Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two Noteworthy Books on Democracy, By Theodore Roosevelt

THERE are books of which it is impossible to make an epitome, and which therefore it is impossible to review save in the way of calling attention to their excellence. Bryce's "American Commonwealth," Lowell's " Study of Representative Government in Europe," Thayer's "Study of Cavour," illustrate what is meant by this statement. Two new volumes, "Progressive Democracy," by Herbert Croly, and •' Drift and Mastery," by Walter Lippmann, come in this category. No man who wishes seriously to study our present social, industrial, and political life with the view of guiding his thought and action so as to work for National betterment in the future can afford not to read these books through and through and to ponder and digest them. They worthily carry forward the argument contained in the authors' previous works—" The Promise of American Life," by Mr. Croly, and "A Preface to Politics," by Mr. Lippmann.

Both of these writers stand foremost among those of our thinkers who recognize the grave abuses of our present system and the need of breaking the shackles which the interested beneficiaries and the disinterested but fanatical devotees of the past would impose upon us. Both thoroughly realize the absolute need that we shall move forward toward a definite goal unless we are willing to see misfortune come to our people. But each is as far as possible from those unwise reformers who denounce everything that smacks of the past as vicious, and who consider all change of any kind as in itself beneficial. Both of them—and Mr. Lippmann especially so—are believers in a great increase in the application of the principle of collective action. But neither of them makes a fetish of ultra-collectivism any more than of ultra individualism, and each is entirely fearless in opposing mischievous action, even although it is now or has been recently supported by the great majority of our people.

Mr. Croly explicitly points out that the position which American conservatism has elected to defend arouses on the part of its defenders a sincere and admirable loyalty of conviction. He recognizes that our traditional constitutional system has had a long and honorable career, and has contributed enormously to American political and social prosperity, giving stability, order, and security to a new political experiment undertaken in a new country under peculiarly hazardous and trying conditions. He also gives the wise warning that in order to attack the old system progressivism must not occupy a position of mere nihilism, of mere destruction ; that it must not represent wild-eyed and unbalanced seeking after an impossible millennium; and, furthermore, that it must be constructive rather than restorative. In his book he poses the two questions: (1) Whether any substitute is needed for the traditional system, and (2) Whether the progressive creed offers what can fairly be considered such a working substitute. He answers both questions in the affirmative; but the value of his book, although it consists partly in the working out of the definite conclusions he reaches, consists even more in the spirit in which he has attempted to reach these conclusions.

Mr. Croly strikes at the root of the difficulties encountered by men who seriously strive for a juster economic and social life when he points out that the chief obstacles to securing the needed betterment are found in the legalism with which we have permitted our whole Government to be affected, and in the extreme difficulty of amending the Constitution. As for the latter point, objection to an easier method of amending the Constitution can be reasonably advanced only by those who sincerely and frankly disbelieve in the fitness of the people for self government. Government under a Constitution which in actual practice can be amended only on the terms which formerly permitted the Polish Parliament to legislate, and under a system of court procedure which makes the courts the ultimate irresponsible interpreters of the Constitution, and therefore ultimately the irresponsible makers of the law under the Constitution—such government really represents a system as emphatically undemocratic as government by a hereditary aristocracy. As Mr. Croly says, what is needed is not to increase the power of Congress at the expense of the judiciary, or to conserve the power of the judiciary at the expense of Congress or of the Executive, but to increase popular control over all the organs of government; and this can be accomplished only by the increase of direct popular power over the Constitution.

No less admirable is Mr. Croly's showing of the damage done to justice and to the whole democratic ideal by the saturation of our Government with legalism. As he points out, the final outcome of this effort was to make the paralyzing of administration by law an every-day spectacle. Under such conditions the ship of state merely drifted round and round. In practice the public welfare was sedulously sacrificed to this theory of government by litigation. The law continually prevented the correction of abuses and continually shielded officials who had gone wrong, but it never helped to make things go right. Corruption increased and special privilege was fostered. In practice the equal protection of the laws meant very unequal opportunity to bring lawsuits, and government by law was turned into government by corporations and political bosses. This continued until observers of vision finally became convinced that democracy and legalism were incompatible.

The great corporation, the great corporation lawyer, and the boss are now merged together as representing rule over the people, and the demagogue, whose revolt occasionally tempers this far from beneficent despotism, often aggravates as many ills as he remedies. Mr. Croly points out how direct government by the people themselves, entered into with wisdom and caution, offers, on the whole, not only the best but the only real remedy for these abuses. He shows that to call pure democracy "retrogressive" or a "return to old forms " is a mere play upon words, of no more account than it would be to stigmatize in similar fashion the attempt to recover classic humanism after its eclipse in the Middle Ages. The adoption of direct government may in the end accomplish most of its purposes by reinvigorating representative government; and not the least interesting part of Mr. Croly's book is a study of the method proposed in Oregon for achieving this result. Mr. Croly emphatically believes in nationalizing our democracy, but this does not in the least mean mere centralization of power. On the contrary, he no more makes a fetish of centralization than of particularism. It is eminently desirable that we should keep in State and in city vigorous forms of local self-government. What is meant by the nationalization of the democratic method is the giving to the whole people themselves the power to do those things that are essential in the interest of the whole people.

