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A History Prof’s View on the Choice in 2016

Posted: Sunday, October 9th, 2016

Would you hear me out on this?

In business they say typically, “To keep from hurting your business, do not bring up religion or politics.” In that case I am doomed. An ordained minister with a Ph.D. in history and a university professor for 4 decades, I also run a large family marketing organization. But I think the stakes in this election are the highest ever, and I know American history thoroughly. Therefore, I want to share my take. Please read it and join the conversation.

The undisputed classic American Government by Burns and Peltason routinely stressed that the number one factor in what party a person votes for is how their parents voted. Voting patterns are fairly constant with less than 20% acting independently. My folks were Truman Democrats who did like Eisenhower, but my wife’s Texas parents were close friends of Lyndon Johnson, who sent us a wedding present and invited us to the White House. We voted for Johnson, Humphrey and even McGovern as we believed in seeing the government help the disadvantaged. I remember right where I was when I had an emotional conversion to the Democrats while reading Schlesinger’s description of the callous Republicans after the Great Crash of 1929.

We were joining a solid Democratic coalition of urban, Jewish, immigrant, Black and intellectual liberals, extolling the Great Society that declared war on poverty and racism, while throwing money at education and the Arts. We were like all good “progressives” moved by compassion, but the government approach never worked as well as the free markets and charity. Ironically, all  the Democratic candidates who release their tax forms never show more than 2 – 3% of giving to charity. They want the government to take from some to give to others! Unfortunately, we saw the size of the federal budget double and the bureaucracy triple, with inflation and recession being the main result. In fact, poverty, housing, education and urban are actually worse since then as a number of scholarly studies have demonstrated the failure of the Great Society reforms Meanwhile, we saw corporations doing more to educate and hire the handicapped and unemployed with tax incentives that cost us nothing and without creating more federal bureaucrats . Although having good intentions, the program of paying monthly checks to young mothers with no male in the home has had the “unintended consequence” of destroying urban Black families. Today over 70% of young Black babies are born in single family homes, up from less than 1/4th in 1970. What effect do you thing the lack of a strong father in a home would have on the rearing of young men? That more Black males are in prison today than in college shows a government program gone wrong. What has been created was not the “Model Cities” projected but urban racial ghettoes rules by gangs, drugs and violence. What political party has extended these programs in Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland, Philadelphia, etc. for over 50 years? How has that been working?

The Housing bubble that almost wiped out the banking system in 2007 was the outcome of the government pushing mortgage banks and realtors to lower the bar and push more “sub-prime “(less credit-worthy) sales which the semi-government Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “backed” to Banks which bundled them with some more-likely-to-be-repaid mortgages as “derivative” investments. Unfortunately, the sub-prime outpaced the value and the bubble brought down Lehman Brothers, AIG, Goldman Sachs etc. The Too Big to Fail were bailed out at the taxpayers expense. Unfortunately, derivatives at the big banks for car loans, student loans etc. are a bigger bubble today with defaults starting to threaten the whole structure again.

Historically, the Democratic party built its numbers in the urban cities of the east among the immigrants who were greeted as they got off the boats. The party “ward heeler” made these bewildered new arrivals dependent upon them for housing, employment and even marital connection in exchange for eventual voter loyalty, which might last for generations. Jews, Irish Catholics, and east European descendants are reliable party faithful, as are the labor unions which they organized against the Industrial oppressors. Union bosses—and even union dues –could be counted on for Democratic loyalty.

