Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

PostHeaderIcon American Form of Government

Must see TV:

The American Form of Government

This is really well done, and I wish all Americans could watch and grasp it. I do wish they had put just a little more emphasis on the advantages of a Republic to protect minority rights from the tyranny of the majority in a mobocracy. The way they collapsed rule by “one” into an effective oligarchy, and summarily dismissed anarchy was elegant. Well worth the ten minutes to watch and pass on to others. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon How Soon We Forget

A lesson never to be forgotten?

Everybody knows you can’t spend yourself rich, anymore than you can drink yourself sober.

They used to sir. Back when common sense still counted. You may have brought the USSR to its knees, old friend; but the Marxists in academia now have our children down on theirs, worshiping the Obamessiah, and cursing you. History belongs not to those who created it; but to those who write the textbooks. Alas, your lifelong totalitarian nemesis owns that franchise, and they have not been kind to you.

They have numbed the minds of your posterity into a nation of helpless sheeple, sir, who haven’t a clue that they are being fleeced. Indeed, they are begging to be shorn… and I don’t know whether I want to be despondent or angry about it. It looks like I am going to have to decide soon, for this trend is unsustainable. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Where is Johny?

E-mail of the day:

Remember all the jokes about ‘Little Johnny’? You know, the kid that the teachers are afraid to call on for answers in the class, for fear of what he might say… Well, finally a photo of ‘Little Johnny’ has surfaced. See if you can find him in the picture!

The theme of this picture was, ‘Make a funny face’!

Where is Johny?

Where is Johny?

I knew you’d be able to find him. 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Alternate Universe

When Drudge this morning had the headline, “SALON.COM EDITOR RIPS: The new Great Communicator …isn’t,” I couldn’t resist reading it. It was a frightening trip into an alternative universe. Hard as it is to comprehend, one comes away with the unmistakable impression that this ditzy socialist actually believes the nonsense she is spouting:

Democrats know the Republicans are wrong. Little children know they’re wrong. Cats and dogs know they’re wrong. But somehow this week, unbelievably, Obama and the Democrats seem to be losing the spin war. There are the worrying poll numbers. And there is the Washington Post report that Senate Democrats don’t have the votes to pass a stimulus bill yet, at least not with the 60 votes that would rule out a filibuster. In this economic crisis, with 2.6 million jobs lost last year and thousands more lost in every news cycle, what does it take to create the urgency and responsibility to get this done?

I’d like everyone in charge of selling the stimulus to take a deep breath, and then, in an extended sound bite, articulate the long view (I know, I ask a lot). Along with Reich, Jeff Madrick goes into all the larger issues in greater detail in his excellent book “The Case for Big Government,” and winds up in the same place (even though, remarkably, the book was written before the current economic collapse and attendant debate over what the stimulus should do). I hope Obama and his team are reading Madrick and Reich. Because they’re really just talking common sense: Public spending priorities need to catch up to 21st-century economic life. The long and lamentable Republican revolution of 1980 through 2008 aimed, and partly succeeded, in sending us back to the 19th century — and we are all suffering for it. We will continue to suffer unless Democrats grab the political momentum voters gave them in November.

Of course, the 19th century wasn’t all bad, but in our current political environment, we’ve forgotten what was good: Eventually government (thanks to political, religious and labor agitation) came to see its role as providing K-12 education, building roads, canals, bridges and railroads (after private sector efforts faltered), and the slow budding of certain health and safety regulations. In the 20th century, that public mandate expanded into Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment insurance and other safety net programs, thanks to the New Deal and the Great Society. Today, profound economic change likewise requires new government initiatives, but they are many years overdue, for a lot of depressing political and economic reasons. The years since the early 1970s have been hard for middle- and low-income workers. Real wages became stagnant — the average weekly earnings of non-supervisory workers actually fell between 1973 and 2005. The late ’60s and early ’70s also marked the exodus of manufacturing jobs in the central cities, which William Julius Wilson and others persuasively argue played a huge role in creating the so-called underclass in many once-vital African-American neighborhoods.

Madrick lays out a few new-economy political priorities; you may have more, add them in comments:

Why, when post-secondary education is essential in this economy, are most families on their own when it comes to paying for college? Secondary education is awesome, isn’t it? Can you imagine this country without it? But isn’t it time to think beyond that? Why isn’t K-16 or so an American entitlement?

She was just getting wound up. If you need a window into what the progressives have done to the minds of our youth, just read this remarkable screed for a stunning example of a completely brainwashed mind that is utterly beyond reason. It is breathtaking. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon The Threat to America

Jerry Pournelle, the well known sci-fi writer, has an interesting and rather politically incorrect post at The View From Chaos Manor entitled, “The threat to America.” He identifies Bill Gates as a public enemy, contributing to our primary threat, for reasons unrelated to Microsoft:

I won’t go into the main body of what I talked about, but my conclusions were simple: I believe that the worst threat to the United States is our failure adequately to educate the smartest 25% of our students; that there are no hopeful counter trends; and the result will be disaster. Add to that our failure to train or teach skills to the lower half of the population, and the disaster is made worse. These trends have related causes.

The underlying cause is our attempt to provide every public school child with a university prep education. Bill Gates becomes involved because his foundations promote the idea that “every American child deserves a world class university prep education”; and the attempt to do that insures that very few American children will receive a world class university prep education, and most of the smarter children will receive an education that is indifferent at best. The failure of our schools to educate the smart kids will put the United States into a terrible competitive position that will only get worse. We will continue to live off our capital, both intellectual and financial.

The problem here is that I don’t have any startling information: everyone knows the facts here. One fact is that this is not Lake Wobegone. Half of the American children are below average. That means that the only way to make sure that no child is left behind is to see that no child gets ahead.

It is impossible to argue with his logic. I am not sure if he realizes that dumbing our kids down is by design; but if we somehow survive all the more immediate existential threats nipping at our heels, he is absolutely right about the future prognosis for such an undereducated and/or unskilled population. It has come to pass that modern academia themselves are now too dimwitted to even be embarrassed by their inadequacies and failures. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Wes Bertrand

I tuned in to the Liberty Radio Network (FTL) I mentioned last night and caught an articulate young guy named Wes Bertrand doing an excellent interview discussing home schooling, mentioning Ayn Rand and Maria Montessori. He also mentioned a book he had written entitled, “The Psychology of Liberty,” and read a couple of passages out of it. One caught my attention, which was a quote by John Holt, the originator of the “unschooling” movement that is hot in the home schooling community:

Educator John Holt related some of his thoughts about students in universities and colleges and their extended transition process into the workforce:

Most of them were on campus to get a piece of paper that(they thought) would enable them to do whatever they were going to do next, when they got out of school. Most of them, if given the piece of paper, would leave immediately and do that next thing. Most of them, if they left right away with paper in hand to do that next thing, would do it about as well as they will do it after many more years on this or some other campus. Others of the students are here because they don’t know what to do next, or because they want to put off, for as long as they can, whatever they will do next.

Meanwhile, one might say that all those students are learning something. Perhaps they are. But they will not long remember more than a small part of it, or use or benefit from more than a small part of that. They are learning this stuff to pass exams. Most of them could not pass the same exam even a year later, to say nothing of ten years later. And, if some of what they learn should someday prove useful, they would probably have learned it ten times faster when they needed to use it and thus had a reason for learning

I’d say he nailed it!

I listened to a 2 hour podcast of yesterday’s show, and he was taking calls, doing interviews, and pontificating just as well as the average talk radio host, only it seemed serious and not meant as entertainment like the big guys on AM. I enjoyed and would recommend it.

He has written two books, both are now available as free PDF downloads. I have read the education section of the above mentioned philosophy book, which is very well written; and have downloaded the other entitled, “Complete Liberty,” which is billed as more “plain talk” than the philosophy book, and can also be read on line. They are available on his two websites:
Complete Liberty and Logical Learning. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Teachers vs Educators

E-mail of the day:

According to a news report, a certain private school in Washington was recently faced with a unique problem. A number of 12-14 year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom.

That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick, they would press their lips on the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints.

Every night the maintenance man would remove them, and the next day the girls would put them back. Finally the principal decided that something had to be done.

She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man.

She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night (you can just imagine all the yawns from the little princesses).

To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required.

He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it.

Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

There are teachers …….. and then there are educators.

