It is time to thank Barack Obama — or Lord Barack, as our media elites might prefer, having declared him a “sort of God.” He said memorably in April that the Tea Partiers “should be saying thank you” for the great job he’s been doing. And now, as Election Day approaches, vast swathes of the country are ready to give him the acknowledgment he seeks. Thank you, Mr. President, for giving back our country.
Now, it certainly is not what he had in mind. His point, of course, was that the Tea Party, instead of protesting, should be grateful for the transformation he has been bringing about. He has been vocal about an ungrateful electorate that doesn’t understand the magnitude of his accomplishments. Instead, we disappoint, suffering from what Charles Krauthammer calls “Obama Underappreciation Syndrome.”
The ungrateful masses look at what Obama hath wrought and see a federal government taking over their lives, debt biblically extending to “our children’s children,” and a ruling class that lives large while taxpayers now spend a quarter of their lives working to pay for its excesses. Taxpayers are footing the bill for unprecedented self-indulgence, prompting one American Thinker blogger to comment on the arrangements for the Obama’s post-election jaunt to India: “Suleiman the Magnificent would have been embarrassed by the luxury Mr. and Mrs. B.O. intend for themselves.” The inimitable James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal called him “the America Nero,” acting more like an “emperor” than a president.
Even the reliably obtuse traditional media, which are to insight what Bill Clinton is to feminism, can see the staggering “elitism and condescension” in which Washington is awash. Barack Obama has put his stamp upon Washington. Even Peggy Noonan, peeking out from behind Woody Allen’s mansion on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has noticed that he has brought us a United States of “status quo, Washington, [and] leftism.”
P.J. O’Rourke sees an Obama States of America as Detroit-writ-large, with the president extending the life previously reserved by Democrats for their core constituencies to the average American. The humorist says the president is creating a nation of “vile schools, lawless slums, economic stagnation, and social immobility.” Thomas Lifson described this as “progressive feudalism,” condemning the average American to a grim subsistence with “more and more of our lives … regulated by government bureaucrats setting rules and regulations and licensing people.”
However, gratitude is what the president wants, and gratitude is what he will get on Tuesday. Barack Obama, through a unique blend of excess and incompetence, has authored a new Great Awakening, that eighteenth-century religious revival that unified American Christians in a common understanding of religion and faith. In the Obama Great Awakening, Americans are rediscovering the truths that progressivism has labored to erase. So thank you, Barack Obama, for helping to unite a nation around truths that include:
1. Smart people ain’t so smart. Obama has assembled a collection of bureaucrats who — their walls papered with advanced degrees — are hailed, in the words of New York Times Obamaphile David Brooks, as an “educated class” born to lead. But the nation is about to say thanks, for this collection of brainiacs has ruined everything it has touched. Yes, the head of the Obama energy department is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who can theorize like nobody’s business. But ask him to put boats on the Gulf to clean up the oil and he will appoint a panel of academics to study the carbon footprint of the marine diesel engine — forget the boats, leave the oil, and cut me a piece of that green energy pie-in-the-sky. Meanwhile, even the president’s own oil spill commission “blasted” what one progressive historian called “the smartest guy ever to become president” for his inept response to the spill.
Health care, anyone? Harvard policymakers created a blueprint for a medical future that is already delivering “high costs, red tape,” and a dramatically expanded bureaucracy. Guided by Obama and a Democrat Congress, the best and brightest, envision the ideal big-city emergency room of the future as a service staffed by a doctor, a nurse, 180 administrators, and 499 physician assistants hired and trained by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
2. Dumb people ain’t so dumb. Thank you, Barack Obama — results matter. Teleprompters and professional politicians are out; real people with real lives are in. Sarah Palin is dumb, Sharron Angle is stupid, and Rand Paul isn’t even smart enough to give a god a proper name (I mean, “Aqua Buddha”? C’mon — makes you long for the good ol’ days of Zeus, Apollo, and Ted, the last a progressive god who just made the journey down the River Styx). But Investor’s Business Daily praised Palin for the Tea Party revolution, even the Washington Post says Angle in Nevada is poised to take down the most powerful Democrat in the U.S. Senate, and Aqua Buddha will soon join John Kerry in that Mount Olympus of privilege, the U.S. Senate. Tea Party dumb — just what the country needs.
