Folks, here is my first attempt at recording for the blog that I have now had for over six months. With many topics out there, I hope that I can voice my opinions on upcoming events as well as write them.
Much has happened in the City of Orlando and all of it has not been good. Shootings and a child towed under by an alligator has given the city a black eye that has tarnished its image as the City Beautiful. The city has grown into an entertainment mecca with theme parks and a clubs all over the place. Such modernity might be the in thing now, but it seems that the city lost a bit of its magic from the good ole days.
When I went to Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando back in 1982, the city was still a sleepy southern town with a county population of just under 500,000 people. There was Walt Disney World, but that was pretty much about it as far as theme parks were concerned until the opening of Epcot in October of that year. Wet n’ Wild was the major water park where you could get in for $10 and the only nightlife in the town was Church Street Station which consisted of a few bars and from what I have read closed its doors almost 20 years ago. I took the bus a couple of times around Orlando, but the bus service ended around 7:00 p.m. as most people stayed at home to spend their evenings cooking meals and listening to country music on WHOO radio. Yes, there is so much more to do there now, but the hectic pace of going from one park to another and dancing the night away seems inadequate to filling the void left in the soul of man.
Perhaps it is time for people to set back and reflect on the meaning of culture and taking a break from the hustle and bustle or the rat race. Yes, the past might be somewhat silly according to this video, but it seems that families played together and stayed together and the pace was slow. Hopefully, places can once again become communities where people can associate with each without other things crowding out the natural growth of relationships. As Robert Nisbet said in his book “The Quest for Community” :
Other and more powerful forms of association have existed, but the major moral and psychological influences on the individual’s life have emanated from the family and local community and the church. Within such groups have been engendered the primary types of identification: affection, friendship, prestige, recognition. And within them also have been engendered or intensified the principal incentives of work, love, prayer, and devotion to freedom and order.
The Orlando of the past is gone and we cannot go back. However, it is not too late to preserve what’s left of the old culture where family, church and community was paramount. Let’s choose the right future.
The stage is now set for the General Election in November with Donald Trump going against Hillary Clinton in the Presidential race. Once again, many people on both sides of the ideological spectrum are proclaiming this election the most important election in our lifetimes. This line is bandied about because the office of the President is a very powerful position that decides how the executive agencies are run and what nominees are named to the Supreme Court and the lower courts. Many are fearful that actions by such a powerful person would lead to the diminution of their liberties.
The question we should ask ourselves is how could just one person have so much power over our lives. The answer shockingly enough lies within the voting public that elected people in the past that amassed power to themselves. Among this group of people were many Presidents. This trend is not new. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddhin wrote various books on the dangers of democracy in three books, Liberty or Equality, Menace of the Herd and Leftism. In them, he excoriates democratic rule which he calls very unstable and leads to tyranny and centralization. He notes that Revolutionary France was the wellspring of many of the problems that faces people today as the result of government power. No doubt Kuehnelt-Leddhin would have agreed with Lord Acton that democracy generally monopolizes and concentrates power. The wealth of quotes from this man are full of wisdom and eye opening. They include the following:
Even 51 per cent of a nation can establish a totalitarian and dictatorial règime, suppress minorities, and still remain democratic; there is, as we have said, little doubt that the American Congress and the French Chambre have a power over their respective nations which would rouse the envy of a Louis XIV or a George III were they alive today.
Democratism and its allied herd movements, while remaining loyal to the principle of equality and identity, will never hesitate to sacrifice liberty.
Fifty-one percent of a nation can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic.
Indeed, it seems that the more we vote, the less freedom we have. We should wake up and call for mass de-centralization of power and abolition of many of the central agencies like the CIA, FBI, ATF, NSA and TSA that have corroded our liberties. Perhaps the upcoming Brexit vote in Great Britain will give us a ray of hope.
Last Friday, the United States Department of Education gave out a directive to all of the public schools across America with regards to certain segments of the population who identify as persons of the opposite sex to use the restrooms of the sex they identify with. With such a directive, it is clear that the federal government has amassed to itself incredible power to dictate policy to every school district and its 50 million children that go to K-12 schools here. With the North Carolina situation, there is talk of pulling education funding from the Tarheel State unless HB-2 is repealed.
How did we get to this situation? At the time of the Constitution’s creation in 1789, James Madison specifically stated in Federalist No. 45 that:
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.