When did the intellectuals espouse the Democratic agenda? Unfortunately, the Viet Nam war kept those liberals opposed to the war hiding in the ivory towers of higher education, and earning advanced degrees and tenured professorships. The result? A generation of educators skewed even more to the left and teaching the teachers of lower education to be “politically correct.”  Education took on an agenda of indoctrination, not the healthy debate of opposing perspectives. Dissent from the conservative side was shamed and suppressed. Journalism schools were similarly slanted to the point of becoming unethically biased and manipulative of the news. Hollywood personalities played to this popular following.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., a Supreme Court Justice into his 90’s, made famous the statement, “The best test of truth is its ability to get itself accepted in the marketplace of ideas.” The problem today is that the marketplace has been monopolized by a cabal of educators, journalists and entertainers who all employ the “groupspeak” warned about by George Orwell in 1984. It is shameless the way that the mainstream media(TV networks and big city dailies) choose stories, words and questions for debate that advance their anointed leaders, while demonizing their opponents no matter how worthy. How can the debate moderator bring up the “birther” issue, fat beauty queens, and unexposed tax records and not even mention the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi or “Pay for Play”? If the New York Times can find a leak of Trumps tax records, why could they never find a hint of Obama’s school records that probably showed his admission and benefits as a “foreign student”? The truth doesn’t seem to matter, and is even suppressed to protect their agenda. Some famous studies by political scientists have shown that news anchors and editors have voted over 90% for the Democratic party. Gallup examined a larger sample and found that 64% of journalists had voted Democratic in every election since 1980! The morning after the Vice-President debate, all the major news outlets except Fox News had the same by-line, “Pence will be the Front Runner in 2020,” meaning he knows they are going to lose this year.  Where did they all get the same theme in lock-step within hours after the debate—maybe from a feed from the Clinton campaign? Fortunately, the public increasingly distrusts the media as polls show. But even the pollsters are accused of siding with the Mainstream Media to give them attention. Perhaps there will be a big surprise come election night.

If one wants a healthy corrective on the Hillary glorification, they might look at Dinesh D’Sousa’s documentary on “Hillary’s America,” or Peter Schweizer’s “Clinton Cash.” D’Sousa rightly shows the Democrats as working the immigrant docks(since the 1840’s) and ghettoes for votes which enriched corrupt city governments, and turned out votes—often fraudulently—for the national ticket. As FDR said about the Big City Bosses of the 1930’s and 40’s, “They may be ‘Sons of Bitches,’ but they are our ‘Sons of Bitches’.” It is also clear that the Democratic Party was the party of segregation until the Republican Congress and President initiated desegregation under Eisenhower. It was his appointees that struck down school segregation in 1956. Even then the Senate minority floor leader(Robert Byrd) was a former state leader of the KKK. Martin Luther King, Jr. voted as a Republican. Even the desegregation laws late in Johnson’s term would not have passed if the party of Lincoln had not been unanimous in their support. The so-called “switch” of the segregationists to the Republican party was attributed totally to ONE man- Strom Thurman of South Carolina –who changed party. The Democrats spread  that theme to lock in the inner city vote and secured the underclass of voters with an expanding welfare state. Who do the aspiring African Americans align with? The Ben Carsons, the Thomas Sowells, the Herman Cains? We do not have a race problem we have a class problem that is being exploited for political control. Now if only the Democrats can bring the recent immigrants on board they will control the country for another generation. Why do the Democrats want more immigrants? Duh?

The biggest influence on Barak Obama were his mentors from his early years who included a few Marxist revolutionaries(Davis, Wright, etc.) and the founder of Community Action, Saul Alinsky, a man who worked with a Mafia boss in Chicago to learn how to control a society. His early activities were unethical and antisocial, but he learned his craft well and taught it in his published Rules for Radicals. He dedicated the book to the most successful revolutionary who even got his own Kingdom- Lucifer!  He stressed in politics to never debate your opponent because that would show respect. Instead, personally ridicule them and demonize their image with repeated attacks and even unfounded charges, but when they would counter-attack, you should claim to being victimized (“Gold Star” mother, “Miss Piggy”, etc,) thus evoking general sympathy. But to take control of the country, he taught 8 clear steps. The first was to take over the Health Care system, the seventh of the economy. Second, increase the welfare dependence of more people. Third, increase the national debt beyond sustainable levels, forcing a collapse and eventual extreme measures. Does any of this sound familiar? Obama has accomplished all of this so far, in addition to lessening “America’s exclusiveness” for the sake of globalism and anti-imperialism. BUT do you know who did a senior college thesis on Saul Alinsky, meeting with him on three occasions, before insulting a Supreme Court justice on stage at her college commencement? Hillary Rodham! She already tried to take Health Care, which Obama eventually did. But she is NOT another Bill Clinton, who ruled by moving to the Center to get re-elected and working with the Gingrich Congress to reform welfare and reduce spending. No, Hillary will move America further toward the radical vision of a socialistic society with bigger government control over business, education, economy and environment, not to mention a smaller role in world affairs. Keeping Bernie Sanders voters will just push her further. The America we have known will be changed forever. Make no mistake about that.