3. Mainstream media are out of touch and untrustworthy. Katie Couric of CBS News just embarked on a tour of what she terms “this great unwashed middle of the country” to “divine the mood” of the voters. Huh? Drudge sums up the coming Republican victory as “Gallup Sees Tidal Wave,” American Thinker sees a “Republican Renaissance,” Real Clear Politics says early voting suggests a “Republican wave,” and the news anchor of a major broadcast network is trying to figure out the mood of the country by talking with smelly people outside of Manhattan? Small wonder trust in what Sarah Palin calls “Lamestream Media” continues to hit new lows.
4. The founders were smart. Educators tell us our colonial founders were a bunch of privileged white guys who oppressed natives, savaged the earth, and then parked their yachts in Rhode Island. Think 56 John Kerrrys in drag, all white wigs and ruffled sleeves and tights. But we have now rediscovered that the U.S. Constitution is the best guarantee we have for freedom and prosperity and, combined with the Declaration of Independence, a vital blueprint for individual and corporate success. Send legislators to Washington who “think the Constitution is wrong” — as one Democrat opined — and liberty and prosperity suffer.
5. Speaking of education: the rot is deep. It will take decades to turn this around. If the U.S. Department of Education were to vanish tomorrow, the immediate effect would be a major hit to the profits of trendy Beltway bars. But the education establishment would remain, the same one putting our money behind programs to train students for “global citizenship” rather than reading, writing, and math. And the same one that has come to Washington to create the programs which two-thirds of the country say have put us on the “wrong track,” according to Rasmussen.
On Election Day, Barack Obama will get the gratitude he deserves.
October 29, 2010
Thank You, Lord Barack, for the Great Awakening
By Stuart Schwartz
Stuart Schwartz, formerly a media and retail executive, is Professor of Communication at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/10/thank_you_lord_barack_for_the.html at October 29, 2010 – 02:55:16 PM CDT
THE HILLS are alive with the sound of liberal Democratic contempt for the electorate. So are the valleys, the prairies, and the coasts. For months, voters have been signaling their discontent with the president, his party, and their priorities; in less than a week, they appear poised to deliver a stinging rebuke. Yet rather than address the voters’ concerns with seriousness and respect, too many Democrats and their allies on the left have chosen instead to slur those voters as stupid, extremist, or too scared to think straight.
At a Democratic fundraiser in Newton this month, offering what he called “a little bit of perspective from the Oval Office,’’ President Obama gave this diagnosis of the American political scene:
“Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we’re hard-wired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country is scared.’’
The smug condescension in this — We’re losing because voters are panicky and confused — is matched only by its apparent cluelessness. Does Obama really believe that demeaning ordinary Americans is the way to improve his party’s fortunes? Or that his dwindling job approval is due to the public’s weak grip on “facts and science’’ and not, say, to his own divisive and doctrinaire performance as president?
Perhaps he does. Or perhaps he just says such things when speaking to liberal donors. It was at a San Francisco fundraiser in 2008 that Obama described hard-pressed citizens in the small towns of Pennsylvania as “bitter’’ people who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them . . . as a way to explain their frustrations.’’
Obama is far from alone in looking down his nose at the great unwashed. Last month, Senator John Kerry explained that Democrats are facing such headwinds these days because voters are easily swayed dolts: “We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on, so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth.’’
Meanwhile, the rise of the Tea Party movement, one of the most extraordinary waves of civic engagement in modern American politics and a major driver of the 2010 election season, has drawn no end of scorn from Democrats and their cheerleaders in the media.
Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray calls Tea Party members “nutcases,’’ while ABC’s Christiane Amanpour is aghast that the grassroots movement has “really gone to the extreme’’ and is “not conservatism as we knew it.’’ Rob Reiner even smears the Tea Party as Nazi-esque: “My fear is that the Tea Party gets a charismatic leader,’’ the Hollywood director said last week. “All they’re selling is fear and anger and that’s all Hitler sold.’’ And the crop of citizen-candidates running for Congress this year, many of them with Tea Party backing? A “myriad of wackos,’’ sneers the influential liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas.
