for their own interests. It was of the city, for the citizens, and for no one else. Aliens, even residents in Athens, had no share in it. Slaves were not citizens, and scarcely considered human. Economically they were not men and women, but marvelous tools worked to produce for the citizens. They were a part of the capital of the day - as Aristotle distinctly asserts - and therefore, like other capital, often owned by the city and made use of for the citizens. Here is no modern ethical socialism. Nor any more was it "scientific" according to "Das Kapital." In many respects it was not a formal socialism at all. Yet in spite of all this, how virtually and radically socialistic it was we must now see.

It practically asked from each citizen according to his ability, and gave to each according to his need. This was accomplished in the main by two institutions: the so-called "liturgics," securing from the rich gratification for the less fortunate, and above all the "dicasticon," or daily money payment for public service, given to each citizen who wished it, and in quantity sufficient to enable him to live upon it in respectability and ordinary comfort. It was the latter institution which above all made Athens socialistic, and was introduced by Pericles, as we may clearly learn, among other sources, from Aristotle (Politics II., 12) and Plato (Gorgias, 575). We will consider the latter first.

The dicasticon was the daily money payment, first of one obol and later of three, to any Athenian citizen who did duty as a dicast or juror in the multitudinous courts of Athens. One obol is three cents - seemingly a small affair, and yet, as we shall see, measured by Athenian prices, sufficient to maintain life in respectability and comfort, and paid sufficiently frequently to form, Mahaffy tells us ("Old Greek Life,"p. 68), "An income on which most of the poorer citizens lived." It was paid for this purpose. Athenian courts were held not only for her citizens but for all the allied cities subject to her leadership. They were therefore numerous and practically continuous. It has been calculated that six thousand persons received the dicasticon each day, supporting perhaps thirty thousand persons (including wives and children), or some third of the free population.

And this payment was only the principal one of several similar payments. It was for service in the courts; but for attendance at the ecclesia, or popular assembly, to which also any Athenian citizen could go, there was another payment, an ecclesiasticon, varying at different times from one to nine obols(twenty-seven cents). Moreover, the city saw to it that her poorest citizen could enjoy the drama and the religious festivities, both of which were considered municipal functions which it was important that every citizen should attend. Therefore the poorer citizens were paid a theoricon of two obols for the drama and various payments for the different religious festivities which in Athens were more numerous than in any other city. Xenophon, indeed, tells that festivals like the Panathenia and the Dionysia were more for the benefit of the poor than for worship of the gods. At some of these festivities three hundred oxen were slain at city expense and given to the poor. Distribution of corn was of frequent occurence.

These payments were for any citizens; but to especial classes were given especial and larger sums. Those elected to the Boule, or council, were, of course, paid, as were all attorneys, clerks, soldiers, policemen, and minor officials of every kind; so also were orators, poets, singers, artists; to the orphans and widows of soldiers, to the unfortunate and disabled, abundant pensions were extended. No citizen of Athens who was in health and willing to do a little service of the state had any need of continuing in want.

and see what these payments meant. Professor Boeckh, in his "Public Economy of Athens," estimates that prices in Athens, under Pericles, were at least ten times lower than in modern times. He who received three obols a day therefore received the equivalent of ninety cents today. He probably received vastly more compared with modern city prices. Demosthenes speaks of a little house worth seven minae (about $126). Houses could be bought for half that, or rented for five dollars per year. An ordinary slave brought about thirty-six dollars; meat (prepared for dinner) cost half an obol, and a warm drink, a chalcus, or half a cent. A fashionable tunic could be bought for two dollars, and a workman's raiment for much less. Furniture was of the simplest, yet beautiful and durable. Demosthenes, with his mother and sister, were brought up on seven hundred drachmae a year ($126). It must be remembered, too, that the greatest Athenians lived in the simplest way. Therefore those who were paid their three obols a day could not only live, but live as did the best.