Sorry, I got a chuckle out of it, and needed a break from pondering the unraveling of our society. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Immigration Impact on Infrastructure

Perhaps I just answered my own question in the last post. I stumbled across a mind blowing report in The Social Contract extensively documenting the cost of the unprecedented growth we are experiencing because of illegal immigration. Entitled, “The Twin Crises: Immigration and Infrastructure,” by Edwin S. Rubenstein, it is a beautifully formatted, fact and reference filled, 87 page PDF file that deserves to be widely read. To encourage you to do so, here is the introduction:

This article highlights the role of immi­gration in depreciating and driving up the cost of maintaining, improving, and expanding infrastructure in the U.S. Fifteen different categories of public infrastructure are covered:

  • airports
  • bridges
  • dams
  • drinking water
  • energy (national power grid)
  • hazardous waste
  • hospitals
  • navigable waterways
  • public parks and recreation
  • public schools
  • railroads
  • border security
  • solid waste
  • mass transit
  • water and sewer systems.

Infrastructure and immigration? That’s an odd couple. Immigration policy has been de­bated for years, but the debate usually focuses on border security, amnesty, and whether il­legal alien workers are really needed to do the jobs that Americans “won’t do.”

Immigration’s impact on public infra­structure is rarely discussed.

Until the past few months, infrastructure policy was itself on the back burner, surfac­ing only when a bridge or levee collapsed, but generally of interest only to civil engineers and policy wonks.

How things change! Today, infrastructure spending is widely seen as a key lifeline for a sinking economy. The lion’s share of Pres­ident-elect Obama’s stimulus package will fund road and mass transit projects, school construction, port expansions, and alternative energy projects.

Yes, our infrastructure is in trouble. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2005 Report Card assigned an overall grade of D to the 15 infrastructure categories. Grades were selected on the basis of physical condition and capacity following a traditional grading scale (for example, if 77 percent of our roads are in good condition or better, the roads would be given a grade of C).

But if money were the problem, there would be no problem. Since 1982, capital spending on public infrastructure has in­creased by 2.1 percent per year above the inflation rate. Over this period, governments have spent $3.1 trillion (in today’s dollars) to build transportation infrastructure, and an­other $3.8 trillion to maintain and operate it. Last year, we spent 50 percent more, after ad­justing for inflation, on highway construction than we did a quarter of a century ago. Yet over this period, highway miles increased by only 6 percent, while U.S. population grew by 31 percent—half of it due to immigration.

The “demand” for highway infrastruc­ture, as measured by population growth, grew six times faster than the “supply” of highway infrastructure.

Bottom line: Our infrastructure is “crum­bling” because population growth has over­whelmed the ability of government to produc­tively spend the vast sums it already devotes to infrastructure.

All types of infrastructure are under stress because of immigration.

Public schools are a prime example. Although immigrants account for about 13 percent of the U.S. population, they are 21 percent of the school-age population. In California, a whopping 47 percent of the school-age population consists of immigrants or the children of immigrants. Some Los Angeles schools are so crowded that they have lengthened the time between classes to give students time to make their way through crowded halls. Los Angeles’ school construc­tion program is so massive that the Army Corps of Engineers was called in to manage it.

This is a boom time for hospital construc­tion. Sixty percent of hospitals are either building new facilities or planning to do so. But we have a two-tier hospital system in the U.S. Hospitals in poor areas—that serve primarily uninsured immigrants and Medicaid patients—cannot afford to upgrade their facilities. The uncompensated costs are killing them. In California, 60 emergency departments (EDs) have closed to avoid the uncompensated costs of their largely illegal alien caseloads.

Immigrants may not use any more water than other people. But they dispro­portionately settle in parts of the country where water is in short supply—and their sheer numbers have overwhelmed conserva­tion efforts. Cities like San Antonio, El Paso, and Phoenix could run out of water in 10 to 20 years. San Diego’s water company has resorted to a once-unthinkable option: recy­cling toilet water for drinking.

National parks along the southern border are scarred by thousands of unauthor­ized roads and paths used by illegal aliens crossing into the U.S. Their fires, trash, and vandalism have despoiled thousands of acres of pristine parkland.

The traditional response to these prob­lems was to throw more federal, state, and local tax money into infrastructure. When public support falters, infrastructure users are usually hit with higher tolls, higher transit fares, higher water bills, and other usage-re­lated fees. As a last resort, many governments sell or lease entire highways, water systems, parks, and other infrastructure systems to private companies.

There is no end to the financial chicanery that infrastructure junkies will employ to support their habit. Wall Street veteran Felix Rohatyn recently proposed this “novel solu­tion” to the problem:

Although private investors have successfully built new roads in places such as Poland and Spain, they have not done so exten­sively in the U.S. But a National Infrastructure Bank could redi­rect private efforts away from refinancing old facilities—as in the case of Chicago’s Skyway—to building new ones.

According to our plan, most of the funds the federal government now spends on existing pro­grams (along with many of those program’s experts and facilities) would be transferred to the bank, which could not only finance the projects but also resell the loans it makes to investors in capital markets, much as other assets are rebundled for investors. The receipts from these sales would allow a new round of lending, giving the bank an impact far in excess of its initial capitalization.

That is no solution; it is a recipe for an­other debacle a la sub-prime mortgages.

The prognosis is not good. In August 2008 the Census Bureau projected that U.S. population will be 433 million in 2050—an increase of 135 million, or 44 percent, from current levels. Eighty-two percent of the in­crease will be from new immigrants and their U.S.-born children.

The brutal reality is that no conceivable infrastructure program can keep pace with that kind of population growth. The tradi­tional “supply-side” response to America’s infrastructure shortage—build, build, build—is dead, dead, dead. Demand reduction is the only viable way to close the gap between the supply and demand of public infrastructure.

Immigration reduction must play a role.

Each of the subject areas are then covered in frightening detail. When one adds this infrastructure dimension to the malaise our economy is in, and realizes that the politicians in DC have no intention of tackling the illegal immigration debacle, for the same political reason they can’t address the coming SSI/Medicare entitlement disaster, there really is little hope for our future as a prosperous nation.

We lived in the best of times, folks. It is all downhill from here. Sorry, kids, our generation blew your future already by continuing to elect Progressive politicians who pandered to our foolish need to feel good and compassionate. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Classic Camille

Camille Paglia has become one of my favorite Leftist commentators, because she calls them like she sees them; rather than throwing away her credibility by defending the indefensible, as most of her contemporaries on the Left do nowadays. Her latest column, entitled “Obama’s early stumbles,” is classic Camille addressing many subjects in answer to reader’s e-mails.

On Obama:

However, you are quite right to call the controversy over the indictment of buffoonishly sly Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich a “mess.” That the normally deft Obama team mishandled its rapid response to it was obvious from the get-go. Obama’s first statements about his and his staff’s communications with Blagojevich were inadequate at best and misleading at worst. Then there was a second stage of needless blunders when Obama opposed the tarnished Blagojevich’s perfectly legal appointment of Roland Burris to fill Obama’s vacated Senate seat — a foolishly hard line that the president-elect inevitably had to reverse.

On congress:

On the other hand, I agree with you that Congress has come across lately like a clumsy, flea-bitten bunch of “bozos.” Its poll ratings are lower than stinking swamp mud. I have a soft spot for the nimble Nancy Pelosi, a master of the ladylike stiletto thrust, but Harry Reid is a cadaverous horse’s ass of mammoth proportions. How in the world did that whiny, sniveling incompetent end up as Senate majority leader? Give him the hook! As for the “radical change” that you fear, it’s hard to imagine (short of a crisis-driven imposition of martial law) how that will ever happen in our sluggish, consensus-driven political system.

On Palin:

As I have repeatedly said in this column, I have never had the slightest problem in understanding Sarah Palin’s meaning at any time. On the contrary, I have positively enjoyed her fresh, natural, rapid delivery with its syncopated stops and slides — a fabulous example of which was the way (in her recent interview with John Ziegler) that she used a soft, swooping satiric undertone to zing Katie Couric’s dippy narcissism and to assert her own outrage as a “mama grizzly” at libels against her family.