Trashing conservatives as “nutcases’’ and “wackos’’ — or worse — is all too common among left-wing pundits and politicos. But the electorate isn’t buying it. “Likely voters in battleground districts,’’ reports The Hill in a recent story on a poll of 10 toss-up congressional districts across the country, “see extremists as having a more dominant influence over the Democratic Party than they do over the GOP.’’ Among likely voters, 44 percent think the Democratic Party is overpowered by its extremes (37 percent say that about the Republicans). Even among registered Democrats, 22 percent think their party is too beholden to its extremists.
Heading into next week’s elections, Americans remain a center-right nation, with solid majorities believing that the federal government is too intrusive and powerful, that it does not spend taxpayer’s money wisely or fairly, and that Americans would be better off having a smaller government with fewer services. Nearly halfway through the most left-wing, high-spending, grow-the-government presidential term most voters can remember, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that so many of them are rebelling. The coming Republican wave is an entirely rational response to two years of Democratic arrogance and overreach. As the president and his party are about to learn, treating voters as stupid, malevolent, or confused is not a strategy for victory.
Jeff Jacoby can be reached at email@example.com.
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | October 27, 2010
First, Leftie commentators ignored the Tea Party: throughout the summer of 2009, its rallies were barely covered except by Fox. Then, as it grew, they sneered at it: what a lamentable gaggle of rednecks, birthers, truthers, stump-toothed Appalachian mountain men and assorted survivalists. When these laughable Frondistes began to win primaries, pundits assured each other that they had made Republican Party unelectable. Now, with a week to go before polling day, and the GOP comfortably ahead in the polls, columnists have had to come up with a new line. Predictably, they have hit on the argument that Tea Partiers are a bunch of thickos, dupes being manipulated by powerful Right-wing corporations.
There is a classic of the genre in today’s Guardian. George Monbiot describes the Tea Party as “one of the biggest exercises in false consciousness the world has seen”, and goes on to explain that the poor, deluded saps who turn up to its meetings are puppets on the strings of two wealthy industrialists, Charles and David Koch.
A telling phrase, that, “false consciousness”. It was coined by Friedrich Engels, and became a mainstay of Marxist theory. Marx argued that, because proletarians didn’t always understand their true interests, democracy was open to abuse. Reactionary and bourgeois elements could make the workers think that they wanted one thing, when what they really needed was something else. It was the doctrine of false consciousness which Lenin and, later, Stalin, used to justify their tyranny.
Very few commentators these days consciously long for the return of the USSR. But several cling, Marx-like, to a certain disdain for the electorate: an uneasy sense that, left to themselves, people might vote for lower taxes instead of the kind of eco-correct statism that is in their “real” interest. Lurking behind many of the attacks on the Tea Party is an equivocal attitude to democracy. For the Tea Party is a product of perhaps the most responsive electoral process on Earth: the open primary. In Britain and in Europe, closed candidate selection allows substantial currents of opinion to be excluded altogether from national assemblies. Allow more people a say over who should be their MP and you might have popular anti-tax campaigns springing up all over the place.
The idea that the Tea Party is “Astroturf” (meaning fake grassroots) just won’t wash. The Koch brothers have been funding free market campaigns since the 1970s without ever sparking anything like this. Nor, by the way, is there anything wrong with rich men spending their money on causes rather than on themselves. On the contrary, we ought to celebrate political donations. I contribute in small ways to various campaigns and charities; I’m sure George Monbiot does the same. The only difference between us and the Kochs is one of scale: the Kochs are wealthy, and good luck to them.
No, the Tea Party is that rare beast, a genuinely spontaneous popular movement. Its proximate cause is easily enough discerned: the US federal government is 30 per cent bigger than it was two years ago, a position both main parties would have considered unthinkable as recently as 2007.Having cast the Tea Party as a deranged rabble, Leftie commentators must explain how these lunatics took over the asylum. Perhaps they should consider the most obvious explanation: that they might not in fact be lunatics.
I have no special brief for the Tea Party. I’m sure that, like all big organisations, it contains its share of cranks. But most Americans regard the proposition that taxation, spending and borrowing have risen too quickly as essentially reasonable. That’s the thing: neither I nor George Monbiot gets to decide what “extreme” is any more. The Internet has broken the old cartels; pundits have lost their powers. We are finally approximating the ideal of government of, by and for the people – and, unsurprisingly, not everyone likes it.