The dominant note of Mr. Lippmann's book is the insistence that in the present unrest there is altogether too much aimless drift, aimless beating of the waves to and fro, and that what is needed is a mastery of the movement; which can come in a democracy only if the people, or at least the leaders of the people, have the courage to face the facts and the wisdom and vision to think rationally about them. Mr. Lippmann, with caustic humor, shows the folly alike of the persons who believe in the non-existent virtues of a non-existent golden past and of the persons who merely dream of a golden future without making any sane effort to better conditions in the present. Too many of the dreamers of the last type refuse to confront the uncomfortable fact that in life retrogression is almost, and at times quite, as common as progress, and that there is no necessary truth whatever in the proposition that whatever is later in time is better in fact. He shows that no liberty worth having can come from a mere happy go-lucky breaking of chains. "It is with emancipation that real tasks begin, and liberty is a searching challenge, for it takes away the guardianship of the master and the comfort of the priest."

Two of the most fundamental and admirable chapters in Mr. Lippman's book are those entitled " A Key to the Labor Movement " and " A Nation of Villagers." In the former he makes the point, which cannot be too much insisted upon, that strong labor organizations are indispensable to progress. They not only benefit the persons who are thus organized, but they benefit society as a whole. It is the economic weakness and wretchedness of those who constitute the Industrial Workers of the World which make the Industrial Workers of the World so potent a source of aimless, of merely destructive, unrest. It is the strength and economic power of the great brotherhoods of railway employees and of similar effective labor organizations which have given, not merely dignity and strength to the labor movement, but also additional solidity to our social structure.

Nowhere -is Mr. Lippmann's clear sight and courage better shown than in his treatment of the trusts. During the past quarter of a century probably more mischief has been done, and is now being done, by our treatment of the trusts than by any other one phase of our governmental activity. He points out that the Sherman Anti-Trust Law has, on the whole, worked very great evil. Indeed, almost the only good that has been accomplished under it has been accomplished by the Northern Securities suit, and this merely by establishing the power of the National Government to deal with corporations engaged in interState business, a power secured by getting the Supreme Court to reverse a previous most unwise and improper decision. The Sherman Anti-Trust Law should only remain as applicable to corporations which refuse to obey the decrees of an adequate, powerful administrative body in the nature of an interState business commission. Mr. Lippmann is, with justice, equally severe upon those who have organized the " trusts" that do evil and upon the professional anti-trust leaders who have endeavored merely to break up big business corporations and to secure the li new freedom" by bringing us back to an era of unlimited and ruthless competition between small business concerns. He says, quite justly, that " the stupid hostility of anti-trust laws" has perverted all real constructive policy on the part of the Nation and the States, has concentrated the thinking of our people on inessentials, has driven creative business men to underhand methods, and has put a high money value on intrigue and legal cunning, demagoguery, and waste. "The trusts have survived it all, but in mutilated form, the battered makeshifts of a trampled promise. They have learned every art of evasion—the only art reformers allowed them to learn." Of course our policy as regards the trusts should be frankly to accept in its essentials the doctrine laid down by President Van Hise in his book entitled " Combination and Control."

Mr. Lippmann sees clearly, as does Mr. Croly, that democracy cannot possibly be achieved save among a people fit for democracy. There can be no real political democracy unless there is something approaching an economic democracy. A democracy must consist of men who are intellectually, morally, and materially fit to be their own masters. There can be neither political nor industrial democracy unless people are reasonably well to-do, and also reasonably able to achieve the difficult task of self-mastery. As Mr. Lippmann says, the first item in any rational programme for a democratic state must be the insistence on a reasonably high minimum standard of life, and therefore of pay, for the average worker.

It is not possible even for reformers of lofty vision and fine and sane judgment to treat of everything. Neither of these two books dwells sufficiently upon, although both of them hint at, certain vital facts which arc connected with a further fundamental fact, that there must be ample prosperity in the nation. Public welfare depends upon general public prosperity, and the reformer whose reforms interfere with the general prosperity will accomplish little.