Ideology-driven attacks on Palin became clotted liberal clichés within 24 hours of her introduction as John McCain’s running mate. What a bunch of tittering lemmings the urban elite have become in this country. From Couric’s vicious manipulations of video clips to Cavett’s bourgeois platitudes, the preemptive strike on Palin as a potential presidential candidate has grossly misfired. Whatever legitimate objections may be raised to Palin on political grounds (explored, for example, by David Talbot in Salon) have been lost in the amoral overkill that has defamed a self-made woman of concrete achievement in the public realm.

On the “Fairness Doctrine”:

Instead of bleating for paternalistic government intervention, liberals should get their own act together. Radio is a populist medium where liberals come across as snide, superior scolds. One can instantly recognize a liberal caller to a conservative show by his or her catty, obnoxious tone. The leading talk radio hosts are personalities and entertainers with huge rhetorical energy and a bluff, engaging manner. Even the seething ranters can be extremely funny. Last summer, for example, I laughed uproariously in my car when WABC’s Mark Levin said furiously about Katie Couric, “What do these people do? Open fortune cookies and read them on air?”


In the 1980s, I was similarly skeptical about media-trumpeted predictions about a world epidemic of heterosexual AIDS. And I remain skeptical about the media’s carelessly undifferentiated use of the term “AIDS” for what is often a complex of wasting diseases in Africa. We should all be concerned about environmental despoliation and pollution, but the global warming crusade has become a hallucinatory cult. Until I see stronger evidence, I will continue to believe that climate change is primarily driven by solar phenomena and that it is normal for the earth to pass through major cooling and warming phases.

On the “gay gene”:

After the American Psychiatric Association, responding to activist pressure, removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973, psychological inquiries into homosexuality slowly became verboten. To even ask about the origins of homosexuality was automatically dubbed homophobic by gay studies proponents in the ’80s and ’90s. Weirdly, despite the rigid social constructionist bias that permeated the entire left, gay activists in and out of academe now leapt on the slightest evidence that could suggest a biological cause of homosexuality. The very useful Freudian concept of “family romance” (typified by the Oedipus and Electra complexes) is almost completely gone. Yet the intricate family dynamic of every single gay person I’ve ever known seems to have played some kind of role in his or her developing sexual orientation.

On vocational ed vs. college:

Perhaps there’s hope of change because of the tens of thousands of liberal arts graduates with expensive degrees who are finding themselves out of work and depressingly marginalized in a society where the manual trades offer guaranteed employment at relatively high wages. A dose of Buddhism might do people good: Sweeping garden sand into oceanic designs around ornamental rocks is considered a spiritual exercise in Asia. I say that landscaping, construction, carpentry, metalworking and all the other trades should be promoted by primary education as worthy careers for both men and women. The pre-college rat race is a sadomasochistic imposition on the young that robs them of free will and saps their vital energies. When will they rebel?

On humanities professors:

Why are American professors forcing American students to plow through a boneless blob of a book that is predicated on now totally passé French manners and mores? Why is egregious theoretical verbosity being force-fed to cyber-savvy, text-messaging young people who barely read as it is and who still haven’t found their own writing voices? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind — yes, the big wind of elite school flatulence, which may be the true cause of global warming.

Her columns are only published monthly and I wouldn’t miss one. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Ayn Rand and Maria Montessori

There was an open thread discussing Ayn Rand on the Secular Right Blog this weekend, which attracted a remarkable number of erudite comments in a spirited discussion, which is already over 70 comments. If you are an Ayn Rand fan, you might enjoy perusing them. One of my early contributions was to offer a nexus between Ayn Rand and Maria Montessori, which is worth repeating here:

I particularly agree with the assessment that Rand’s epistemology is as or more relevant to the ills of our society, than her ethics at this point. I have been a devotee of Ayn Rand for over thirty years and an admirer, proponent, and practitioner of Maria Montessori’s Method of education for the past twelve.

Only recently, I discovered that there was a nexus between them. I was aware that many years ago, my partner was the Montessori teacher for the children of Leonard Peikoff and others at the Ayn Rand Institute; but I assumed that was just an accident. Then I stumbled across an article by Michael S. Berliner, Ph.D. entitled “Ayn Rand and Education,” which is remarkable for being 27 years old:

The revolution that Ayn Rand brought to philosophy has profound implications for education.

Since the purpose of education is to develop a certain kind of individual and society, education involves the practical implementation of philosophic ideals. Thus education has a specially close relationship to philosophy. Everything that goes on in a classroom rests on philosophic premises: education derives its goals from ethics, its methodology from epistemology and its administrative policies and political status from social philosophy.

Given the dependency of education on philosophy, it should be no shock that our schools are in chaos; they have derived their guiding principles from various forms of irrationalism, altruism, and collectivism. Only when educators turn to Ayn Rand’s philosophy, will sanity return to our schools. How would her philosophy rescue education?

He then offers eleven points for consideration. Among them:

6. Ayn Rand’s philosophic system can provide a theoretical foundation for the most promising educational method now available: the Montessori method. Despite the success of Montessori schools, there is amazingly little understanding of the reasons for that success. As a consequence, the method is either dismissed as nothing more than a series of clever techniques for teaching specific skills, or attempts are made to ground the method in Maria Montessori’s personal philosophy, a mixture of Catholicism and Indian mysticism.

At present, the supporters of the Montessori method are unable to defend it against either the educational establishment or compromisers from within Montessori ranks. Teachers and parents need to understand the real philosophic meaning of the Montessori method. Ayn Rand’s philosophy makes that understanding possible.

He is right about the confusion in the Montessori ranks, and regrettably I must report that the Montessori Method is being severely corrupted in America, by modern Montessorians’ ill-conceived quest for recognition by mainstream academia, and the attempts to shoehorn the Method into rigid public school curricula. Authentic Montessori programs are still available in the private sector; but the name is in the public domain and anyone can call their school a Montessori school, whether or not it provides an authentic Montessori curriculum. Caveat emptor.

At the end of the article, are some interesting quotes. I liked Peikoff’s:

Assault from the Ivory Tower: The Professors’ War Against America
by Leonard Peikoff

I wish I could tell you that your college years will be a glorious crusade. Actually, they will probably be a miserable experience. If you are a philosophically pro-American student, you have to expect every kind of smear from many of your professors. If you uphold the power of reason, you will be called a fanatic or a dogmatist. If you uphold the right to happiness, you will be called anti-social or even a fascist. If you admire Ayn Rand, you will be called a cultist. You will experience every kind of injustice, and even hatred, and you will be unbelievably bored most of the time, and often you will be alone and lonely. But if you have the courage to venture out into this kind of nightmare, you will not only be acquiring the diploma necessary for your professional future, you will also be helping to save the world, and we are all in your debt.

The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought by Ayn Rand, 206-207

Then, by Ayn Rand herself:

Ayn Rand on Education

The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life — by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past — and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort.

“The Comprachicos,” The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, 231.

The academia-jet set coalition is attempting to tame the American character by the deliberate breeding of helplessness and resignation-in those incubators of lethargy known as “Progressive” schools, which are dedicated to the task of crippling a child’s mind by arresting his cognitive development. (See “The Comprachicos” in my book The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution.) It appears, however, that the “progressive” rich will be the first victims of their own special theories: it is the children of the well-to-do who emerge from expensive nursery schools and colleges as hippies, and destroy the remnants of their paralyzed brains by means of drugs.

The middle class has created an antidote which is perhaps the most helpful movement of recent years: the spontaneous, unorganized, grass — roots revival of the Montessori system of education — a system aimed at the development of a child’s cognitive, i.e., rational, faculty.

“Don’t Let It Go,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 261; pb 214.

Finally, if you are unfamiliar with Montessori philosophy and at all interested in exploring it, I recently published an essay entitled, “Spontaneous Minds,” which covers the way in which the Montessori Method nurtures the spontaneous process children use to create their own minds, by interaction with their environment, during the crucial preschool years. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Nurturing Spontaneous Minds

One of the first things a Montessorian must acquire is the humility necessary to fully comprehend that she is not a teacher. Montessorians are carefully trained not to interfere, any more than absolutely necessary, in the spontaneous process of a child developing a mind, which they are diligently doing – with or without the presence of an adult – every conscious moment of their young lives. We must take care to act only as observers and gentle guides in that autonomous process. Our job is to observe children independently working at this task at their own pace, in the learning environment we have so carefully prepared, and notice when it is time to give them that next little nudge along their individual path of self-discovery. Then, we give them a short presentation in how properly to use a new didactic tool found there, and then get out of their way to allow them to learn by exploring with it.