Daniel Hannan telegraph.co.ukDaniel Hannan is a writer and journalist, and has been Conservative MEP for South East England since 1999. He speaks French and Spanish and loves Europe, but believes that the EU is making its constituent nations poorer, less democratic and less free. He is the winner of the Bastiat Award for online journalism.
If Tea Partiers are such deluded fools, why are they doing so well?http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100060969/if-tea-partiers-are-such-deluded-fools-why-are-they-doing-so-well/
Twenty months ago, on February 19, 2009, business reporter Rick Santelli of CNBC took to the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to deliver his famous rant against government bail-outs, and call for “a Chicago tea party.”
Santelli may have sparked the Tea Party movement. But he only tapped into outrage that had been growing in many of us for decades.
For too long, you and I have watched helplessly as a clique of politicians, intellectuals, activists, and bureaucrats from both parties have tried to obliterate our Constitution, our capitalist system, and our personal liberty. This “bipartisan Ruling Class”—as scholar Angelo Codevilla describes it—sees itself as a moral, cultural, and intellectual elite. Codevilla says that “Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits.”
Oozing sanctimonious arrogance, viewing the rest of us as coarse, unsophisticated rubes who cling bitterly to guns and bibles, this class seeks to impose its own supposedly superior values and visions upon the rest of us, by force of law.
As we know too well, the ultimate goal of our Ruling Class is power. They exist—not to produce, not to invent, not to create—but to manipulate and master others. Ronald Reagan memorably summed up the Ruling Class’s governing outlook this way: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
By contrast, the rest of us Americans seek power over circumstances, but not over each other. We acquire our personal sense of identity and self-esteem through productive work—not through imposing our will, values, and visions on our neighbors. We accept a “live and let live” philosophy.
This is the spirit embodied in our “Declaration of Independence.” That document was more than a declaration of political independence from our European rulers; it was a declaration of the moral independence of every human being. It was a declaration of each individual’s moral right to his own life, his own liberty, his own pursuit of happiness.
This is the vision enshrined in our Constitution. That governing framework grants to public officials only specific, enumerated, and narrowly limited powers. As James Madison and the other Framers made explicitly clear, the Constitution was intended—for the first time in human history—to bridle the authority of politicians and bureaucrats, and thus to protect the moral right of Americans to go about our lives without interference.
So, the Constitution imposes upon government officials a host of constraints: separations of powers, checks and balances, the Bill of Rights. By constraining government, citizens enjoy the fruits of freedom.
Which explains why, since the early twentieth-century Progressive Era, Ruling Class power-seekers have targeted the Constitution for annihilation. The regimes of Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt subjected constitutional limitations on power to systematic, bipartisan attack. So did the “New Deal” of Franklin Roosevelt and the “Great Society” of Lyndon Johnson.
In our time, the clamor against individual rights and constitutional constraints on power has risen to a crescendo. And that is why we’re here. Today’s Ruling Class consists of the intellectual heirs of the earlier progressives. From Obama to McCain, from Arianna Huffington to David Gergen, from George Soros to Michael Bloomberg, our Beltway grandees continue to impart their wisdom and good taste upon us by law—telling us what to eat, what our children should learn and in what kind of schools, what vehicles we should travel in, what fuels should power them, where we should live, where our thermostats should be set, what we should grow, how we should use our land, with whom we should engage in business, what we should sell and at what prices, what portion of our earnings we may be allowed to keep, what “good causes” we must support, what language we must use in conversations about “sensitive” topics ranging from race to romance to religion, what medical coverage we must have, who must provide it, and at what price, and on, and on, and on.
It goes on without limit, because our Ruling Class accepts no limits, legal or moral, on its power to “do good” to us. We are mere mortar and bricks for their social engineering. Like missionaries visiting primitive tribes, they view us as savages, whom they must cage and civilize.
We see their boundless arrogance in Barack Obama, who tells his fellow Ruling Class members that “We are the ones we have been waiting for,” with his nose held so high in the air that any passing rainstorm would waterboard him. We see it in Senator John Kerry when, like some monarch, he refers to himself in the third person. We see it in Barney Frank, the only human on the planet who is able to strut even while sitting. We see it in Harry Reid, who told us the other day that, “But for me, we’d be in a world-wide depression.” We see it in Nancy Pelosi, who—when asked where in the Constitution was Congress granted the power to order us to buy health insurance—replied: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”
Never mind that the Ruling Class and its progressive policies have failed miserably to achieve their announced objectives. For more than a century, countless government programs have plundered untold trillions of dollars from taxpayers, then redirected them, supposedly to eradicate poverty, to end unemployment, to prevent disastrous business cycles, to put everyone in his own home.