One other thing disturbs me deeply as a member of the Builder Generation(born 1932-1945). I have believed in America and its values, its unique leadership of the world toward democratic freedoms and I have taught this patriotic image. Sure, there would be scandals to appear like in Teapot Dome or Watergate, but these would always be exposed and corrected. However, I never thought I would say this about my country—It has become corrupt at the highest levels and nothing is being done about it. Even the Federal Reserve Board and the administration departments are papering over a disastrous economic situation to help the incumbents stay in office. Whomever is elected will have hell to pay for what is mushrooming beneath the surface. More and more economists are seeing debt beyond our GDP that threatens currency, bank and market crises that make the Great Recession look like a picnic. But back to corruption. One of the most important values of our country is the RULE OF LAW, which says “no man is above the law.” The Clintons definitely behave as if they are above the law. Before leaving office Bill Clinton pardoned over 160 criminals, who had personal contacts and are now donating big-time for Hillary’s election. They “sold” nights in the Lincoln bedroom to “guests” who were big donors. They stripped the White House of over $200,000 worth of furniture, pictures and articles they claimed wrongly were theirs (some were returned). She maintained private servers and emails against the federal codes, destroying 30,000 emails and smashing or erasing phones and servers that could be used as evidence. Others went to jail for less but the DOJ did not think it would be worthy of charges. The National Review has since found that 18 of those emails were with the POTUSA, implicating him. Any trial would have really messed up the administration! The emails obtained clearly show that the Clintons were using their State Department position to obtain donations to the Clinton Foundation even from foreign governments in a “pay for play” shake-down. Why are the major media putting this on the back page with hemorrhoid ads? How did these people who claim to be penniless when they left the White House become worth a quarter of a billion? Is this the $250,000 fees for 20-minute speeches to the banks, corporations and governments who want access to their power? Imagine $21 million in speaker fees. Can the media find out what is being said to these groups she promises to tax more? I am terribly disappointed in the American government and media.

What this situation does show unmistakably is this. There exists, as Eisenhower warned when he left office, a shadow institution behind the administrations of both parties, an “establishment” that includes the insiders in both parties and all branches of government who keep the charade going. The bureaucrats, lobbyists and consultants working with Wall Street insiders are all in as well. This has been referred to as the “Deep State,” which keeps increasing the size of the budget and the government all to their advantage. The biggest increase in income in Obama’s first term was to government employees, who now average annually #117,000 in salary and benefits when compared to the $52,000 in salary and benefits for the average family(a decrease in the last 8 years!) The overreach of that government in regulating business and controlling our lives is suffocating the economy. Home ownership now is at the lowest since the 1970’s and the labor market has 90 million who have left the labor force. Washington is not working, at least not for the people. The level of wealth and prosperity in Washington and its environs far surpasses the rest of the country. The public is catching on. When the 2014 Republican victors in Congress did nothing that the voters demanded they do to reverse Obama and government spending, the revolt started and swept an Outsider ahead of everyone else in the Republican primaries. Trump is not the ideal standard bearer, but he is what the people have rallied around against the Establishment. The Brexit surprise and the Colombian referendum failure this week suggest CHANGE is the desire of the people. This year is the year for a “change election,” and it might just happen.

The CHOICE clearly is between a corrupt leftist politician for the Establishment versus a badly-demonized business man on the Outside  with some offensive manners who might change everything! The scary thing is that with the media betrayal of its journalistic ethic and the growing demographics of the dependent classes, this might just be the last chance to save America. The corrupt voting practices in the big cities might have already determined it.

Hillary Clinton has been a mean lawyer and corrupt politician throughout her career, The names of the scandals are like a cascade of bad memories: Rose Law Firm, Whitewater, Cattlegate, Travel Gate, Filegate, Hillarycare, etc. down to the Clinton Foundation. Her treatment of a young rape victim in her successful defense of her rapist and her attacks on the women who claimed sexual abuse by her husband show that her “feminism” runs shallow, and a bit hypocritical. Her abuse of the women exploited by her husband(bimbo eruptions), even threatening them with personal destruction and employing private investigators to harass them shows less compassion for some women.