We must never forget that we are adults and role models, and the children expect us to act like it. A well-trained Montessorian is completely non-judgmental and must never allow her own prejudices to be passed on to her students in any way. She regards her classroom as a temple for developing minds, which she must never desecrate with an unenthusiastic mood. She learns to appreciate the benefit of leaving her personal problems outside, before ever entering that temple. They will undoubtedly be waiting for her attention later; but in the meantime, she can smile with delight as she puts them out of her mind, for the children’s sake, if not her own.

A Montessorian will never raise her voice over anything short of a fire in the building. Children react positively to adults who are calm, yet firm. While they can ignore a yell, they will strain to hear a whisper, and revel in the attention if they think they are the only one who did. Spilled water, or a broken vase, is merely an unexpected opportunity to show a child how to clean up the mess themselves. Rather than experience her frustration (or worse yet – anger), which could bruise the ego of a hapless three-year-old, the Montessori student receives an empowering new presentation in Practical Life from a loving mentor.

Try to put yourself in the mind of a child who just turned three. You are actively creating the mind that will serve as your tool for dealing with reality for the rest of your life, by absorbing data from your environment like a sponge, classifying it, and methodically organizing it in as coherent a fashion, as your woefully incomplete thee-year-old mind can accomplish. Simultaneously, you are diligently working on improving your motor skills and hand-eye coordination. You were blessed with parents who were wise enough, or just plain lucky enough, to have enrolled you in a Montessori school. You find yourself ensconced for a few hours every day in an amazing environment.

All the furniture and appurtenances are scaled down to your size. Even the sink with real running water is down at your level. There are about one thousand different intriguing didactic “activities” arrayed on the low shelves, just begging to be explored by your mind; yet there is not a single toy in the room. The child sized brooms, dustpans, buckets, and mops are meant and expected to be used for the same purpose adults use theirs.

You are surrounded by children from 2 ½ thru 6-years-old, at various stages of development; all industriously and cooperatively using the various activities for the same purpose you are, creating their minds. Seeing the older children’s confidence and competence makes them convenient role models, whom you are anxious to emulate. Gratefully, most of them enjoy helping a tyke when the adult “guide” (she wouldn’t presume to call herself a teacher) in the room is busy elsewhere. It is a safe, nurturing, environment, and you have been in it long enough to be considered “normalized,” and trusted to choose your own activities for the day.

Normalized? Oh, that is one of those unfortunate Montessori buzzwords that have survived the past hundred years. Its primary utility seems to be to horrify parents, who recoil at the thought that their precious little creations might be anything subnormal when they applied for enrollment. It reflects Maria Montessori’s discovery that the true nature of the child is expressed in a love of order, a love of work, a love of silence and working alone, remarkable concentration, spontaneous self-discipline, independence and initiative, attachment to reality, and profound joy. The behaviors adults are pleased to call “naughty,” are generally a result of these needs not being met for the child, and they simply melt away in an environment where they are. Once they do, a Montessorian considers them normalized.

You are irresistibly drawn to the Practical Life area of the classroom today, and being a perfectly normal child, water fascinates you. You have pretty well mastered the bean sorting activities, and thus learned to be careful carrying an activity tray, with real china dishes on it, to a table without breaking anything. You don’t know why the “teacher” (your mom insists on using that word) chose beautiful precious breakable bowls and jugs for the activities, rather than plastic fantastic ones you could be careless with (although she certainly does); but you understand and appreciate that you are being trusted with their care, and you are thus very careful with them. Your increasing competence is a real boost to your self-confidence.

You got your first “lesson” (your “teacher” would call it a presentation) in a water pouring activity yesterday. You learned how to use the sink to fill a china jug with water; carry it carefully to a table, and pour equal amounts into two small glasses. Then you learned that you could empty the glasses back into the jug, and do it again; over and over for as long as you liked. When satisfied, you would pour the water back into the sink, dry the jug and glasses with a cloth, and carefully put them back on the tray. Then you would return it to the shelf, in exactly the same condition you found it, so it would be ready for the next child to use. Amazingly, all it took was one ten minute “lesson” for you to earn your solo wings. Today, you can’t wait to try them out. That little jug is so cute, and the sink has real running water in it!

Bummer. By the time you got up from the morning “circle,” another child already had that pouring activity out and was doing the exercise. It wouldn’t have even occurred to you to get upset or make a fuss over having to wait your turn. One of the cardinal rules of a Montessori classroom is that nobody is ever allowed to disturb another child’s work. He could leave it to go to the bathroom, in full confidence that it would be exactly as he left it when he returned. Oh well, he will be finished soon, so you choose to sort some more beans while you wait. Ah, now it is back on the shelf; but first you have to complete your present activity and put it away as you found it, before you are free to change activities.

That done, you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to take the tray with that precious jug to a table (any empty table will do, none is assigned). You do so with the utmost of care, and take the jug and glasses off the tray and set it aside. After putting on the obligatory apron (water activities can get messy), you go to the sink and get your water. You carry the jug carefully back to the table, one hand on the handle, one supporting it from underneath, just as the “teacher” had carefully shown you how to do. For the moment, you actually love that precious jug even more than the Montessorian who bought it, and she treasures it a lot. To break it would be unthinkable.

You do the exercise repeatedly, in rapt concentration, for half an hour. Your mind is focused exclusively on what you are doing, and is almost oblivious to what is going on around you. With each reiteration, you become a little more confident and competent at pouring just the right amount without spilling hardly a drop. Yes, you are developing self-confidence and a measure of self-esteem regarding your competence, and it feels great. You don’t need any kudos or encouragement from others; you can see for yourself that you are getting better at it. Then, the unthinkable happens. Your wet little hand slips on the jug and you drop it on the floor. You are shocked and virtually petrified in horror, as you watch the water spread among the broken shards of that treasured pitcher.

What happens in the next moment makes all the difference in the world. You are not an idiot; you know for yourself that you just failed, and the last thing you need is a mad cow swooping in, or jeering peers, to point it out to you. You were not being careless, quite the opposite; it was an unfortunate accident, and if other’s didn’t notice that fact, it is their failing, not yours. You just fell off a horse, and the immediate consequences will determine how soon you are going to risk getting back on it. More importantly, it may leave an indelible impression in your developing mind, regarding whether the risk of failure is worth the consequences of trying a daunting task. Unfair censure is just that debilitating to self-esteem and a budding ego, in the mind of a three-year-old.

In far too many adult-centered classrooms, this experience would have turned out negatively. Even a generally loving and caring teacher might not have suppressed her dismay at the loss of her favorite jug (you probably can’t imagine how much Montessorians love their “PL” baubles, the one area of the classroom where their own individual tastes are on display). The other children probably would have sniggered at the victim’s dismay or laughed aloud. The flustered teacher would have shooed everyone away while she cleaned up the mess, to keep others from spreading it or knocking something else over.

The whole classroom would have thus been affected, all concentration broken, and all attention focused on the drama. The poor little culprit/victim would be crushed, and probably break into tears, which everyone would assume she deserved, as punishment for her clumsiness and attempting to pour water before she was “big enough” to do it properly. The teacher, for her convenience, would then probably replace the pretty little jug with an ugly plastic one, which couldn’t be broken. Then, she wouldn’t have been at all surprised if some child used it for a hammer, or threw it across the room in a fit of frustration; activities unheard of in a normalized Montessori classroom.

In the child-centered environment of an authentic Montessori school, the child would have received a very different experience. The Montessorian wouldn’t have dreamed of allowing her personal pique to have shown through in the slightest. She would have been there in a flash, with a smile on her face and a consoling, yet ever encouraging voice, barely above a whisper. Children on the other side of the room might not have even noticed the commotion, and would continue concentrating on their own work. Nor would there have been any peer censure. A five-year-old boy would have immediately gone for a mop and bucket for the water, without being asked. A four-year-old girl would get a broom and dustpan for the shards.