But what do we see? Record levels of people on food stamps; soaring unemployment rates; a recession longer and deeper than any since the 1930s; a debacle in the housing market. Yet, what does the Ruling Class do in response? It demands more power to enact more of the same.
They say that a sure sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different outcome. By that criterion, progressives are bat-crap crazy.
But then, what are we, if we re-elect them?….
Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been paying close attention to politics since I was a teenager in the 1960s. I’ve never been so optimistic about America’s future—and you are a major reason for that. For nearly half a century, I wrote and preached about our lost liberties and endangered rights, feeling like a lonely voice in the wilderness. But now, millions of voices are carrying that message.
However, we can’t stop on November 2nd. Our next task must be to transform the Republican Party into something more than an auxiliary chapter of the Ruling Class clique. The GOP has pretended for decades to be the party of freedom, capitalism, and limited government. And it has betrayed those principles repeatedly.
But we have not just a political party, but a cultural legacy, to reclaim—a legacy often described as American individualism. From our nation’s earliest days, when our pioneer ancestors blazed trails through forbidding frontiers, we Americans have never viewed ourselves as victims of circumstances. Fiercely self-assertive, proudly independent, we, more than any other people on earth, view ourselves as masters of our fates, as captains of our souls.
The spirit of American individualism, and the moral quest for personal liberty, motivated the Founders to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the cause. It is a cause for which many have fought and died, so that we don’t have to.
So, let us win a peaceful victory for that cause on November 2nd—and then, in the words of Washington, let us continue in the months and years ahead to raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.
by Robert James Bidinotto
A talk Before a Tea Party rally sponsored by the Cecil County (Md.) Patriots in Elkton, Md., 10/23/10
There is a whiff of anarchy in the air this morning. As I sit here writing, a conservative victory in the midterm elections looms. But I find no reason to be optimistic. The midterm elections will solve nothing. The plain fact is that conservatives have lost the battle for America. The country that many of us were born in has ceased to exist. And we have no one to blame but ourselves. Nothing can or will change until we come to terms with the grim reality of moral degeneration. And I have no hope that this can happen, save by some terrible trial.
Last week in Oklahoma City, two pedestrians were run down by cars at the same intersection within a few hours. In one incident, the driver did not bother to stop, but continued driving as if nothing had happened. It was a horrific but perfect metaphor for the self-absorbed entitlement mentality that grips the country.
Every day, the news brings a startling new incident of moral corruption. A few days ago it was reported that an eighteen-year-old geology student at Arizona State University had starred in an online pornographic film in which she performed “explicit and degrading” sex acts for a one-time payment of $2,000. The young woman explained that she needed the money to supplement her scholarship, and then inexplicably proclaimed, “I have morals!”
We are a nation of gluttons. About one-third of adults in the U.S. are obese. To qualify as “obese,” the average person has to be not just overweight, but carry an extra thirty-five pounds or more. In the last thirty years, the obesity rate in America has more than doubled. It is the sheerest irony that today, the average person has the choice of a multiplicity of fresh, wholesome, and nutritious foods, all available at the lowest prices in history. But choosing and preparing the best foods takes time and effort. We would rather stuff ourselves with fast food because it’s tasty and convenient. The consequences of this slothful lifestyle include hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. After ruining our health through gluttony, we then go to our physicians and demand a quick fix in the form of a pill. Pharmaceutical companies are glad to oblige. And the government must pay, because free health care is now a “right.”
There is no better index for America’s moral degradation than television programming. Compare today’s shows with those of a generation ago. Every episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” contained a short moral lesson, and “The Twilight Zone” challenged our intellects and stretched our imaginations. But entertainment and instruction have devolved into shock and novelty. The networks are locked in a downward spiral to see who can provide the most outrageous and offensive programming. It’s not their fault. They’re just giving the American people what they want.