We cannot pay for what the highest type of democracy demands unless there is a great abundance of prosperity. A business that does not make money necessarily pays bad wages and renders poor service. Merely to change the ownership of the business without making it yield increased profits will achieve nothing. In practice this means that when the Nation suffers from hard times wage workers will concern themselves, and must concern themselves, primarily with a return to good times, and not with any plan for securing social and industrial justice. If women cannot get any work, and nevertheless have to live, they will be far more concerned with seeing a factory opened in which they can work at night or work twelve hours every day than they are concerned with the abolition of night work or the limitation of hours of labor. Exactly the same is true of men. In the recent election in Pennsylvania the majority of the miners and wage-workers generally voted for the Republican machine, although this Republican machine had just defeated a workmen's compensation act, a child labor law, a minimum wage for women law, and various other bits of very desirable labor legislation. The attitude of the wage-workers was perfectly simple. They wished employment. They wished a chance to get a job. They believed that they had more chance if the candidates of the Republican machine were elected than they would otherwise have. Personally I very strongly believe that they were in error; but it was their belief that counted. The average voter usually sees what he is voting about in very simple form. He does not regard the political picture as an etching and follow out the delicate tracery. He treats it as a circus poster, in which the colors are in very vivid contrast and are laid on with a broad brush. When the average man feels the pinch of poverty, the only things he sees in the political picture are the broad, vivid colors which in his mind deal with that particular matter. He wishes to have his material condition improved at the present time or in the immediate future; and for the moment questions of ultimate betterment, and especially of moral betterment, sink into abeyance. This attitude is in no way peculiar to the laboring man or the farmer. It is just as evident in the big business man and in his college-bred son, and in the wealthy clubs of which these two make up most of the membership.

Finally, it is imperative to count the cost of all reforms, and therefore to remember that only a wealthy state can spend money sufficient to embody the reform into law. There is no point in having prosperity unless there can be an equitable division of prosperity. But there can be no equitable division of prosperity until the prosperity is there to divide. All reformers with any wisdom will keep this fact steadily in mind, and will realize that it is their duty in all legislation to work for the general prosperity of the community; and this in spite of the further fact that' no good comes from the performance of this first duty unless some system of equity and justice is built upon the prosperity thus secured.

Obama: I am a progressive

"Look, let me talk about the broader issue, this whole notion that I am shifting to the center," he told a crowd gathered at a town hall-style meeting in this Atlanta suburb. "The people who say this apparently haven't been listening to me."

"I am someone who is no doubt progressive," he said, adding that he believed in universal health care and that government had a strong role to play in overseeing financial institutions and cracking down on abuses in bankruptcies and the like.

Alright. So when you hear of progressives, do you find yourself talking about mid-19th century german philosophers? Early-mid 20th century dictators? Or do you talk about the late 19th/early 20th century progressives? Sure, there are plenty enough parallels between all forms of centralized planning to have lengthy and heated debates

While there's little doubt that progressivism has changed a bit, dare I say "evolved" over the last century, this is still important to recall.

Hillary Clinton also said this. Here is the video of it.(naturally, different words)

There are currently 80+ declared members of congress, who are progressives.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Progressivism: nonsense has been talked about the inalienable rights of individuals

In his book "Constitutional Government in the United States", President Woodrow Wilson has this to say:(page 16)
To inquire into such matters is to make intimate approach to the very essence of constitutional government; but we approach that essence still more intimately when we turn from the community, from the nation, and from the assembly which represents it, to the individual. No doubt a great deal of nonsense has been talked about the inalienable rights of the individual, and a great deal that was mere vague sentiment and pleasing speculation has been put forward as fundamental principle. The rights of man are easy to discourse of, may be very pleasingly magnified in the sentences of such constitutions as it used to satisfy the revolutionary ardor of French leaders to draw up and affect to put into operation; but they are infinitely hard to translate into practice. Such theories are never 'law, no matter what the name or the formal authority of the document in which they are embodied. Only that is 'law' which can be executed, and the abstract rights of man are singularly difficult of execution.

Time after time, Woodrow Wilson talked a very good game about liberty. But as I already pointed out here progressives have a very different definition of the word 'democracy' than you or I do. So too with 'liberty'. If "Only that is 'law' which can be executed, and the abstract rights of man are singularly difficult of execution" then a government such as what the founders created, in which people are actually free to live their lives and government keeps it's hands off, that can't exist. The government needs a little bit more liberty to execute positive laws, the only true kinds of laws. Woodrow Wilson also stated:(when referring to governmental checks and balances)

The trouble with the theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing. ... No living thing can have its organs offset against each other, as checks, and live.

So you see, your government can't even survive if it doesn't have more controls and freedom to lord over your life, more 'positive liberties'. When Barack Obama said:

It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.