Everyone involved would have been intent on helping the hapless child with an accident, and the teacher’s highest goal (beyond the “teachable moment” for the cleanup lesson), would be to make sure the child would remount the proverbial horse ASAP. With ego fully intact, this child would be ready to resume the mission of creating a competent adult out of a child, on her own, with only minor assistance and minimal direction. The most valuable lesson of the day was that it is OK to fail, as long as you never give up trying. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Rare Sagacity

In a thread entitled, “Who is pro-science, the Left or the Right?” on the Secular Right blog, I have encountered a 71 year-old sage, who has made several profound comments that are well worth reading. “Gene Berman” does not have his own blog; but he should, for his perspective deserves a wider audience. He prefers to comment at places where he finds people actually thinking. It is a long thread, so skip the other comments if you like, but treat yourself to the thought that will be provoked by reading his. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Mindpower

After avoiding it for days, I finally joined a discussion at the Secular Right blog in a thread entitled, “As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God.” It took a lot of turns and had gotten around to a disagreement over whether African natives were as intelligent as other races. Typically, the Leftists thereabouts bristled at any suggestion that all the “Bell Curve” studies and data might suggest that their dreams of creating an egalitarian world might not work out so well in practice. After one challenged another’s actual “on the ground in Africa” experience, I offered the following:

It happens that I have lived in Africa and worked closely with natives of both the well-educated and relatively uneducated varieties. I also have earned my living for the past dozen years assisting children from the age of 2.5 thru 6 years-old to create their minds, so perhaps I have some unique perspective to offer. Education cannot begin until a child acquires the faculty of language, and learns to name things.

Yet, we do not teach our children basic language and syntax, they absorb it out of the environment by listening to adults speak. This is the primary “work” of a two-year-old, and observing the rapidity with which they go from their first attempts to speak, to putting together whole sentences with surprisingly accurate syntax is breathtaking when one contemplates the difficulty of the achievement.

It was incredibly easy to learn “kitchen kaffir,” which is what the pigeon language used for communicating with the African natives was called. Since their language only had about 700 words and very rudimentary syntax, all one had to do was memorize those words and plug them into English syntax. Objects that had no native name were simply called by their English name. E.g. “Faga” was their word for “put,” and “lapa” meant “over there.” It didn’t much matter where one inserted “ashtray” in the phrase “faga lapa” to be clearly understood.

Without language, there could be no rational thought or even human consciousness. Words are symbolic representations of concepts, whether simple or extremely complex, and are the scaffold on which we construct our ideas. The quality and efficiency of our thinking is dependent on our vocabulary. Whole lifetimes of research and contemplation, which can and does fill volumes, can be expressed in the shorthand of a single word, e.g. Marxism or capitalism.

I don’t think it requires getting into the debates over genetics, or nature vs. nurture, to recognize that if a child grows up in an environment surrounded by adults that know and use only 700 words or less in their presence, while they are teaching themselves their native tongue and creating the scaffolding for thinking, they are not going to end up with much to work with.

This is true whether it is in the African bush, or our own blighted ghettos, where using proper English gets one accused of “acting White.” Unfortunately, the sensitive period for language acquisition in the stages of mind development for a child is long past by the time they start attending school, and learning a new language at that point, or even refining the one they supposedly know, is infinitely more difficult.

If then thrust into the typical teacher-centered environment, where they are expected to sit still and pay attention, while the all-knowing teacher fills their empty little heads with “age appropriate” knowledge according to a fixed curriculum schedule, the prognosis is not good. Children learn best by doing and exploring whatever interests them at any particular time, and Socrates was right when he said that true education is more like the kindling of a flame than the filling of a vessel.

All that said, I too reject the tabla raza hypothesis, and think not enough interest has been given the subject of temperament, which all evidence seems to indicate is somehow innate. We all know of siblings with personalities that could not be more contrasting, born of the same parents and raised in the same environment; perhaps intimately. A Meyers-Briggs test will tell one more about the efficacy and structure of a particular mind than any IQ test.

Finally, any suggestion that African natives would be anywhere close to the achievements of Western civilization, without our influence during the colonial period, is laughable. Even today, were all Westerners (and Easterners) to pull out of Africa completely, it would devolve in short order, into the superstitious netherworld, of disorganized tribal conflicts that the White Man delivered them from.

When I was managing that farm where I studied African culture back in ’74, Rhodesia was the bread basket of Africa, and Salisbury was one of the cleanest, safest, and most modern cities in the world. Today, after the hand-wringers and do-gooders of Europe and America used UN Sanctions to force the Whites to turn it over to the Marxist terrorists they were pleased to call “freedom fighters,” it is called Zimbabwe. Ask the now starving natives there if we did them any favors… I rest my case. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Adventures For Pay

Bloggers are starting to post their life’s job history, and some of them are interesting. I first encountered it at American Digest, and traced the meme back to one called Stageleft:

The most interesting things about blogging is the bloggers. I’ve only ever met four of you out there in the real world, but in some ways I think of many of you as friends.

But I don’t know very much about anyone. And it’s been a long time since we had a new meme. So here’s one.

It’s simple. Just list all the jobs you’ve had in your life, in order. Don’t bust your brain: no durations or details are necessary, and feel free to omit anything that you feel might tend to incriminate you. I’m just curious. And when you’re done, tag another five bloggers you’re curious about.

Serendipitously, I mentioned in a comment just a couple of days ago that I have had a lot of interesting life experiences; but still hadn’t decided what I am going to be when I grow up. I’ll play. So far, I have tried:

  • Lawn Mower
  • Fishing Worm Breeder/Wholesaler
  • Snow Shoveler
  • Paper Boy
  • Pig Farmer
  • Pine Cone Gatherer
  • Chicken Farmer
  • Car Wash Attendant
  • Farm Laborer
  • Fruit Picker
  • Almond Knocker (hardest job ever)
  • Grease Monkey
  • Grocery Box Boy
  • Busboy
  • Ice Cream Dipper (Thrifty Drugstore)
  • Sales Clerk
  • Radio/TV Repair
  • Grocery Clerk
  • U.S. Army Soldier
  • Microwave Radio Repair
  • Morse Code/RTTY Operator
  • Waiter
  • Bartender
  • Bouncer
  • Policeman
  • Electronic Test Equipment Repair /Calibration
  • Satellite Tracking Station Telemetry Technician
  • Computer Engineer
  • Computer Programmer
  • Computer Designer
  • Electrical Contractor
  • Burglar Alarm Business (Seychelles Islands)
  • Farm Manager (Rhodesia)
  • 2-Way Radio Repair (Rhodesia)
  • Quasi-mercenary (Rhodesia)
  • Solar Energy Contractor
  • Solar Collector Manufacturer
  • Solar Collector Traveling Salesman
  • Charter Boat Deckhand
  • Commercial Fisherman (California)
  • Newspaper Columnist
  • Yacht Captain (Mexico)
  • Tuna Boat Captain (Hawaii)
  • Marine Electronics Business
  • Fishing Magazine Columnist
  • 2-Way Radio Business
  • Cell Phone/Fax Machine Retailer
  • PC Clone Manufacturer
  • Computer Consultant
  • FM Radio Station Engineer
  • Cattle Rancher
  • Retirement Care Facility for the Elderly
  • Montessori Preschool
  • Business Consultant
  • Webmaster
  • Ghost Writer

Many were entrepreneurial pursuits rather than jobs, so I just listed all the different ways in which I have earned money. I have lived in eight countries and sixteen States, so home is where my bunk is at any particular time. Several were repeated in new locales; but the list was already long enough, so I didn’t repeat the duplicates. I suspect I may have left a few out. 🙂

I tag all the other few bloggers who happen to read this. You know who you are, and I would be interested in reading your background. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Language of Politics

It occurs to me that the essay on political language I have been working on intermittently of late is getting long, and might benefit from being published in two parts for regular readers. Then, I have benefited from the comments of others, on previous attempts at depicting the political spectrum; so perhaps allowing for critique of a semi-final draft could make it better in the end. With these goals in mind, here is the first half:


You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down–up to a man’s age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order–or down to the ant heap totalitarianism, and regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course. –Ronald Regan (1964)

– § –

Without language, there could be no rational thought or even human consciousness. Words are symbolic representations of concepts, whether simple or extremely complex, and are the scaffold on which we construct our ideas. The quality and efficiency of our thinking is dependent on our vocabulary, and nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of politics. Whole lifetimes of research and contemplation, which can and does fill volumes, can be expressed in the shorthand of a single word, e.g. Marxism or capitalism. For functional communication, however, one’s correspondent must share the same definition of such words.