Children are not as smart as their parents. The average child today spends thirteen hours watching television for every hour he spends reading. We blame teachers and schools for failing to educate our children. But what can they do with undeveloped and undisciplined minds that expect to be entertained and rebel at the labor of thought? The decline in intellectual aptitude is so dramatic that the authors of the SAT test have had to add a hundred points to the combined math and verbal score just to make current averages equal of those of a generation ago.
We are oblivious to the fact that our society is intellectually and artistically bankrupt. Modern art is not good enough to be bad. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Leonardo da Vinci took four years to paint the Mona Lisa. He left the work unfinished because he was always seeking to add “perfection to perfection.” Earlier this year, x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy revealed that the way Leonardo created realistic flesh tones was by building up successive layers of pigments that were as thin as a few micrometers. A micrometer is a thousandth of a millimeter.
Compare Leonardo’s work with that of the modern American artist Robert Ryman. Ryman began his career working as a security guard at a museum. The guard decided he wanted to become a painter, so he bought some white house paint and slathered it on a canvas. Art critics had orgasms. For decades, Ryman has continued to produced paintings that consist of nothing but monochrome white. The tones and textures vary, but most of Ryman’s paintings consist of nothing but a plain white surface. Ryman has explained that he paints only white surfaces because he wants to “reduce visual disturbances.” Imagine that the next time you’re contemplating Michelangelo’s “disturbances” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Our popular music is a painful cacophony of obnoxious dissonance. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had Mozart, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky. We have Snoop Dogg and Lady Gaga. Is that progress? We have advanced technology, but do we use it uplift ourselves? No, we indulge the animal side of our natures. The internet is mostly used for downloading pornography or playing video games.
In America today, everyone is entitled to everything. According to a recent report by NPR, the mentally retarded are now attending college and receiving grants. Professors are being advised (i.e., pressured) to modify their curricula to accommodate the new students. People incessantly demand entitlements and handouts. Every government intervention in the free-market system creates a fresh problem that demands another ruinous intervention with unintended consequences. Nobody is responsible for anything, and no one wants to pay the bills. And believe me, they’re coming due.
In this brave new world, everyone has the right to not be offended, and no one can be held accountable for anything. The fundamental unit of human civilization, the family, has been caustically eroded by feminism. The divorce rate is fifty percent. Oklahoma is supposedly a conservative state. Last year, a state legislator introduced a bill that would require parents with minor children seeking a divorce to first undergo counseling. Not only was the bill not passed, but the legislator was derided and mocked. How dare anyone be required to undertake the work necessary to save a marriage for the sake of his or her children? Why, it might interfere with their pursuit of happiness.
We celebrate homosexuality and then wonder why sexually transmitted diseases are exploding. According to the CDC, men-who-have-sex-with-men make up only two percent of the population but account for 53 percent of all new HIV infections and 64 percent of all new syphilis cases.
I’m beginning to acquire an appreciation for Paul’s doctrine of Original Sin. The nation that began with freedom of religion has progressed to freedom from religion, freedom from moral constraint, and freedom from responsibility. Just as Plato described in the Republic, the “horses and asses” are “marching along with all the rights and dignities of freemen,” and the ultimate result can be only that “tyranny will spring from democracy.”
Elections matter only in the short term. Every long-term social index I am aware of is negative. The plain fact is that the American people are too morally degenerate to be capable of effective self-government. The Roman satirist Juvenal understood. “The people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions and all else, now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things — bread and games!” I can find no reason to be optimistic. It is only our blind vanity that lets us pretend that the United States can endure forever. Rome fell, and so will America. For all intents and purposes, it is already over.
October 24, 2010
America Is Gone
By David Deming
David Deming is an associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma and the author of Science and Technology in World History: The Ancient World and Classical Civilization.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/10/america_is_gone.html at October 24, 2010 – 09:07:42 AM CDT
….When it comes to man-made global warming, most Christian universities are too small to support a faculty of climate researchers. Nevertheless, the theory has been enthusiastically embraced on many evangelical campuses. This allegiance to bad science is often seen in various university-wide “environmental stewardship” or “creation care” programs complete with lengthy scriptural justifications. Program initiatives include sustainability pledges, housing students in shipping containers, or creating an Institute for Sustainable Practice with courses taught by a “nationally recognized food justice leader.” Even my alma mater, a university known for its conservative values, has proudly announced its own “Go Green” campaign, which among other things affirms the university’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint and supporting fair (as opposed to free) trade. Thus, despite the mounting evidence against man-made global warming, it appears that the number of evangelical universities willing to stand up and say “the emperor has no clothes” is actually shrinking.