This is what he's getting at, all of these things are related. If a law cannot be executed, then it can't really be a law. A lack of a law is not a legitimate function of government. Woodrow Wilson also spoke about a government of negation, just as Obama did. Here:(page 284)

But I feel confident that if Jefferson were living in our day he would see what we see: that the individual is caught in a great confused nexus of all sorts of complicated circumstances, and that to let him alone is to leave him helpless as against the obstacles with which he has to contend; and that, therefore, law in our day must come to the assistance of the individual. It must come to his assistance to see that he gets fair play; that is all, but that is much. Without the watchful interference, the resolute interference, of the government, there can be no fair play between individuals and such powerful institutions as the trusts. Freedom to-day is something more than being let alone. The program of a government of freedom must in these days be positive, not negative merely. Well, then, in this new sense and meaning of it, are we preserving freedom in this land of ours, the hope of all the earth?

In one fell swoop, the entire meaning of liberty is turned on it's head. Yet knowing how progressives look at democracy, how they look at liberty, and how too they look at law, it "all makes sense". Talk of inalienable rights necessarily means government keeps it's hands off in a lot of very important ways. But to progressives, that sort of sentiment is nonsense.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Theodore Roosevelt's Book Recommendations

There's quite a bit to cover in this small essay, but I'll have to get to that later.

Written in 1914, in the magazine 'The Outlook',Two Noteworthy Books on Democracy makes the following book recommendations:

THERE are books of which it is impossible to make an epitome, and which therefore it is impossible to review save in the way of calling attention to their excellence. Bryce's "American Commonwealth," Lowell's "Study of Representative Government in Europe," Thayer's "Study of Cavour," illustrate what is meant by this statement. Two new volumes, "Progressive Democracy," by Herbert Croly, and "Drift and Mastery," by Walter Lippmann, come in this category. No man who wishes seriously to study our present social, industrial, and political life with the view of guiding his thought and action so as to work for National betterment in the future can afford not to read these books through and through and to ponder and digest them.

Unfortunately, I must live my life so I can't solely devote time to reading every single book around. I have to go as time permits, just like this blog. But one of these books in particular - Progressive Democracy - is one that I have already blogged about.

Progressivism: The Dictatorship of the Constitution

It's nice to know who, and what, informs presidents. Under normal circumstances these would be the last things I'd ever want to read. But for the purposes of learning progressivism, we should all be informing ourselves.

Useful audio recordings not recorded by myself

I am endeavouring to do various things, one of which is to record audio and at times you-tube it, but there is plenty out there that's already recorded by others.

Founding Fathers and the American revolutionary era:

Letters of Mrs. Adams: the wife of John Adams, Volume 1

George Washington's Farewell Address(#6 on the list)

Common Sense, by Thomas Paine

Common Sense, By Thomas Paine(alternate recording)

The Age of Reason, by Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine's "The American Crisis, number 1," as read by Kurtis Burcume.

The Federalist Papers

Other informative works:

The Law, by Frederic Bastiat, with an introduction by Walter E Williams

Commentaries on the Laws of England, By William Blackstone

Two Treatises of Civil Government, by John Locke

Democracy in America, by Alexis De Tocqueville(Volume 1)

Democracy in America, by Alexis De Tocqueville(Volume 2)

The Politics, by Aristotle

The Art of War, by Sun Tzu

The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith (Books 1 through 5)

The Communist Manifesto

Progress and Poverty, by Henry George

The Theory of Moral Sentiments (First Edition)

I hope everyone who reads my various blog postings will educate themselves on their own, just as many of our founders did.

If you'd like to suggest anything for this list, contact me on freedom connector.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reformers in education: Your children are hostages to our cause

In a book titled "Lectures and annual reports on education" by Horace Mann (several are written, this is the 1867 edition) here is what he writes:(page 210)

So much, then, my friends, is done, in the common and established course of nature, for the welfare of our children. Nature supplies a perennial force, unexhausted, inexhaustible, re-appearing whenever and wherever the parental relation exists. We, then, who are engaged in the sacred cause of education, are entitled to look upon all parents as having given hostages to our cause; and, just as soon as we can make them see the true relation in which they and their children stand to this cause, they will become advocates for its advancement, more ardent and devoted than ourselves. We hold every parent by a bond more strong and faithful than promises or oaths, - by a Heaven-established relationship, which no power on earth can dissolve. Would parents furnish us with a record of their secret consciousness, how large a portion of those solemn thoughts and emotions, which throng the mind in the solitude of the night-watches, and fill up their hours of anxious contemplation, would be found to relate to the welfare of their offspring!

Seeing what Mann wrote above, it's not hard to understand why John Dewey called Mann "the patron saint of progressive education".(due to the nature of copyright, I am unable to give you a link to where this is written, but I can show you how to find it. An essay titled "the challenge of democracy to education" is very easy to find on google books. Add "patron saint" to your search)

Dewey wrote about Mann here and also here:(Page 20)

And in the self-direction thus given, nothing counts as much as the school, for, as Horace Mann said, "Where anything is growing, one former is worth
a thousand re-formers."