When the meaning of a word changes, the thoughts and associations it evokes necessarily change too. This is the power behind the Orwellian technique for muddling the content of our minds, in the deliberate process of “dumbing down” Americans, to create rather thoughtless and compliant “workers” and “consumers.” Because their definitions keep evolving, the terms “liberal” and “conservative” have become so meaningless to useful thought for me, that for the past couple of years I have stopped using them altogether in political discourse. I usually simply use “Left” and “Right” to convey what others generally intend to mean, when they still do.

While decidedly less ambiguous, even these terms are hopelessly inadequate for serious political thought; as Reagan had already noticed over forty years ago. They are a false dichotomy perpetrated by Incumbrepublocrat Party politicians, to divide Americans into one of their two allegedly competing camps. Free sovereign individuals, without a common existential enemy, have no need of exalted leaders, and are almost impossible to control. Witness the recent specter of “Joe the Plumber,” not in the least awestruck by the presence of “The One” in his neighborhood. He regarded the charismatic candidate, so mesmerizing to others, as merely another applicant for a civil servant job. He asked him some pertinent probing questions, which the fawning press almost never did, with revealing effect that embarrassed his supporters.

Moreover, the politicians’ Left/Right line is of little real value for illustrating the political spectrum, and plotting the relative positions of the sundry ideologies claiming superiority as organizing principles for society. I have been struggling with confusing political labels and trying to make sense of the political spectrum for almost 50 years now, and this is intended to share whatever wisdom my thoughtful pursuit has garnered. In the process, I hope to elicit your help in freeing Americans from the Left/Right mental trap, and spread the concept of an Up/Down oriented political map that Regan would have endorsed.

– § –

When I was a junior in high school, our favorite teacher taught a civics class using a textbook entitled, “World Government.” Years later, I learned that it had been authored by a Marxist for the communist dominated UNESCO, which I and millions of other Americans had innocently collected pennies for on Halloween as a child. The premise of the course was that it was inevitable that the myriad ills of nationalism would eventually fade away, as we evolved to adopt a world government modeled after the UN, and that this was a very good thing. Much admiring of this “cool” teacher, my plastic young mind bought this Utopian notion hook, line, and sinker.

He first introduced me to the terms “liberal” and “conservative,” by explaining that a liberal was “a young dynamic person, who wanted to change the world and make it a better place to live.” On the other hand, a conservative was “an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy, like your parents, who either wanted things to remain as they were, or (gasp!) revert to their vision of the (mercifully) bygone ‘good old days’.” Then he asked for a show of hands; and predictably, the entire class chose to self-identify as “liberals.”

What he failed to teach us, if he even knew it, was that the original liberals were revolutionaries like our Founders, bent on Liberty – freedom for the individual from the bondage of landless serfdom, which the medieval establishments of church and state wished to “conserve” for the propertied elites. That the collectivist Utopia dreamed of by the global idealists, would be a regression to serfdom on state owned land, was never mentioned. He was peddling “Hope and Change” – that universal elixir for impatient youthful idealists and mind-numbed victims of true oppression the world over – without much in the way of inconvenient details.

Today, after well over a century of ascendancy, it is an arguable proposition that the Progressives on the Left represent the current “establishment,” and thus are the modern “conservatives.” They haven’t come up with a new idea in generations, and are now rather desperately defending the status quo, and/or pining for the “good old days” of FDR’s “New Deal” or LBJ’s “Great Society.” All of the truly innovative ideas for improving our society are now coming from the Right, and many of them resemble those espoused by the original definition of “liberal” thinkers, influenced by John Locke, et al.

– § –

My dad was a union member when I was indoctrinated as a liberal; so, unlike many, I didn’t have to rebel politically against my own two fuddy-duddy Democrats. My family had celebrated the inauguration of John F. Kennedy as President earlier that same year. While JFK was a Democrat, and considered the epitome of a young dynamic liberal; he was by no means a Marxist or a pacifist. He was the dashing WWII hero of PT-109, who had already crossed swords with the Soviets in the Bay of Pigs and Berlin. He would soon expand our mission in Vietnam, ostensibly to prevent the Chicoms from conquering all of South East Asia. He also cut taxes to stimulate the economy and increase government revenue, proving “trickle down” economic theory worked a generation before Reagan reintroduced it. There would be no place for Kennedy in today’s Democrat Party, and he would have about as much chance as Zell Miller or Joe Lieberman of winning their Primary these days.

Over time, my essentially conservative parents – both from the South and Dad a WWII veteran himself – didn’t think too much of Jacqueline or Camelot. Royalty didn’t impress these common folks. They also got a little twitchy over the Peace Corps; but they were Democrats to the core, and rallied behind Kennedy again when the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted in my senior year. I remember announcing that if we went to war, they had better be prepared to sign the waiver (I was 17), because I would be joining up. Patriotic though my family was at the time, I don’t think Mom much liked that idea, but I could tell Dad understood.

In fact, he encouraged me the next summer, when I joined the Army straight out of high school. It was only a couple of weeks before my 18th birthday, so Mom signed the waiver without much protest. The Tonkin Gulf affair was still a year away, and they viewed my three year hitch more as a rather necessary character building exercise for a contumacious juvenile delinquent, than a serious risk to my life.

JFK was assassinated while I was still in advanced training, and to the dismay of almost everyone outside of Texas, LBJ was sworn in. When I deployed to Asia shortly thereafter, I was still superficially a liberal Democrat, off to make the world a better place; leaving behind a couple of conservative Democrat parents, who would soon become disenchanted over Johnson’s “Great Society” programs.

Politics didn’t matter much in the Army. I couldn’t vote until I got out and turned 21, anyway. I do recall that even the Army Times didn’t much care for Goldwater in ’64, and writing my parents to tell them not to vote for him, because he might start a direct war with China. I was way too close to the DMZ to comfortably contemplate the specter of hordes of Chicom regulars pouring across it.

– § –

Returning to California as a newly minted civilian again in ’66, the calendar soon conferred upon me some of the privileges of adulthood, which three years in uniform shouldering its responsibilities had not. Being able to legally participate in our society’s nightlife was cool; but I took my new voting franchise seriously. I wanted to understand the issues so I could vote for candidates who best represented my own values. I naturally started my quest from the premise that I was still “a young dynamic person, who wanted to change the world and make it a better place to live.” After all, hadn’t I just spent three years making the world “safe for democracy,” by thwarting the regressive forces of “tyranny” known as “communism?”

Wasn’t the “freedom” enjoyed in America infinitely better than being an impoverished “worker” in the Soviet Union? I was aware that there were Marxists – both “communists” and “fellow travelers” calling themselves “socialists” – in America; but I naturally assumed that this Fifth Column expected to be among the privileged leaders of a Marxist America. Having spent the past three years among warriors instead of in a university, it simply never occurred to me that any real American would willingly accept the status of a mind-numbed robot as one of their serfs.

Still assuming I was a Democrat, I found California’s political world upside down. I had matured into a self-confident young man, and immediately noticed that my contemporaries who had not yet served, had not; but it was more than that. I was even more anti-communist than before, strongly supportive of our SEATO mission, and naturally assumed that a man was expected to take care of himself and his family responsibly; but these had never been illiberal or un-Democratic values. Yet, to my shock, my parents had morphed into Republicans and were planning to vote for “only an actor” for Governor! They had simply had enough of the “Great Society,” with unkempt hippies and peaceniks protesting everywhere, while rapidly taking over the Democrat Party.

This irritated my parents more than I could understand. It seemed to me that the hippies and fuddy-duddies both wanted pretty much the same thing; namely, to be left alone by government so they could live their own lives as they chose to live them. While they couldn’t understand each other’s worldview, neither seemed too inclined to force the other to adopt their own values, they just wanted not to be harassed by each other. I would have thought them natural allies; but the politicians managed to convince them they were on opposite sides.

– § –

I ended up also casting my first ever vote for Ronald Reagan for Governor; but it wasn’t my parents who swayed me. That task befell a fellow named Bob Welch. No, not that Robert Welch… Bob was just my boss; but he was in fact an open member of the John Birch Society, which is probably why I even remember his name. We shared a workbench and could freely chat as we repaired and calibrated electronic test equipment for a living.

That a responsible and competent young man, with apparent common sense and impeccable anti-communist credentials, could even consider himself a “liberal,” drove Bob ’round the bend; and he made it a mission to “save” me from my ignorance. Those daily engrossing and thought provoking conversations probably imbued me with my love of political debate, even though I was hopelessly outgunned and lost almost all of our arguments.