For the next 70 years, the federal government had little influence in the course of affairs inside America. It was well understood that the States, which were closer to the people, understood what their citizens needed and past the modest laws to maintain order. Unfortunately, with the arrival of the Civil War and the subsequent Reconstruction, state’s rights were obliterated and more power was concentrated in Washington. This fact was all apparent during the Great Depression when Franklin Roosevelt created numerous federal agencies that were wholly without constitutional warrant, yet it thrived by bribing voters into voting for centralized government. Today, we see the evil fruits of such centralization. Joseph Sobran said several years before his death that the Civil War actually made it possible for cases like Obergefell and Roe v. Wade to be imposed on the nation for the states were unable to fight back without armed invasion and the states had no check on the power of the Supreme Court. Now comes the word from on high that funds will be withheld and decrees issue on behalf of a group that was the subject of curiosity just a few decades ago in films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Freebie and the Bean and Dressed to Kill.
To have policies dictated to 320 million people en masse is evidence that the old republic has long since vanished and a progressive empire is now dominant. Men like Donald Livingston and Kirkpatrick Sale have long warned that centralization of power would eventually lead to an utter despotism.
During the 1970s, women like Gloria Steinem thought that the Equal Rights Amendment was necessary to bring, in their minds, equality for women. With its deadline for ratification expiring in 1983, many thought that the issue was dead. Steinem and Eleanor Smeal need not have worried, for the Magic 14th Amendment was all that was needed to make their dreams come true. The Constitution and federal government was great while it lasted. That 1789 document is now merely a totem that is on display at the National Archives.
The continuing battle over bathrooms took a turn as the State of North Carolina and the United States Department of Justice took turns at suing each other over the right to enforce House Bill 2 which would provide guidelines for restroom facilities in public areas as well as businesses and supersedes any local ordinances. In the meantime, various public figures such as Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen and the Blue man Group have cancelled appearances in North Carolina citing discrimination concerns. Loretta Lynch, the Attorney General, stated, in part, that:
…we are seeking a court order declaring House Bill 2’s restroom restriction impermissibly discriminatory, as well as a statewide bar on its enforcement. While the lawsuit currently seeks declaratory relief, I want to note that we retain the option of curtailing federal funding to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina as this case proceeds.
In summary, the government is threatening to withhold federal dollars from the the state unless it complies and repeals the law. AG Lynch stated that the motivation behind the suit was to summon” our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion and open-mindedness.” I dare say that there was another group of people who tried to impose top-down virtues several centuries ago. In the name of liberty, fraternity and equality, the Jacobins of the French Revolution imposed their Reign of Terror on the nation that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and led to the autocratic rule of Napoleon. Since that time, many nations have envisioned places where all could live in peace and happiness where virtue could be achieved if only if the populace could be educated and the dissenters and troublemakers dispensed with. Paul Gottfried has noted in a review of Emilio Gentile’s book “Politics as Religion” that the left has created a new civil religion that has taken the place of a weakened Christianity. Gottfried stated:
Nation-states have been latching onto religious symbols since early-modern times: the frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes’s magnum opus Leviathan features an exalted personal sovereign towering high above the lords temporal and ecclesiastical and over the symbols of their authority. It was not Mussolini but Hobbes who first opined that the Leviathan, understood as the sovereign state, is man’s admirable approximation of divine handiwork.
So it goes that any attempt to question the wisdom of the central state is akin to blasphemy and a monstrous sin against the virtues of inclusivity and so on. The central State is supreme over family, church and community and is the instrument that will be bring heaven to earth and give us the secular millennium. Who knows where our government in Washington will go with so much power, but if past experience is a guide, it will lead to great sorrow for the people.
Moving to Wichita Falls a few months ago, I was greeted with cold weather and dreary skies that lasted into March. A few weeks ago, I was greeted with a few nasty thunderstorms that produced a lot of hail that was bouncing off our windows in our apartment. Yes indeed, the weather is interesting here, but of course the most worrisome things here are the notorious tornadoes that dance across the southern plains mostly during the springtime. Wichita Falls is no stranger to these events. The city suffered great damage in April 1964 tornado where seven people were killed. Of course, while not as powerful as the 1964 tornado, the monster that struck Wichita Falls in 1979 killed 42 people and destroyed hundred of millions of dollars in property.
Life is full of risks in any area of the world. Earthquakes, hurricanes and blizzards occur world wide, but the tornado seems to be the most frightening of all events. We take our lives for granted every day and we must thank God for His provision and protection. It is my hope that my stay here in North Texas will be a blessed one for many years to come.