Whence did this money come? Largely in socialistic ways. The foundation of the Attic treasury was the State-owned silver mines at Laurium, worked or leased for the profit of the city. Besides these the city owned lands (farms and building lots), forests, pastures, salt-works, markets, storehouses, other buildings, and leased them or worked them with slave labor for the common good. Next to these sources of income, probably, was the tribute paid by the allies, subject in reality to Athens, by her colonies and conquered territories. Beyond this were the taxes on the large foreign population of Athens and the duties on imports and exports. Athenian citizens paid no tax, except, perhaps, one on slaves, through all paid dues or fees for services in the courts. Such were the main regular sources of Athens's Revenue.

But this was by no means all. The rich were made to pay, not indeed taxes, save on slaves, but the liturgics mentioned above. These were payments, virtually compulsory, made from time to time by wealthy individuals to establish and endow games, banquets, festivities, literary or musical contests, and largely for the benefit of the poor. Such were the Choragia or musical contests between drilled choirs, the gymnasia or gymnastic contests, the theoria or state festivals.

And be it remembered that all this expenditure for the poor was socialistic, not given in charity. The citizen worked for his pay. It was not the panis et circus of the Roman imperialism. Athens was democratic, not paternal. So far as her free citizens went she was fiercely democratic. Says bluntschli ("Theory of the State"): "Democracy found its most logical expression in Athens." Says Pericles in his immortal Funeral Oration, preserved by Thucydides: "We are happy in a form of government ... original at Athens; and this our form, as committed, not to the few, but to the whole body of the people, is called a democracy." Readers of Plato will remember how he makes Protagoras say of the Ecclesia, "When some question of civil polity is to be discussed, any one rises up and gives his advice, whether he be a builder, a brazier, a shoemaker, a merchant, a ship captain, rich or poor, of high birth or of low degree, and no one makes objection." The more one studies, the more one sees how socialistic was the city.

and now can we not plainly see how all this bore on the production of individuality? The Athenian was delivered, in the first place, from the necessity to worry and "hustle" for a mere livelihood. Any Athenian who wished it was allowed to devote his life to moneymaking. Some did, and accumulated wealth. But such were few, and those few were compelled to spend their money for the public good. The vast number of Athenians preferred, and were encouraged to prefer, other things. Commerce and trade were generally despised, and usually left to foreigners or slaves. Bankers were sometimes slaves. What Athens did encourage was art, learning, the intellect, philosophy. To accomplish this she did two things: first, she made it possible by her payments for all to enter these pursuits; and secondly, she created emulation and rivalry in those lines by her contests and public festivals. Athens believed in competition but not of the market. Athens's four hundred were artistic, not commercial. Can we wonder that such a system encourage, fostered, produced high individuality? Where else in history has such a system been tried?

The greatest tragedies of Aeschylus and of Sophocles were produced as plays in prize contests. Compare them with modern prize plays. They were not produced for money, and were for a different audience. The audiences were the judges; and they were capable, trained to judge. The drama, supported by the State, had no need for being ruled by the box-office, and the people, given money to go to the best and judge the best, became capable of the best. Hence the "Medea," "Electra," the "Prometheus Bound." It was so with architecture, with sculpture, with oratory. It was, above all, so with philosophy. The poorest Athenian citizen could go to Plato's Academy or Aristotle's Lyceum. Artisans could talk with Phidias and cobblers discuss with Sophocles. The city-State thus made possible and called out in every citizen the disposition to know and follow the Best. Now, this system of payments began, it is known, with Pericles; it ended in the downfall of Greece at Chaeronea.

But why, we shall be asked, did Greece fall? For many reasons. Greece was not moral. Her Socialism, we have said, was selfish. Her public men were often corrupt; her family life was impure. Greece, too, was not socialistic. She was at best a loose federation of competing republics. She fell before a united Macedon, even as Macedon fell before the larger unity of the Roman Empire. But did they not try a virtual Socialism in Athens? And while it endured, did it not produce an individuality elsewhere unequaled in the world?