To be fair, he cheated. He loaned me a book entitled, “None Dare Call it Treason” and insisted that I read it on my own time. It was written as a campaign book during Goldwater’s contest with Johnson in ’64, with an inflammatory style and full of footnoted “facts” and citations. There was no internet in ’66, much less Google, and in my naïveté, I placed way too much confidence in the numerous references to the Congressional Record. At the time, I did not understand how easy it is for congressmen to enter reams of speculative verbiage therein, and assumed references to it were authoritative.

Still, if a tenth of its content was accurate, it was damning enough. It was so inflammatory to a Cold Warrior that I couldn’t read more than a chapter at a time without throwing it across the room in rage. All along, I had assumed our government’s intent was to ultimately defeat the Soviet Union, and free mankind from communist enslavement; yet here was reference after reference suggesting the opposite.

Why in hell were we selling turbine engines to Czechoslovakia, which were ending up in Soviet MIGs? Examples of such incomprehensible business dealings with the Soviet Bloc were legion. The Communists’ domination of UNESCO was exposed, including mention of my “World Government” textbook! This one really set me off. Then, if an oppressed people will only rise up to overthrow an oppressor when they are hungry, why did we ship Russia wheat every time their miserable feudal system caused Soviet agriculture to fail, and famine loomed? What in the world were our politicians thinking?

Was Washington DC virtually overrun with “fellow travelers” on the Left, who didn’t really want to defeat communism? That was the thrust of the book, and I was too naïve to ask if perhaps it was as much the corporatists on the Right desiring new markets, regardless of national interest. In retrospect, it was probably a measure of both; but the average real American would have supported neither. We don’t fight limited wars for chessboard motives. Most Americans are not easily goaded into preemptive war; but once engaged in one, we insist on winning it.

– § –

Bob converted me from a Democrat to a Republican, by convincing me that the tyranny of Marxism beckoned on the Left, with freedom and capitalism increasingly only championed by the Right; but he failed to make a “conservative” out of me, by the generally accepted meaning of the term. Although I wouldn’t admit it in polite company at the time, I was as godless as the Commies, and still as uninterested as the hippies in having bible-thumping fuddy-duddies regulating my moral behavior. After all, as a single young man, this new “free love” thing was rather hormonally appealing.

I recall my early efforts to explain my new political viewpoint as, “Politically conservative and morally liberal.” In today’s lexicon, I was trying to say, “Fiscally conservative and socially progressive.” It would be another ten years before I got around to reading Ayn Rand and finding a compatible rational worldview; but already I was becoming a libertarian before I ever heard the word. To me at the time, politics was the realm of competing economic systems, and tyranny vs. Liberty, not morality.

I had been taught that our forefathers had fled religious intolerance in Europe, to a land where individual Liberty permitted one to believe, or not, whatever one wished; and to belong, or not, to any church of one’s choosing. I didn’t think trying to use government to impose a religious moral code on everyone, was any more legitimate than Marxists trying to impose a Utopian economic model on free people. I still don’t.

– § –

Thinking back, Bob also made a rather cynical political junkie out of me. I loved our eye-opening political discussions; but soon learned to distrust the motives and agendas of all politicians, and how to ferret them out of the noisy pandering, preaching, and demagoguery. Politics is a great spectator sport, if one doesn’t drink any Kool-Aid and can keep an open mind. The trick is to admire the skill and finesse of the players, whichever team they are playing for. When one is rooting for a team, it is hard to be objective.

Since libertarians are not permitted to field a team in the big leagues, this is not difficult for me. It is the process of American politics that I relish, not the end result, which I rarely find satisfactory. Because of my love of language, I particularly enjoy observing the clever spinmeisters at work. Their skill at manipulating mindless sheeple is a wonder to behold, whatever one thinks of their agenda. Sometimes I agree, most often I don’t; but a connoisseur of the art can appreciate competent technique in either case.

Clinton and some of his protégés were extemporaneous masters. Bush’s greatest failing as a politician, is that he hopelessly is not. Yet, even Bush bests Obama’s pathetic stammering when deprived of a script and a teleprompter. Bush can trip over an unexpected question at a news conference; Obama sounds like all the questions were unexpected.

I listen very carefully and critically to political spin, noting the words that work, and those that don’t. Focus group tested talking points, and Orwellian redefinitions, leap out at me within hours of their being introduced as budding memes into our culture; and it is fascinating to notice how soon they are being parroted by the media and even oblivious politicians among their opposition.

No one wishes to admit that they don’t understand a slick new word being used by all the insiders, nor even bother to look it up; so they just carelessly accept the connotation presented and add it to their lexicon. It is astounding how almost immediately effective spin is. It can become conventional wisdom overnight.

The relative ease, with which such elegant manipulation of our national mindset is accomplished, bespeaks the awesome power of language over us all. The pen truly is mightier than the sword… Then again, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. We shall see.

– § –

[At this point would come the new diagram already shared and commented on over here. Following that will be the explanation of its components, which will be part two. Critique and comments are encouraged and will be much appreciated. For any readers who may have not commented before because this blog was configured to require registration, it no longer is; so please do.] â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon New Political Spectrum Chart

I have been working (not very diligently) on an essay to explain my latest version of my political spectrum chart. Now that Orrin has resurfaced from being buried in his workload, I need to move it near the top of my to-do stack, as it was the discussion on his blog that instigated the change. Since I have the chart itself done, I have uploaded it as a teaser:

Think UP and DOWN - not Left and Right

Think UP and DOWN - not Left and Right

You can click on the diagram to open it full size, and suitable for printing, in another window. The main difference from my earlier efforts is that it emphasizes the nature of the vertical  Up/Down axis, and includes the economic systems as the principle sort for choosing the Left or Right path around the circle toward tyranny.

Yes, I realize that most of the political noise comes from the two opposing moralist camps, the Politically Correct activists on the Left and the Piously Correct activists on the Right; but I have deliberately downplayed them. Ours is and always was a secular government, and their attempts to enlist it to impose their moral dogmas on others who are not adherents to their competing “religions,” ought not to even be considered in serious discussion of good government.

I have added a new category of good guys at the top labeled “Secular Conservatives.” This label would apply to those who are heavily invested in what they consider small government “conservative” philosophy or principles and support free enterprise. While they may or may not be religious themselves, they recognize and appreciate the secular nature of our government, and oppose the use of Piously Correct litmus tests for candidates for elective office. If I understand him correctly, Orrin would fall into this category.

I’ll get busy on the essay, which is already entitled “Political Language,” and post it soon. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Washingtonians

I have frequently lamented that the Left/Right dichotomy the Incumbrepublocrats try to shoehorn us all into isn’t very useful for categorizing the political factions in America. I have explained that I find more utility in Walter Russel Mead’s division of American foreign policy in to four schools, the Jeffersonians, Wilsonians, Hamiltonians, and my home among the Jacksonians.

I have also made much of the distinction between the largely Jacksonian values of the traditional folk culture of the heartland of America, known as Flyover Country, and the elitist cultures extant in metropolitan America, which combine the academics and the ghettos.

Now, Rush Limbaugh, has provided another useful label. I haven’t listened to Rush for more than a few minutes here and there in the car for years, but I sure missed a great monologue recently. I had read of Collin Powell’s recent suggestion that Republicans stop listening to him, so when his rebuttal popped up as a link on Drudge, I was naturally curious. It turned out to be a transcript of a part of his show the following day, and he not only nailed Powell’s vacuous character, but the whole mindset of the Washingtonian elites who control the Incumbrepublocrat Party. It is well worth the read; but here are some highlights. First he explains the beef:

…you might even say that the Republican Party is in the situation it’s in precisely because of the people like Colin Powell and John McCain and others who have devised this new definition and identity of the party which is responsible for electing Democrats all over this country.

…I guess McCain and Colin Powell are showing their true colors. Here is Colin Powell telling the Republican Party what to do after he voted for Obama! I know what really has Colin Powell upset, it’s because I said his endorsement of Obama was about race, and I’m not supposed to say those things. These things are supposed to go unsaid.

…Once McCain was nominated as the Republican candidate, largely by independents and Democrats voting in Republican primaries, Colin Powell waited ’til the last minute, when it would do the most damage to McCain and the Republicans and endorsed Obama. And when I said it was largely about race, that’s what set ’em all off, you’re not supposed to say these kinds of things. This is supposed to go unspoken.