Mann also wrote this:(Page 83)

Having found the present generation composed of materials almost unmalleable, I am about transferring my efforts to the next. Men are cast-iron; but children are wax. Strength expended upon the latter may be effectual, which would make no impression upon the former.

Now that's nice. Mann says your children are hostages to the cause, and are like wax, and Dewey points out(quoting Mann) that one former is worth a thousand reformers. Have you taken your children out of the government school system yet? You better hurry. Between these two men, perhaps more than any others, this is the foundation of modern american education.

Before the progressives called themselves progressives, they went by another name: Reformers. Not all reformers became progressives, and not all progressives were like reformers of the earlier era. But some things remain the same, like those 'germanic' ideas, 'prussianism', particularly in education. And so it goes for Horace Mann, who traveled to Germany to learn about germanic educational practices:

Philosopher Fichte introduced Pestalozzi's progressive education to Germany, and there Horace Mann and Calvin Stowe picked it up, to bring to the U.S.

According to Friedrich Hayek, Fichte(along with Rodbertus and Lassalle) are acknowledged fathers of socialism. Isaiah Berlin lists 6 modern architects of the authoritarian state: Rousseau, Helvetius, Fichte, Saint-Simon, Maistre, and Hegel.

Horace Mann died in 1859. One of the works I quote is from his wife, Mary Tyler Peabody Mann.

Woodrow Wilson's Living Constitution

Several early progressives are involved with the development of the "Living Constitution", but none spoke so clearly as Wilson did. In The New Freedom, is what he said: (pages 46-48){Note, this book is a collection of speeches}

The makers of our Federal Constitution read Montesquieu with true scientific enthusiasm. They were scientists in their way, - the best way of their age, - those fathers of the nation. Jefferson wrote of "the laws of Nature," - and then by way of afterthought, - "and of Nature's God." And they constructed a government as they would have constructed an orrery,—to display the laws of nature. Politics in their thought was a variety of mechanics. The Constitution was founded on the law of gravitation. The government was to exist and move by virtue of the efficacy of "checks and balances."

The trouble with the theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton. It is modified by its environment, necessitated by its tasks, shaped to its functions by the sheer pressure of life. No living thing can have its organs offset against each other, as checks, and live. On the contrary, its life is dependent upon their quick co-operation, their ready response to the commands of instinct or intelligence, their amicable community of purpose. Government is not a body of blind forces; it is a body of men, with highly differentiated functions, no doubt, in our modern day, of specialization, with a common task and purpose. Their co-operation is indispensable, their warfare fatal. There can be no successful government without the intimate, instinctive co-ordination of the organs of life and action. This is not theory, but fact, and displays its force as fact, whatever theories may be thrown across its track. Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and in practice. Society is a living organism and must obey the laws of life, not of mechanics; it must develop.

All that progressives ask or desire is permission—in an era when "development," "evolution," is the scientific word—to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine.

These words of Wilson's have been widely discussed, though no good blog which aims to dissect progressivism could ignore this, and when they are discussed far too often the source(book, page, etc) are not given so you can see for yourself and inquire further. Wilson is very clear. The founders were wrong. What he's doing is questioning the very fundamentals - for Wilson it's not an issue of seeing the constitution amended because one or two things are wrong, the whole thing is wrong and needs to be scrapped. Natural law is wrong. Unrestricted individual enterprise is wrong.

Wilson misses the point, though he may actually be correct in a way, in seeing government turned in upon itself. Government is supposed to be limited, that's how you secure the liberty of the people, by keeping it divided indefinitely. Constantly checking, balancing, and never advancing. That's really the only way. As government expands, liberty contracts. Woodrow Wilson is the very reason(among others, like Obama) that the founders set up the constitution the way they did. To protect us, the people, from them. The central planners.

Take a look around at america today. Government's not divided, they have us divided. Take a look at your family. Look at your children. Our liberty is not safe.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Journalists Playbook

Much has been said and written about the left's playbook. Do journalists have a playbook?

The man who could be considered the father of modern journalism, Walter Lippmann, wrote this in his 1920 book: Public Opinion(Page 40)

The editor of the French communiqué tells us that as the battle dragged out, his colleagues and he set out to neutralize the pertinacity of the Germans by continual insistence on their terrible losses. It is necessary to remember that at this time, and in fact until late in 1917, the orthodox view of the war for all the Allied peoples was that it would be decided by "attrition." Nobody believed in a war of movement. It was insisted that strategy did not count, or diplomacy. It was simply a matter of killing Germans. The general public more or less believed the dogma, but it had constantly to be reminded of it in face of spectacular German successes.