But what about her record? As first Lady, she made a mess of the White House Travel Office, removing career public servants who had served 5 Presidents to throw the business to her friend, even pressing false charges against the former workers, all of whom were later exonerated. As First Lady she not only failed at Health Care Reform but several other initiatives.   They “sold” nights in the Lincoln bedroom to big donors. What laws did she pass during six years in the Senate? What successful strategy did she employ as Secretary of State? The Russian “reset” or the Arab Spring in Libya? How did that go in Benghazi? Those who oppose her have been targeted by the IRS and worse—There are over two dozen mysterious deaths of people capable of exposing Hillary from Vince Foster to the death of the Wiki-leaks Lawyer last month in front of a train. Why are there so many people who are suspicious of her?

I certainly do not think Donald J. Trump is an ideal candidate, but his crass, straight-forward style has touched the nerve of millions of out-siders who do not feel the government or the traditional parties are serving them. Were not Bernie Sanders supporters also showing the rage of people long excluded from the table? Of course, Bernie has now joined the party faithful, after he got a new lakefront home to go with his other two. Does not the discovery of the Democratic Party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s emails revealing the fix against Bernie tell you this is not an ethical bunch? Whatever happened to her after that? She was hired the next day by the Clinton campaign! Hello?

One unfortunate thing about Donald Trump – there are many –is his authenticity as a businessman. He’s egotistical, braggadocios, offensive, and insensitive and close to his roots growing up in Queens. But he has never lied under oath before Congress or court. But I have read both his books and am impressed that these are his own words, and they reflect sound principles and good business sense. Over the years he has supported many causes and candidates from all persuasions, and even made donations to both sides. He is open to criticism for having products made overseas, for failing in a number of ventures, for avoiding income taxes after business losses, and even for being over sexed. One thing that strikes me is that he lost almost $1 billion in the Atlantic City gambling bust and came back to higher levels. His optimism is refreshing. I like the the thought of Making America Great Again and I think with a political outsider choosing good minds to advise him and a supportive Congress we just might be able to do it. Let the insiders keep doing what they have been doing is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

This election is the most important in our lifetime, if only because we are approaching a point of no return to the country we have known and been proud of. Our children and grandchildren deserve that we make the wisest decision for them on this election day. To stay home or to vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for the insiders and the Deep State. Trump is not the lily-white, born-again charismatic figure you might like, but he’s the best choice we’ve  got to take America back from those who have brought it to the brink.

Race Relations Today

Posted: Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

People are different. They differ in age, race, religion, social class, ethnicity, economic status and countless other characteristics. Moreover, they inevitably compare themselves to the others and make judgments. Given the inherent insecurity of human nature shaped by centuries of the struggle for survival, many of the judgments made are defensive. “Is that person (group, nation) stronger than (wiser than, ahead of) me and my identity group?” “Does he threaten me for food resources, a job, a better position, control of the community?” When a society or the world is stable and we feel secure, those differences are acceptable. When things turn insecure for whatever reason, the differences can become intolerable. As an individual there will be people whom you do not choose to tolerate. Personally, I do not tolerate murderers, pedophiles, traitors, etc. all understandably intolerable by current social standards. For religious and political differences I may disagree with others strongly and yet respect them as humans. But when I irrationally and emotionally find myself attacking the personhood of another because of some personal characteristic difference, then I have slipped into intolerance. Turning that attitude into a hostile action is an injustice.

In society we will always have groups that sense those differences and can for whatever reason—economic or political –seek to advance its position ahead of the other group, advocating actively for their stance and against the other. Within the limits of normal political give-and-take this is understandable and acceptable. When it turns violent or repressive, this becomes unjust. In most societies there are majorities and minorities(Sunni and Shiite, Catholic and Protestant, Black and White, Hausa and Ebo, etc.). The temptation in most cases—especially in times of unrest and instability –is for the ones in power to penalize the minority by limiting their power and position through the government authority(Sadam Hussein’s repression of Shiites in Iraq, Muslim enslaving of Christians in the Sudan, etc.). When the differences are based on race, it’s called “racism.” If it deals with foreign-born immigrants versus natives, that referred to as “Xenophobia”(fear of foreigners) or “nativism”(preference for the native-born). Those who hate Jews are referred to as “Anti-Semitic.”