This Johnny-come-lately dedication to environmental issues is perhaps related to evangelical leaders being minimally influenced by leaked e-mails from the University of East Anglia and heavily influenced by university theology departments. Indeed, the trendy theology of our day is one that puts environmental activism at the forefront of the church’s mission for the world. On most evangelical campuses, such theology is promoted on both a shallow-but-popular level by Emergent Church celebrities like Shane Claiborne — who asks hosting universities to offset the carbon emissions created by his travels — and on an academic level by theologians such as N.T. Wright.
As with the secular environmental movement, this new “green theology” is rooted in the premise that the United States is a force of evil in the world. Consequently, Christians should focus globally on reducing U.S. influence and domestically on transforming our capitalist system, which is viewed as the root cause of socioeconomic injustice at home and abroad. In his widely read book Surprised by Hope, Wright even goes so far as to compare today’s supporters of Western capitalism with history’s supporters of slavery and Nazism. Of course, the vehicle seen as having the best chance of dismantling the free market is the environmental movement….
October 24, 2010
The Religious Right Takes a Hard Left
By Robert Huff
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/10/the_religious_right_takes_a_ha.html at October 24, 2010 – 08:59:31 AM CDT
The truth is that some ideas are so powerful that they have a life of their own. Independent of the men who gave birth to them, these time-traveling ideas continue to influence the course of history. The American idea is such an idea.
Thirteen years ago, while touring an old Canadian fort from the War of 1812 era, I learned about an 18th-century British officer/inventor who came up with a very novel but lethal idea, the effects of which are still being felt today. His thought was to pack musket balls into a time fuse artillery shell. When the shell would burst, the balls would scatter with deadly force in all directions. The creative British artillery officer, I discovered, was Lieutenant Henry Shrapnel.
It was on that memorable day thirteen years ago (when I connected Henry Shrapnel to his “shrapnel idea”) that I began to reflect in earnest about the journey of world-changing ideas and the men who create them. I might drink a glass of milk and find myself thinking about Louis Pasteur’s “pasteurization idea,” or picture Julius Petri in a moment of inspiration with a floating “Petri dish idea” above his head.
To be sure, there is a host of powerful traceable ideas, traveling through time, asserting influence over humanity, and still actively shaping history. Some notables are
Abraham and his “one God idea”
Theodor Herzl and his “Zionism idea”
Henry David Thoreau and his “civil disobedience idea”
Joseph Lister and his “antiseptic surgery idea”
Machiavelli and his Machiavellian ideas
Some influential ideas do not originate from one individual, but rather from a collaborative effort. No better political idea was ever born from a collaborative effort than was the “American idea.”
The American idea began when the people living in the original thirteen colonies began to identify themselves more with each other and the land they lived on than they did with their mother country across the Atlantic. The American idea grew through these colonists’ collective yearning for independence and freedom, and eventually, the American idea came to full fruition via the advent and workings of the American Founders.
In order to understand the American idea, we must first imagine the world as it was and place ourselves in the shoes of the Founding Fathers. Back in “the times that try men’s souls,” Great Britain was a most powerful nation, and King George III was not about to let his American colonies break free. Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Hancock, and the rest of the signers of the Declaration of Independence did not have a crystal ball to rely on. Rather, trusting in “divine Providence” alone, these great men risked everything in the name of liberty — and mutually pledged their Lives, Fortunes, and Sacred Honor.
If we could visit the past and look into their hearts and souls, we would clearly see that our altruistic Founders were giants of wisdom who risked life and limb for us. They did not lead a revolution so that they could start a new monarchy, but instead to form a government of the people that provided liberty to all its citizens and to their descendants. So how did they do it?
Knowing that power is a corruptor of men, our Founders wrote a Constitution that set up a government of laws, not of men. They designed a separation of powers system of government with three branches — with checks and balances. They wrote a Bill of Rights into the Constitution to guarantee that individual liberties would never be encroached upon. They designed a strong but limited federal government that granted matters not covered in the Constitution to the states. Finally, knowing their Constitution was perfect for the times but not perfect for all times, our Founders designed an Amendment system whereby the Constitution could be adjusted (but still maintain its integrity).