"Almost no day passed but the communiqué.... ascribed to the Germans with some appearance of justice heavy losses, extremely heavy, spoke of bloody sacrifices, heaps of corpses, hecatombs. Likewise the wireless constantly used the statistics of the intelligence bureau at Verdun, whose chief, Major Cointet, had invented a method of calculating German losses which obviously produced marvelous results. Every fortnight the figures increased a hundred thousand or so. These 300,000, 400,000, 500,000 casualties put out, divided into daily, weekly, monthly losses, repeated in all sorts of ways, produced a striking effect. Our formulae varied little: 'according to prisoners the German losses in the course of the attack have been considerable' ... 'it is proved that the losses' ... 'the enemy exhausted by his losses has not renewed the attack' ... Certain formulae, later abandoned because they had been overworked, were used each day: 'under our artillery and machine gun fire' ... 'mowed down by our artillery and machine gun fire' ... Constant repetition impressed the neutrals and Germany itself, and helped to create a bloody background in spite of the denials from Nauen (the German wireless) which tried vainly to destroy the bad effect of this perpetual repetition."

This sounds exactly like what journalists did during the first several years of the Iraq war, doesn't it? Continuing on page 42:

We have learned to call this propaganda. A group of men, who can prevent independent access to the event, arrange the news of it to suit their purpose.

And on page 43:

Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct a propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event. Access to the real environment must be limited, before anyone can create a pseudo-environment that he thinks wise or desirable. For while people who have direct access can misconceive what they see, no one else can decide how they shall misconceive it, unless he can decide where they shall look, and at what. The military censorship is the simplest form of barrier, but by no means the most important, because it is known to exist, and is therefore in certain measure agreed to and discounted.

Do journalists represent a barrier between the public and all kinds of events? Do they limit access to the real environment? Do they form information to suit their purposes?

It's true that Lippmann writes this in the context of an army and it's propaganda, but the striking similarity simply cannot be ignored.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Progressivism: People Laundering

This audio from Barack Obama is a fairly well known, notorious even, audio clip. In it he says the following:

the tragedies of the civil-rights movement was because the civil-rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change.

Has anybody ever examined this? What does that look like? How do you build a coalition of power on the ground? Well, let's consult freely available writing. In the handbook for a group called STORM: Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement - their handbook is titled "Reclaiming Revolution" here is what they write:(pages 19 and 21)

Looking around us, we didn't think it was possible to build an explicitly Marxist organization. And after the previous period of division and power struggles, it seemed risky to bring new people into our but recently - and delicately - cohered group.

To deal with these issues, STORM adopted a two-tiered membership structure with a leadership "core" and a "general membership". All core members had to be explicitly committed to revolutionary marxist politics. General members did not, although they could not be hostile to red politics either. Instead, general members had only to support STORM's Points of Unity, which were not explicitly marxist. (PGA Note: Page 8 for 1994 points of unity)

Got it? So what are they doing? Using non marxists to build a marxist organization, building their group numbers greater by being less than honest. Between their 'studies' and educational efforts(as noted in the handbook) they indoctrinated them into marxism. It continues on page 21:

STORM members were building organizations that were growing and becoming important forces in the movement in their own right. STORM never orzanizationally directed or intervened in the work of these organizations. But, because STORM members founded and led them, they came to be seen as "STORM-affiliated." Furthermore, these projects promoted politics quite similar to - indeed, at times indistinguishable from - STORM's.

For example, Bay Area PoliceWatch was expanding to become the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (EBC).

What just happened? They laundered the radical PoliceWatch into a respectable center for human rights.(This is Van Jones' group) They didn't give up on what they believed. They just made it look different. It's been laundered. Progressives do this to individuals as well. How do you take a man who bombed the pentagon and make him respectable?(rhetorical question)

Who reading my blog remembers Jay Bennish? Before and after his laundering:

So who laundered him? Who took a rough high school propagandist and polished him into a respectable, tie wearing victim? I suppose that doesn't really matter, what's important is that we study and remember the tactic.

People laundering. One potential piece of the puzzle of "the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change."

Another is being less than forthcoming about the goals of an activist group, then laundering it(or it's sister organizations) later on into something it isn't. Didn't ACORN change it's name?(multiple, depending on regions) Same people, same missions, and in some cases, even the same adddon't ask me. Ask themresses. They've been laundered.

I can't say anything for certain, but there's no doubt the shoe fits.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Progressivism and the intoxicating effect of undiluted hegelian philosophy

It's impossible to know if all progressives are Hegelian, unless they specifically say so.(which I haven't seen) But as I blog more about these people you may notice the words/phrases 'germanic' and 'prussianism'(and other variations like it) repeately show up, that's how they described it in their day. The "Making it customary to utilize the collective knowledge" (to borrow a phrase from Dewey's discourse of prussianism) ideals of germany is where a large portion of the roots of progressivism ultimately come from.