Chattel slavery in the past few centuries was an extreme case of this as the warring tribes in West Africa sold their conquered neighbors to the Dutch and British in search of slave labor for the American colonies. After the Emancipation and Reconstruction of the United States, legal segregation would be used to preserve the White Superiority. What the local laws did not accomplish, vigilant groups would by terrorizing the minority into accepting their inferior status. A similar practice of apartheid would separate the races in South Africa. Even the U. S, Supreme Court accepted the practice in 1890 of “Separate but Equal,” but the equality in legal standing was less than that in education, employment, etc. Ironically, it was always the lower element of the majority—a.k.a. the White trash(economically threatened by aspiring African-Americans) –who most forcefully fought to keep segregation. But in the Cold War years with the memories of Nazi anti-Semitism and African decolonization in our minds the practice of segregation seemed out-of-place in a Christian nation. Fortunately, the Black protest came from a non-violent clergy who persistently insisted on their place at the table. Along with national leaders like Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, backed by a Republican Congress, the legal restrictions were struck down as the SCOTUS applied the desegregation to schools, restaurants, corporations, etc. More recently, affirmative action programs and minority preferences have attempted to correct long-standing discriminations. Now Blacks are recognized as leaders in Business, Government, Sports and Entertainment and not recognized as fundamentally different in the classroom or workplace. But now even with a Black President and Attorney General, there are some who would observe that race relations are worse than ever.

In case you have not noticed, the emphasis in recent decades of teaching American history is to focus on the place of minorities(Women, Indians, Blacks, immigrants) in our past with an intent to eliminate intolerance. “Political correctness” has even led us to punish what might be “hate speech” and to deal out stiffer penalties for what might be “hate crimes.” Unfortunately, the enforcement of this in the media and in the work place has led to a wide variety of injustices without due process. Conservatives are shouted down at campus appearances and commencements because their views are “not P.C.” A Christian organization that declined to hire a homosexual recently lost its non-profit status with the I.R.S.  Can we being going too far when a University Chancellor, University President and a Head Coach all lose their jobs and careers because a seventh-year student thought he heard some one driving by to use the N—word and decided to go on a hunger strike for a campus safe from offensive words? This week a group of Black pastors led by Bishop W. C. Jackson, Sr. (Stand claimed that those pushing “Black Lives Matter” and similar protest groups are actually disturbing race relations for their own separate political agenda. These pastors felt race-baiters were attempting to exploit situations like Ferguson and Baltimore for their own notoriety and political influence. It is interesting to note that the South Carolina church that was tragically attacked by a lone gunman sent the Rev. Al Sharpton back to New York on the next plane so that they could tend to forgiveness and community healing.

Why the Economy Crashed in 2007-

Posted: Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Why the Economy Crashed in 2007:   My studied Opinion

If the Free Market normally works to self-maintain itself and if the government regulators and federal bankers are doing their job, why did the financial markets almost collapse completely in 2007,  causing our on-going economic slump, the worst since the Great Depression. The current liberal administration and the Democratic Congress in 2009 blamed capitalism and moved for greater control, a position echoed by the elite media. Despite their loud voice and bold action, the truth is still coming out. Government over-involvement in the mortgage finance markets, encouraged by liberal politicians, with over-assured regulators allowing the bubble to expand unchecked, deserves the main blame.

Several recent economic studies from both sides seem to agree on these points:

As early as the Carter administration, and more boldly during the Clinton times, the Democratic policies have stressed the goal of more housing for everyone, a worthy ideal if it does not compromise sound financial practice.

The anti-discrimination directives of post-segregation mortgage lending have been increasingly mandated to allow non-qualifiers to get home loans. Under pressure the pendulum swung from “red-lining” to “green lighting.” A worthy objective but pressed beyond caution.

The GSE’s (Government Sponsored Entities) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, set up years ago to moderate the market for “conforming loans” have expanded to over half of all loans with increasingly relaxed standards. The GSMs were not subject to the restrictions and taxes that Banks and S & L’s have, and the GSM appointees lobbied and donated heavily to the administration and the Congressional banking chairs(Dodd and Frank). The Fannie Mae President (himself a big Obama contributor) even moved numbers back to a prior year for his executives to qualify for millions more in bonuses.

Investor’s Business Daily reported in 2008 that President Clint rewrote Fannie’s and Freddie’s rules. In doing so, he turned the two quasi-private, mortgage-funding firms into a semi-nationalized monopoly that dispensed cash to markets, made loans to large Democratic voting blocs and handed favors, jobs and money to political allies. This potent mix led inevitably to corruption and the Fannie-Freddie collapse.