“Barfield never made me an Anthroposophist, but his counterattacks destroyed forever two elements in my own thought. In the first place he made short work of what I have called my ‘chronological snobbery,’ the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited. You must find why it went out of date. Was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood. From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also “a period,” and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions. They are likeliest to lurk in those widespread assumptions which are so ingrained in the age that no one dares to attack or feels it necessary to defend them.”
C.S. Lewis made this comment in his 1955 book Surprised by Joy where he was taken to task for his thinking that the age that he lived in was superior to all of those that existed in the past.
Today, we have been constantly bombarded with such terms as “progress” and “moving forward” as if we are marching to some goal in the future where the “sins” of the past are forsaken and that we are marching to some secular Zion where all men will love each other and that the world will finally live in peace. In the past few years, many progressives have called on the state to make sure that man is perfected by a set of laws that would eliminate discrimination from the face of the earth. There has been some pushback from some of the Southern states in the form of “bathroom bills,” legislation that is designed so that people can go to the bathroom with those of the same sex and mandates transgenders to use those facilities that identify with the sex that they were born with . Critics of the bill howled and derided the bills as fascistic and an affront to “open-minded” people every where and that such bills would lead to future discrimination against them. Progress is being hindered and that we are regressing to the dreaded “dark ages” in these people’s opinion. To this I say “So what?” Groups of people should be free to associate with whomever without the State forcing them to hire people or serve people against their will. The liberty and the freedom enjoyed by people in the past is now being eroded in the name of “progress.” All that came before was evil and that those who defend the past are called neanderthals, knuckledraggers, closed-mind or “out-of-step.” They pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves for being far superior to those folks of the past. Today’s pundits state that we must be united and that we must be as one.
Butler Shaffer is not a believer, but he sees that people who identify themselves not as individuals, but rather as members of groups as a sign that civilization is fast being destroyed and that the individualistic spirit is being crushed. Here is what he had to say about the group mentality:
“It should surprise no intelligent mind that elevating the presumed interests of abstractions over those of living individuals, is bound to be destructive of life, and of the cultures around which life organizes itself. Historians have told us how the stabilization of social and economic conditions that appear to promote the permanency of institutions actually frustrate the processes of adaptation upon which life depends. In using their political influence to standardize and make human behavior more uniform, institutions have, without intending to do so, contributed to the stifling of the creative forces that keep a culture vibrant. This has relevance not only to the depletion of material values – what Carroll Quigley referred to as a civilization’s “instruments of expansion” – but, as Toynbee noted, spiritual values as well.”
Indeed, the push to become united by force is now destroying us as a free people. We must think and act alike in the name of “tolerance” or we will be cast into outer darkness. Let us take back the reins of TRUE liberty as persons and not as groups.
Norman Jewison’s 1975 masterpiece Rollerball is set in a dystopia in the near future where governments have crumbled and corporations rule the planet. Bartholomew, played by John Houseman, is a corporation head that is alarmed by the individual effort of Jonathan E in his playing the sport of Rollerball, a sport that let’s the common man have an outlet for his life by cheering for teams sponsored by corporations. Bartholomew states to his fellow executives:
In my opinion, we are confronted here with something of a situation. Otherwise, I would not have presumed to take up your time. Once again, it concerns the case of Jonathan E. We know we don’t want anything extraordinary to happen to Jonathan. We’ve already agreed on that. No accidents, nothing unnatural. The game was created to demonstrate the futility of individual effort. And the game must do its work. The Energy Corporation has done all it can, and if a champion defeats the meaning for which the game was designed, then he must lose. I hope you agree with my reasoning.
Today, the corporations flexed their muscles to force Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia to veto a bill that would give limited amounts of freedom to people who wish to act on their convictions in terms of catering to the LGBT community. Major corporations such as Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola and the National Football League indicated that if the bill were to become law, the state would take a major hit on its pocketbook due to corporations refraining from doing business with the state. A similar measure was signed into law in North Carolina where the state is being threatened with withdraw of business.
It is apparent that corporations have tremendous power in dictating to government what to do and how to do it. Progressives cheered this action today, but it is ironic that the same group of people they deride as the one percenters and evil corporate rulers now sings their praises to high heaven. It is also apparent to the social conservatives and libertarians that corporations are no friends of theirs. They are interested in only one thing and that is getting a buck. They have long since used the government as a form of rent seeking, gaining favor for such things as the Wall Street bailout and the auto industry bailout several years ago. Meanwhile, the common man gets nothing from the government as its businesses are not “too big to fail.” Mark Crovelli stated in a March 31, 2014 post to Lewrockwell.com:
I am thus seriously perplexed and enraged to read about government “bailouts” occurring on a regular basis all over the modern world. … Goldman Sachs, GM, and AIG were all effectively “bailed out” because their previous executives were so outstandingly incompetent and corrupt that they rendered their institutions insolvent by orders of magnitude.