Charles Merriam, In his book "American Political Ideas: Studies in the Development of American Political Thought" writes this: (page 373 - this is written glowingly)

One of the striking features of the last half century in America was the greatly increased attention to the scientific study of politics. In the last twenty-five years, particularly, this tendency was very clearly marked. The foundation of systematic study was laid by Francis Lieber, a German refugee, who came to America following the Revolution of 1848, and was for many years a source of inspiration in inquiry and a teacher of methods of investigation. Following Lieber came studies of the type of Mulford's "Nation" (1870), a striking illustration of the intoxicating effect of undiluted Hegelian philosophy upon the American mind. He expounded an entire dialetics of democracy in the abstract and theoretical form of the German mid-century "metapolitics". Brownson's "American Republic" was notable as a careful exposition of American political doctrines.

Beginning about the 1880's there was an impetus given to the systematic study of political problems which continued undiminished in force down to the end of this period. Woolsey's monumental work on political science appeared in 1878, Henry George's challenging "Progress and Poverty" in 1879, Wilson's encyclopaedic "The State" in 1889, Bryce's comprehensive and illuminating work on "The American Commonwealth" was published in 1888, and Burgess' formal treatise on "Political Science and Comparative Constitutional Law " in 1891.

Notice that key word "democracy" again there. It's a rallying cry for progressives and they have a completely different definition for it than most of us do. If anybody reads these books and finds useful information to further learn progressive ideology, let me know.

It should be noted that a very well known Hegelian in history is Karl Marx.

Keep in mind, this is the same Charles Merriam who wrote that The individualistic ideas of the "natural right" school of political theory, endorsed in the Revolution, are discredited and repudiated..

Natural rights, dead and repudiated. Who am I to argue?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Progressivism: The constitution is political witchcraft

In Woodrow Wilson's doctoral dissertation, "Congressional government : a study in American politics" he writes this: (on pages 331, 332)
An intelligent observer of our politics has declared that there is in the United States "a class, including thousands and tens of thousands of the best men in the country, who think it possible to enjoy the fruits of good government without working for them." Every one who has seen beyond the outside of our American life must recognize the truth of this ; to explain it is to state the sum of all the most valid criticisms of congressional government. Public opinion has no easy vehicle for its judgments, no quick channels for its action. Nothing about the system is direct and simple. Authority is perplexingly subdivided and distributed, and responsibility has to be hunted down in out-of-the-way comers. So that the sum of the whole matter is that the means of working for the fruits of good government are not readily to be found. The average citizen may be excused for esteeming government at best but a haphazard affair, upon which his vote and all of his influence can have but little effect. How is his choice of a representative in Congress to affect the policy of the country as regards the questions in which he is most interested, if the man for whom he votes has no chance of getting on the Standing Committee which has virtual charge of those questions ? How is it to make any difference who is chosen President? Has the President any very great authority in matters of vital policy? It seems almost a thing of despair to get any assurance that any vote he may cast will even in an infinitesimal degree affect the essential courses of administration. There are so many cooks mixing their ingredients in the national broth that it seems hopeless, this thing of changing one cook at a time.

The charm of our constitutional ideal has now been long enough wound up to enable sober men who do not believe in political witchcraft to judge what it has accomplished, and is likely still to accomplish, without further winding. The Constitution is not honored by blind worship. The more open-eyed we become, as a nation, to its defects, and the prompter we grow in applying with the unhesitating courage of conviction all thoroughly-tested or well-considered expedients necessary to make self-government among us a straightforward thing of simple method, single, unstinted power, and clear responsibility, the nearer will we approach to the sound sense and practical genius of the great and honorable statesmen of 1787.

If you want to understand progressivism, this man is a great place to start. Wilson always talked a good game when it came to freedom and so forth, but when you look at how he governed, he was just the opposite.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Progressivism: Individualistic ideas are discredited and reputiated

Charles Merriam, in his book "A history of American political theories, Quotes Francis Lieber approvingly as he writes this: (Pages 306 through 309)
Following Lieber, came a line of American political scientists, many of whom were trained in German schools, and all of whom had acquired a scientific method of discussing political phenomena. Among the most conspicuous figures in the new school are Theodore Woolsey, whose Political Science appeared in 1877, and John W. Burgess, who wrote, in 1890, Political Science and Comparative Constitutional Law, and a number of others who have contributed materially to the development of the subject.

The method of these authorities has already been indicated, and need not be discussed at length. The significant fact about it is the change from the rather haphazard style of discussing political theory in earlier days to a more scientific way of approaching the questions of politics. A far more thorough knowledge of history and a broader comparative view of political institutions are conspicuous in the new system.