Competing with the GSMs for non-conforming loans the banks and Savings & Loans also relaxed standards, which were increasingly computerized. Can you say “sub-prime”? With credit rates still low from previous Fed actions, the housing market for new and used homes continued to expand more and more. The resulting rising home prices would feed the expectation of lenders that the values could only continue to rise. Buyers also saw this opportunity as a way to “flip” houses for greater and greater profits. The expansion of credit extended to other areas, autos, appliances, and home-equity loans as the economy ballooned.

With the GSMs came the “bundling” of good with poor(sub-prime) mortgages into mortgage-backed securities(securitization) which brought more money into the market from pensions and individuals. Seeking for ways to protect against any mortgage defaults, the Banks created new investment products for buyers from individuals, pension funds and even foreign investors to participate in the boom: Mortgage-Backed Securities, Credit Default Swaps and Collateralized Debt Obligations. Increasingly, loans to bad credit risks were bundled with other perhaps better risks and sold to a public eager for some “guaranteed good returns” beyond stocks and bonds. During this time Congress repealed the Glass-Stegall Banking Act allowing Banks to get into investment sales again. From 2003 to 2007 the assets of these institutions doubled, much of it representing short-term loans that are vulnerable to a loss of confidence.  If these securities proved to be “toxic” the whole house of cards could come tumbling down.

How big did the housing finance bubble get? According to the American Enterprise Institute, by 2008 half of all mortgages were made to low credit borrowers: 12 million worth $1.8 trillion to the GSE’s, 7.2 million with FHA/VA worth $900 billion and the other 7.8 million risky loans worth $1.9 trillion to private lenders. The leverage ratio the investment banks like Lehman Brothers enjoyed has expanded in 4 years from 23 to 31 times collateral in hand. Once the short term money dried up and the losses were exposed, the whole bubble would collapse, bringing down the economy with it.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank responsible for tightening credit to restrain bubbles saw no reason to believe that this boom could not continue, until it was too late. The public does really not know how close the nation came to a total melt-down of our financial system, or how important the Bush administration and the Congressional Troubled Asset Relief Program(TARP) saved us all from a total collapse. Unfortunately, the huge stimulus spending of the new administration and Congress did not do much more than expand the national debt and reward favorite projects and districts.

As much as the media wants to blame the greed of the bankers or the past administration, it does not hide the fact that it was the “unintended consequences” of liberal government policies and the compromised standards of the lenders and regulators that precipitated the housing and banking crash.

The past four years have not brought about substantial recovery and there are fears in serious economists that there is worse to come when the National Deficit and currency bubbles pop. Can you say “fiscal cliff?” The Fed’s “monetizing the national debt” with “Quantitative Easing” by printing limitless new dollars is keeping the stock markets and currency up only because the European socialist economies are further down the same road to national bankruptcy. We still can turn back.

My research Sources and details available upon request

Dorsey M. Deaton, Ph.D., Emory University

33 years as History Professor, University System of Georgia

What is the Basic Tendency of Human Nature?

Posted: Thursday, October 25th, 2012

A professor of a pre-law class on political ideologies at Columbia University had only one grade on the entire course, the final exam. One particular year he returned the graded exams in the last class with these comments, “Class, this is really unusual this year. Exactly half the class got a score of 95, an excellent grade. The other half earned a 55, a failing grade. But since most of you believe that capitalism is unfair, I am going to take 20 points from those with 96 and give it to all those who have a 55. As a result the entire class will pass with a Fair grade of C.”

“No!” protested the better students, “You can’t do that. We can’t get into law school with a C.”

“Shut up!” He replied, “That’s the way they do things in the ‘dictatorship of the Proletariat’. They take from those “according to their ability” to give to those “according to their need.” He continued, “Now let me ask you. Those of you who earned a 95 but received a 55, are you going to work as hard in my classes in the future?”

“Are you kidding? We’ll never take your course again.” He continued, “Those of you who earned a 55 but got a 75, are you going to work harder in the future?” “We’ll try,” was their sheepish response. “You see,” the professor drove home his point, “any economic system that doesn’t realize the prime human value of self interest is doomed to fail.”

The entire Communist bloc collapsed when it became clear after 70 years that the citizens’ basic needs would never be met, while the politicians and party officials enjoyed a lifestyle beyond that the masses.” Compare the living standards and opportunities in the countries around the world and see the difference this one basic difference makes.