Monday, May 7, 2012

How the media, hollywood, academia, and Woodrow Wilson helped the second rise of the KKK

I was recently contacted with regard to the membership of Woodrow Wilson in the Klan. If he was a member, I'm certainly not hitting the right key word search, or it just isn't true. And there's a lot of books out there that go over Wilson's lauding of 'The Birth of a Nation'(The Clansman). But setting out to find something almost always leads me to something else. For ease of reference, Wikipedia states that the second KKK existed between 1915–1944. The Birth of a Nation was released in 1915. Wilson screened it in the Whitehouse, and his view of it is very well known: "It is like writing history with Lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true."

But that's not where this ends. One movie and one presidential hurrah can do a lot to spur a movement, but it needs follow through. Like this article in the Woodland Daily Democrat from March 15th, 1916:

In spite of the fact that more than 200,000 people have witnessed the marvelous reproduction of Thomas Dixon's famous novel, "The Clansman", continued to pack Clune's Auditorium theater. In Los Angeles at almost every performance of its last week there.

And in New York and Boston, "The Clansman" has proven to be fully as popular; while from all directions come requests from theatrical managers that they be allowed to play "The Clansman" in their city.

Dealing as it does, with the most important question before the American people today, the race problem, and dealing with it in so delicate a manner as to cause no bitterness, is it so surprising that the American people, always patriotic, should be in sympathy with "The Clansman"?

Portraying as has never been done before, the great work President Lincoln had mapped out for himself; the work he would certainly have brought to a successful and happy conclusion had he lived, "The Clansman" is of great value from every standpoint, but particularly of historical value. Students of history will gain much from it, and be prepared for more, for "The Clansman" is but foretelling the great future of the motion picture. Every great critical event in the world's history can be brought much more forcibly to the student's mind, if portrayed by motion pictures in an intelligent manner.

Tonight and Thursday evening "The Clansman" will appear again at the Strand theater, and if the pioneer of the photo drama meets with such overwhelming success, what about those to follow?

This turns my stomach. As this racist movie was out there poisoning people's minds, the media was right there to help it along. And as this news article makes clear, it wasn't just "racist southerners". That's what modern progressives would have you believe about racism in America. Interestingly enough, both of these lauding articles come out of California. The Berkeley Daily Gazette from May 10th, 1915:(I've copied about half of the article below)

D.W. Griffith's latest achievement, "The Clansman, or the Birth of a Nation," in twelve reels is the attraction at the Macdonough theater for twenty-one days, beginning today with a matinee every day.

The film is based on the famous novel by Thomas Dixon Jr., but it deals more broadly on its historical side with the life of the American nation than does the play or book. "The Clansman, or the Birth of a Nation," is declared to be the greatest and most spectacular motion picture ever produced. It cost $500,000 to produce and seven months were consumed in staging it.

"The Clansman" represents the very acme of art and realism in motion pictures. It includes the most spectacular battle ever staged. In the battle scenes are shown 25,000 soldiers in action, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry.

The night battle scenes represent the greatest feat in photography in the history of motion pictures. The burning of the entire city of Atlanta at night is graphically shown in the picture.

The Famous Raids of the Ku Klux Klan, with thousands of these white-hooded riders in action are shown. Lee's surrender to Grant and Sherman's historical march from Atlanta to the sea are also graphically depicted.

The assassination of President Lincoln by Wilkes Booth is one of the principal features. R.A.Walsh, who has the role of Wilkes Booth, repeated the assassination scene twenty-six times before it was done to the satisfaction of Griffith.

The interior of the historical Ford's opera house at Washington, D.C., where the assassination took place, is the most gorgeous theater scene ever put on. It is an exact replica of the playhouse, including stage, orchestra pie, furnishings and all other equipment of the historical playhouse.

Historically and technically, "The Clansman" is declared to be perfect. A well-known professor of history in one of the California colleges worked three months in securing historical data for "The Clansman."

This is no different than what we see today. The colleges, hollywood, and politicians are out there pushing all of this rot, and the media's right there to put a shiny smiling face on it.

The rise of the KKK in 1915 doesn't surprise me one bit.