The doctrines of these men differ in many important respects from those earlier entertained. The individualistic ideas of the "natural right" school of political theory, endorsed in the Revolution, are discredited and repudiated. The notion that political society and government are based upon a contract between independent individuals and that such a contract is the sole source of political obligation, is regarded as no longer tenable. Calhoun and his school had already abandoned this doctrine, while such men as Story had seen the need of extensive qualification of it. Objections to the social contract were strongly urged by Lieber, and were later more fully and clearly stated by others. In Lieber's opinion, the "state of nature" has no basis in fact. Man is essentially a social creature, and hence no artificial means for bringing him into society need be devised. Lieber condemned the contract theory as generally held, on the ground that it was both artificial and inadequate. Such an explanation of the origin of the state can be regarded as true only in the sense that every political society is composed of individuals who recognize the existence of mutual rights and duties. Only in the sense that there is a general recognition of these reciprocal claims can we say that the state is founded on contract; and this, of course, is far from what the doctrine is ordinarily taken to mean.

As a matter of fact, the state may originate, and has originated, Lieber said, in a variety of ways, as, for example, through force, fraud, consent, religion. Still more strongly is the opposition to the social-contract theory stated by Burgess. The hypothesis of an original contract to form the state is, as he reasons, wholly contrary to our knowledge of the historical development of political institutions. The social-contract theory assumes that " the idea of the state with all its attributes is consciously present in the minds of the individuals proposing to constitute the state, and that the disposition to obey law is universally established." These conditions, history shows, are not present at the beginning of the political development of a people, but are the result of long growth and experience. This theory therefore cannot account for the origin of the state. Its only possible application is in changing the form of the state, or in cases when a state is planted upon new territory by a population already politically educated.

In the refusal to accept the contract theory as the basis for government, practically all the political scientists of note agree. The old explanation no longer seems sufficient, and is with practical unanimity discarded. The doctrines of natural law and natural rights have met a similar fate.

So you see, It's obvious that SOMEONE should rule over us, there's not really this natural right for you to rule over yourself. That's just the "spirit of the time" - a phrase that Woodrow Wilson was fond of. 1 2

Who should rule? The elites, obviously. Those who know better than the uneducated masses. As society progresses, we're simply going to need the progressives. But it's regulation, not socialism, so, see how free you are? No, those regulations are not coercive. That's just for your own good, because the progressives know better than you.

Something else here worth noting is how these ideals are imported from Germany. I'd like to get into that a little bit later.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ben Franklin: wealth redistribution, that's what tyrants do

At the constitutional convention, when Franklin was older in his life and his body was starting to fail him, he wrote a letter which was read aloud by a fellow founder, James Wilson. In that letter, here's the whole paragraph of what Franklin says:

Besides these evils, Sir, tho' we may set out in the beginning with moderate salaries, we shall find that such will not be of long continuance. Reasons will never be wanting for proposed augmentations. And there will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers may be able in return to give more to them. -Hence as all history informs us, there has been in every State & Kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the governing & governed: the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the Princes, or enslaving of the people. Generally indeed the ruling power carries its point, the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes; the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partizans and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure. There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharoah, get first all the peoples money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants for ever. It will be said, that we don't propose to establish Kings. I know it. But there is a natural inclination in mankind to Kingly Government. It sometimes relieves them from Aristocratic domination. They had rather have one tyrant than five hundred. It gives more of the appearance of equality among Citizens, and that they like. I am apprehensive therefore, perhaps too apprehensive, that the Government of these States, may in future times, end in a Monarchy. But this Catastrophe I think may be long delayed, if in our proposed System we do not sow the seeds of contention, faction & tumult, by making our posts of honor, places of profit. If we do, I fear that tho' we do employ at first a number, and not a single person, the number will in time be set aside, it will only nourish the foetus of a King, as the honorable gentleman from Virginia very aptly expressed it, and a King will the sooner be set over us.

A few portions of this description of tyranny are key. For example:

Generally indeed the ruling power carries its point, the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes; the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partizans and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure.

And that's what all those who redistribute the wealth do, isn't it? Very little of what they redistribute goes to everybody. They use it to buy votes and shore up a voter base, among their partizans. To keep people dependent, and enough is never enough. Or as Franklin notes, they use it to pay their civilian national security force to suppress the people.

there has been in every State & Kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the governing & governed: the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the Princes, or enslaving of the people.

This would be the real goal of anybody who believes in the Cloward-Piven strategy. That is, enslaving the people. Collapse the system, install yourself as dictator.

They know wealth redistribution is a highly destructive force, and they're counting on it. None of what progressives want to do has anything to do with 'justice'. It's about power. There was even a book written by a progressive who dreamed about seeing an american dictator. That book's title is Philip Dru, Administrator. You can download it and read it. Or you can download and listen to the audiobook.

America can defeat progressivism. History is the answer.

Franklin's letter is also available as an audio file.