Whether it goes back to an act of primal rebellion in that ancient Garden in Eden or whether it’s a vestige of the struggle for survival from prehistoric times, it is clear. Every human motive is driven by self interest. Everyone is tuned in WIII-FM, “What’s In It For Me?” John Calvin said of human nature that man is non posse non pecare , “Not able not to seek his selfish interest.” We all know this as the Profit Motive. What gets rewarded gets done. For this reason people of all kinds work long and hard to excel as students, salesmen, athletes and inventors, “building a better mousetrap so the world will beat a path to their door. All of the society advances with their efforts. Conversely, when an economy fails to reward desired efforts and underwrites indolence with entitlements, in time the economy will decline in productivity.

Key to this whole understanding is the right to hold private property and to earn more, and to enter into transactions to better your situation through exchanging your property or currency for some thing from another in a free market. By the way, how did they use to count your wealth? By how many “head” of livestock you had? What is the Latin word for “head”? It’s capus, capitas, from which we get the word “Capitalism.” There you have it in three concepts: Profit Motive, Private Property, and Free Enterprise.

Government Set Up by the People- Does this Make Sense?

Posted: Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Imagine that a group of us all lived centuries ago in a rural, agrarian setting, working in our fields and sleeping in our thatched huts nearby. Suppose that there came a problem. One of our neighbors was sneaking into our huts while we were working in the fields and stealing our valuable “corn-squeezings” (our liquor)! We would get together and make an arrangement to protect our property. We’d offer to give some of our harvest to the big bruiser Olaf if he would patrol the village with his spear and catch any thieves and throw them in the secured cave. Moreover, Olaf could keep guard and alert us to any attacking tribes that are trying to enslave us. If he will be blow the cow horn, we’ll come run grab our spears to drive away the invaders. Do you see what we have done? In order to protect our property and our lives we have made a deal with one another, setting up a government and agreeing to give it some of our harvest(taxes) in order to support it. We have even been willing to submit to being “drafted” into military duty in order to prevent losing all of our liberty. That is what John Locke and Jacques Rousseau meant by the idea of the “Social Contract.”

Suppose also that one day we discovered that big Olaf was abusing his power by helping himself to our valuables. Clearly we would see that he has been “corrupted” by his power. As Acton said, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely,” therefore, we need “checks and Balances” to prevent that from happening. But if it were bad enough, we would be justified to kick Olaf out and to replace him. That was referred to as the “right to rebel” taught by Locke and used by the Thirteen Colonies 80 years later.

Read these words from the Declaration of Independence, looking for those concepts: “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and whenever any government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.” The Ideas of John Locke were placed by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence “lock, stock and barrel!”

The thinking expressed in the Declaration, the Constitution and the Federalist Papers promoting the ratification are based on the best insights of the ages and should not be lightly changed for political popularity.

Where We Got Our Ideas for Government and Economy

Posted: Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Where we Got Our Ideas for Government and Economy

The basic philosophies beneath the American system of government and economics come in great measure from the thinking popular in the century of the founding of our nation. It’s called the Age of Reason or the Enlightenment, for good reason. How do we know what is true? For centuries we knew the truths because they were revealed to the religious leaders and shared with the masses, the so-called “Age of Faith” through the Middle Ages. After the rediscovery of Aristotle and the scientific method of inductive reasoning in the 14th century, a “rebirth” or Renaissance occurred in Italy and spread north and west. The resulting “Scientific Revolution” transformed our knowledge of nature for the next 150 years with breakthroughs in Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine. Copernicus, Galileo, Columbus, Vesalius, and other great names were capped off with Newton, who reduced the forces to Universal Laws. By 1700 all  of the universe resembled a magnificent clock-like mechanism governed by laws understandable to the human mind. Inductive reasoning (observation-hypothesis- proposition-experiment-proof) had triumphed.