So it is today, that the common man who yearns for a bit of liberty has been squashed again by the corporate junta who really calls the shots in our land.
Today, almost all of the remaining presidential candidates spoke before the AIPAC convention in Washington DC. AIPAC, which stands for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has been instrumental in urging the United States government to maintain strong ties to Israel including providing financial and military assistance. The mission of AIPAC is the following:
The mission of AIPAC is to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel.
Cooperation between the two countries is advantageous for both nations. As America’s bipartisan pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC urges all members of Congress to support Israel through foreign aid, government partnerships, joint anti-terrorism efforts and the promotion of a negotiated two-state solution – a Jewish state of Israel and a demilitarized Palestinian state.
Why, shall we ask, should we give billions of dollars to a country that does not involve the defense of this country? It is halfway around the world and far from our shores. Why also should we support a Jewish state where most other nations are derided as racist for not allowing immigration of people whose culture and religion are different from others. I can think of the nation of South Africa which excluded blacks from political participation until recent times. That many progressives, including Hillary Clinton, support these policies is the height of hypocrisy. At the AIPAC conference today, Hillary Clinton stated the following:
Candidates for president who think the United States can outsource Middle East security to dictators, or that America no longer has vital national interests at stake in this region are dangerously wrong.
It would be a serious mistake for the United States to abandon our responsibilities, or cede the mantle of leadership for global peace and security to anyone else.
What is this “mantle of leadership for global peace” she is talking about? We are exhausted from fighting in the Middle East for the last 25 years and spent between $4 to $6 trillion in fighting losing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only have we lost, we have also stirred up a hornet’s nest of terrorism that was unheard of just 30 years ago. AIPAC might think that we in America have bottomless pockets to support their selfish interests. However, the game is up and it is time to tell Israel that they are on their own.
The circus that is the 2016 Presidential primary continues apace with special speech made by Mitt Romney in Salt Lake City this afternoon. Trump’s flaws are well-known with his advocacy of universal health care, invasion of privacy and abuses of due process as brilliantly summarized by Bruce Fein in the Washington Times. Nevertheless, as of this writing, he leads in the polls and in delegates and stands a good chance to win the nomination. What has made him so attractive is his stand as an outsider and that he is a man that is not beholden to special as he has funded his own campaign. It is also a known fact that the public has gradually come to the realization that the men in Washington have thrown them under the bus and that they are more interested in serving lobbyists in the DC suburbs than hearing the people. Trump has tapped into this discontent with maximum effect.
Into this campaign stepped Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee for President. In his ineptitude, he has thrown gasoline on the fire as he said some of these whoppers:
His tax plan in combination with his refusal to reform entitlements and honestly address spending would balloon the deficit and the national debt. So even though Donald Trump has offered very few specific economic plans, what little he has said is enough to know that he would be very bad for American workers and for American families.
Where has this man been in the last decade? It was the GOP Congress that gave us Medicare Part D that aggravated the deficit and it was Romney’s allies like John McCain and Lindsay Graham that voted to bail out the big banks that sent the debt into the stratosphere. The GOP Congress under Speaker Ryan has abandoned any pretense of capping spending by eliminating the sequester in early 2015 and setting the stage for larger deficits in the future. Romney should just be quiet and stop talking about plans.
Mr. Trump’s bombast is already alarming the allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies. Insulting all Muslims will keep many of them from fully engaging with us in the urgent fight against ISIS, and for what purpose? Muslim terrorists would only have to lie about their religion to enter the country.
Again, the irony is stunning. Our government has constantly aggravated the situation by engaging in Wilsonian nation building and arming rebels that are intent on overthrowing Assad and creating an ISIS stronghold. We arm the Saudis to the tune of $60 billion and they have used those weapons to kill their enemies in Yemen. You talk about bombast? We chant USA!! USA!! USA!! as if our country is the only one that matters in this world.
I can go on and on, but the clear facts are that we are $20 trillion in debt, our civil liberties are in great peril and the remaining candidates have no clue on how to get us out of this mess. Romney’s words might be the stuff of eloquence, but in the hands of “competent” people, we are fast approaching national bankruptcy. Trump is not the solution, but who is? Time to stop the world saving and let’s concentrate on home and hearth.