So what exactly is the American idea? It is a living legacy of first-American fundamental principles. What is it like to experience the American idea? It is a transformational moment of inspiration in which one finds himself identifying with those principles.
Awakening to the American idea can happen at any time. For some, a historical quotation like “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” might do it, or a reflective visit to Valley Forge National Park. For many, the American idea came alive when they saw 9/11 as a threat to our liberty. With each and every American idea experience, there comes the realization that whether we lived in the 18th century or live in the 21st century, the American idea is alive and worth fighting for.
I have experienced the American idea on numerous occasions: my trip to Yorktown Battlefield, the time I read Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address while visiting Gettysburg National Park, journeying through David McCullough’s John Adams biography, and (sometimes) when I listen to Rush Limbaugh.
Today, there is something insidious taking place in America that runs contrary to the American idea. Now going on two years, the Democratic Party has expanded government, nationalized much of the private sector, left our borders unprotected, and borrowed and spent us into near bankruptcy. It seems clear that the Left wants our nation to march to the drumbeat of the “socialism idea” and to the will of the United Nations — and away from the U.S. Constitution.
Leading this destructive charge against the American idea is our very own president, who thinks the “Constitution is a charter of negative liberties,” refers to our Founding Fathers as “men of property and wealth,” and likes to talk about the good old days of “long before America was even an idea.”
The American idea is now under full assault. Despite the assault, or perhaps because of it, something miraculous has been taking place in America. Horrified by the drumbeat of the Left and fearful for our nation’s future, millions of average, hardworking Americans are awakening. They are experiencing the American idea and embracing it. They, like never before, are seeing the wisdom of the Constitution and are becoming politically motivated. They are attending town hall meetings, opening up their checkbooks and supporting like-minded candidates across the country, running for office, and peacefully assembling in large masses. At some of these rallies, some of them even dress in colonial attire.
The Left has no idea who these people are and what is happening. The Left refers to them as “crazies” and “astroturf.” But these people are neither crazy nor astroturf. They are the millions of Americans who have awakened to and embraced the American idea. They are the Tea Party.
October 23, 2010
The American Idea and the Tea Party Movement
By Harold Witkov
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/10/the_american_idea_and_the_tea.html at October 23, 2010 – 04:18:27 PM CDT
….the land of opportunity is more like legal quicksand. Small business owners face legal challenges at every step. Municipalities requires multiple and often nonsensical forms to do business. Labor laws expose them to legal threats by any disgruntled employee. Mandates to provide costly employment benefits impose high hurdles to hiring new employees. Well-meaning but impossibly complex laws impose requirements to prevent consumer fraud, provide disability access, prevent hiring illegal immigrants, display warnings and notices and prevent scores of other potential evils. The tax code is incomprehensible.
All of this requires legal and other overhead – costing 50% more per employee for small businesses than big businesses.
The sheer volume of law suffocates innovative instincts, while distrust of lawsuits discourages ordinary human choices. Why take a chance on the eager young person applying for a job when, if it doesn’t work out, you might get sued for discrimination? Why take the risk of expanding production in another state when that requires duplicating legal risks and overhead? Why bother to start a business at all?….
BY PHILIP K. HOWARD
Sunday, October 10th 2010, 4:00 AM
….We fight for a culture of trust, in which ordinary people are connected by their actions and their characters into a vast social network of reciprocal and friendly relations. In this society of trust, ordinary people can live a companionable life of moral obligation and exchange, a life that seldom hits the wall of legal obligation and government compulsion. In Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity, Francis Fukuyama calls this “spontaneous sociability.” Whatever you call it, it comes down to trust, service, love, exchange. These are the qualities of the conservative society to come….
This idea of a direct relationship with God is a reckless notion that, anyone would think, had to be a recipe for atomism and anarchy. Instead, in America, it spawned a miracle. In liberating ourselves from the shackles of conformity and subjection to moral and political elites, we freed ourselves into something else: a free society of voluntary association and rapidly expanding trust. In the old country, you trusted people only as far as the limits of blood, kin, or village. But in the American civilization, we extend trust to the community of all those who can be trusted….
October 17, 2010
Why We Fight
By Christopher Chantrill