What followed next for more than a century was merely the application of the same methodology to Human Nature. Were there Universal Laws to be discovered in the behavior of man and societies? Could we in our ignorance of them be building governments and economies doomed to fail, just as surely as ignorance of the Law of Gravity would not keep us from injury if we stepped off a high place? In the Age of Reason John Locke, Baron Montesquieu and others discovered government principles, while Adam Smith and David Riccardo saw economic realities. American thinkers like Franklin, Jefferson and Madison all were immersed in this thinking. Our Declaration begins “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights…” These convictions were articulated almost a century before by John Locke in his Two Treatises on Civil Government. Locke, trained as a doctor and served as Secretary to Lord Ashley Cooper, was enlisted by the Carolina Trustee to justify why the British people deposed King James II in the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688. His answer introduced the central ideas of government as a “social contract”(Rousseau) set up by the people who possess Natural Rights in order to protect their lives and property and of the “right to rebel” when the government violates its given powers. The 1688 restrictions reasserted “no taxation without representation” that the colonists insisted upon in 1776. Lord Acton warned that “Power corrupts,” and Baron Montesquieu recommended “Checks and Balances” to limit governments with Constitutions. These ideas, and those of the American economic system, deserve more detail which we will turn to in future essays. Just remember this- The American system of government and economics was based on the best wisdom of the observations of human behavior and its consequences, and is embodied in its founding documents.

The problem with Common Sense is- It’s not so common anymore!

Our Natural Rights come from the Creator- Newt Gingrich

Posted: Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

On the 4thof July this year, Speaker Gingrich wrote, “The Declaration of Independence was intended to be an official statement explaining why the 13 American colonies had declared their independence from Great Britain. In the years following its passage, however, this statement of principles about the rights of man grew to mean much more.”

The unique assertion that “All Men are created equal and are endowed …with natural rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, ” is possible solely because of the source of that endowment ‘by their Creator“! As Gingrich continues, ” The core contention of the Declaration of Independence and the principle of natural rights upon which America was founded is that there is a higher moral order upon which the laws of man must be based. The Declaration asserts the existence of “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” which had a clear meaning in 18th Century England and America. It referred to the will of God as displayed by the natural order of the world.

On three occasions in recent weeks the President has omitted the words “by their Creator” in his speeches. If these rights come from the government, the government can take them away. We must insist on that higher order if we are to keep the rights of Man from violation.

Hooray from Hollywood!

Posted: Friday, February 26th, 2010

Dateline- Hollywood, Beverly Wilshire, February 23, 2010

Dorsey, Pam, Jane Seymour, James Keach

What an exciting evening! We just celebrated our 18th Annual Movieguide Awards Gala at the ballroom of the Beverly Wilshire at Rodeo Drive with some 600 Hollywood executives and celebrities! We sat up front with our guests, actress Jane Seymour and her husband, director James Keach. We had rented their castle outside Bath, England a few years ago and have been building a friendship. Jane made the climatic film presentation of $100,000 to the executives of The Blind Side, whose writer/director John Lee Hancock promised the cash to disadvantaged youth causes. James had been nominated a few years ago for Walk The Line, which he directed about the life of singer Johnny Cash.

The purpose of the awards gala is to promote inspiring and uplifting movies aimed at the family audience, because the Film/TV industry has been shown to have a profound impact on our culture. In the late ‘60’s the industry took a turn for the dark side with increasing sex, violence and perversion. Fortunately, since Movieguide began its push, we’ve seen R-rated movies go from over 70% to only 22% last year; actually only 2 of the Top 25 at the box-office were rated R. Ten films were nominated in the 2 categories- Family and Mature Audiences. The Disney/Pixar animated UP took top prize in Family while The Blind Side walked away with Mature. Also honored were 4 others in each category as the producers/directors came to the stage to accept their awards after clips of their work was shown.. Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of Nelson Mandella in the South African sports flick Invictus showed how to unite a people after the end of apartheid. “We lead by example and that in this requires forgiveness. Forgiveness leads to reconciliation!” TV and screen-writers also got into the prize money. One aspiring writer received $15,000 for a script entitled “The Shoebox.” You can imagine her excitement when I introduced her to the lady who started the Shoebox Movement in 1984!

To see some of the excitement, you can check out the web site which is running 7.4 million hits a month now. This non-profit group started by Dr. Ted Baehr of the Christian Film and Television Commission works on a shoestring budget and is worthy of donations you want to send their way. We have served on the Movieguide national board of directors for more than a decade, even working the Cannes Film Festival as press. Our mentor Dr. Francis Schaeffer of Switzerland taught us the value of trying to reach the influence makers in society for the good of future generations. Having a Ph.D. in social/cultural history and a daughter writing scripts in Hollywood also drew our interest here. Some of last year’s Movieguide Gala can be seen on You Tube.

If you want to see how Dr. Baehr would have voted for on the Oscars, see this link