Then, he identifies the problem:

What’s going on here with this Colin Powell thing is that the Washington establishment — Powell’s not a Republican. McCain’s not a Republican. These guys are not even mavericks. They are Washingtonians. Washingtonians have their own culture and their own desires, and it is to matter. They don’t care who’s in power, they just want to be closely associated with whoever is. That’s the name of the game and they want press adulation. They want to be loved and adored by the media, they want fawning treatment, they want to be thought of as something special, unique, dignified and so forth, and that’s the Washington establishment. These guys are Washingtonians. And what is a Washingtonian? Who are these people? Ladies and gentlemen, they have driven this economy into the toilet. Washingtonians are tone deaf in terms of how you and I actually live and the things that matter and are important to us. Washingtonians are grabbing as much power for themselves right now as possible. Washington does not live in the rest of the country, does not live in the same world we do. What they’re doing now is looking for ways to silence opposition. They don’t care about the timid ineffective opposition. They like Republicans and conservatives who are ashamed of their views and their fellow citizens. What they want to do is silence people like me because they can’t abide debate or opposition or challenges to their status and their authority.

I couldn’t agree more, and “Washingtonian” just became part of my political lexicon. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Obamusurper

Well, this tears it. It just occurred to me that I now despise Barack Hussein Obama with every fiber of my being. Until this moment, I have only opposed him because he is a Marxist, and perhaps for his arrogance and deceit; but those traits are not uncommon among politicians. No, his sins against our country are infinitely worse. We might have survived his Marxist proclivities and Newer New Deal programs; but his worse sin against our republic’s very fabric has already been committed, and I damn him and his enablers for perpetrating it.

As commenter “acsnyc” pointed out on my post yesterday, the SCOTUS is not done with the issue of Obama’s eligibility. This morning’s exploration leads me to conclude: not by a long shot, and they won’t be anytime soon, if ever. Obama and his associates have knowingly, with malice and aforethought, perpetrated a fraud on us all; and put the SCOTUS between a rock and a hard place. I would not wish to be in their shoes.

Monday next, Obama is set to be elected to the office of POTUS as a usurper who is Constitutionally ineligible to hold that office. The SCOTUS now knows this, and are the only ones who can prevent it. Yet, they must also know the literally riotous effect, all across the land, such a ruling would have. Put yourself in their shoes. It would be mighty tempting, regardless of personal politics, to assuage one’s guilt over failing to live up to one’s oath to protect and defend the Constitution; by rationalizing that the people have chosen, and the Natural Born clause is perhaps an antiquated requirement anyway.

Simply refusing, without comment, to hear the new Wrotnowski v. Bysiewicz case, would be the pragmatic approach and I predict they will take it. The specter of the considerable carnage during the razing of the ghettos, which undoubtedly would ensue otherwise, is just unthinkable. Yet, it would be precisely the wrong thing to do; for, as I have been saying for some time, this issue is not going away.

If Obama takes office, he will be a usurper; way too many legal denizens know this, and there will be a flood of lawsuits filed over every supposed “official” act he executes under the color of law. Sooner or later, like it or not, they are going to have to rule on his eligibility for the office; and when they do, anything less than at least a 7-2 affirmation will probably not be dispositive.

This morning, I stumbled across the personal blog of Leo Donofrio, Esq. On it is a press release from last night:

PRESS RELEASE: 12.08.08 7:20 pm

Cort Wrotnowski’s emergency application for a stay and/or injunction as to the Electoral College meeting on Dec. 15 was today referred to the full Court by the Honorable Associate Justice Anotonin Scalia. It has been distributed for Conference of Friday December 12. The official case name is WROTNOWSKI v. BYSIEWICZ, United States Supreme Court Docket No. 08A469.

The Wrotnowski Supreme Court application was prepared by Leo Donofrio, Esq. and is centered on the same issue from Donofrio’s case which was discussed by the Supreme Court in its conference of December 5 – whether Barack Obama is not eligible to the office of President due to the fact that he was a British citizen at the time of his birth.

Tomorrow, Dec. 9 – Cort Wrotnowski will submit a supplemental brief concerning the newly discovered ineligibility of twenty-first President Chester Arthur due to his having been born as a British subject. This is relevant to the case at hand in that Justice Gray – who wrote the seminal opinion in United States v. Wong Kim Ark – was appointed by Chester Arthur.

The Wong Kim Ark case involves an important historical opinion that SCOTUS Justices will certainly consider as to the Obama natural born citizen issue.

The recent discovery calls into question the motivations of both Arthur and Gray since Arthur’s father was a British subject not naturalized at the time of Chester’s birth. In fact, William Arthur was not naturalized until 1843, fourteen years after Chester was born. In the light of historical retrospection, Justice Gray’s decision in Wong Kim Ark seems tailor made to the circumstances of Arthur’s birth.

Chester Arthur was born in 1829. The 14th Amendment wasn’t ratified until 1868, and Wong Kim Ark was decided in 1898. But under United States law in 1829 it’s not clear that Arthur would have even been considered a United States citizen at the time of his birth, let alone a “natural born citizen” eligible to be President. At best, he would have been a dual citizen of Great Britain and the United States.

It was proved earlier this week, by various articles in the Brooklyn Eagle printed circa 1880, and other authorities, that when Arthur was on the campaign trail as Garfield’s running mate he lied many times about his father’s emigration record, his parents’ life in Canada before coming to the United States, and his father’s age. Chester also burned his papers and falsified his birth year. It appears now that he was doing so to conceal the POTUS eligibility issue.

Every other President (who didn’t become eligible under the Article 2, Section 1 grandfather clause) was born to American citizen parents in the United States. The fact that he was a British subject at birth was first reported on Friday Dec. 5.

It must now be questioned whether the relationship between Chester Arthur and Justice Gray was influenced by Arthur’s eligibility problems and whether those issues effected Gray’s opinion and vote in Wong Kim Ark.

It must also be considered that the integrity of Justice Gray’s SCOTUS appointment might have been called into question if Chester Arthur’s POTUS ineligibility issues had become known.

All of the above is relevant to the issue of whether Barack Obama is a natural born citizen in that the core Supreme Court opinion in Wong Kim Ark must now be re-evaluated in lieu of the fact that the Justice who wrote the opinion was appointed by Chester Arthur.

Leo Donofrio will accompany Cort Wrotnowski to Washington D.C. tomorrow and both will be available for comment at 11:00 AM on the steps of the Supreme Court. This is not a rally, protest or vigil. If the media would like to discuss this historical brief and the issues discussed above, Donofrio and Wrotnowski will be available to answer any questions thereto.

Leo C. Donofrio, Esq.

Cort Wrotnowski

In an earlier post yesterday discussing the disposition of his NJ case, he also made the point:

[UPDATE 12:23 PM The main stream media should stop saying SCOTUS refused to hear the case. It was distributed for conference on Nov. 19. They had the issue before them for for sixteen days. Yes, they didn’t take it to the next level of full briefs and oral argument. But they certainly heard the case and read the issues. The media is failing to acknowledge that. The case and issues were considered. Getting the case to the full Court for such consideration was my goal. I trust the Supreme Court had good reason to deny the application. Despite many attempts to stop their full review, my case was placed on their desks and into their minds. Please remember that. It’s important for history to record that.]

For some fascinating reading, I also recommend his expose on President Chester Arthur’s exploits to conceal his own birth to a British citizen father.

Then,only last Friday he published an essay covering the eligibility of all of the Presidents who had parents born abroad. He was onto Arther’s lies, but did not yet have the documentary proof that his father was not an American citizen at the time of his birth, as he now does. One poignant passage:


And this is where our villain Hinman returns. But was he a villain to Arthur? Hinman made a big stink in various New York publications alleging that Chester Arthur was born abroad as a British subject, much like those who are trying to say Obama is not a US citizen. It wasn’t true. Chester was born in Vermont. But this scandal had the effect of keeping public attention off of the issue of whether Chester Arthur’s father William was a British subject which would have made Chester a British subject “at birth” even though he was born in Vermont.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Does it ever! I now suspect Berg, et al, of deliberately obfuscating the real issue with his elaborate “Born in Kenya” lawsuit, since it doesn’t matter where he was born as a British citizen. Had any court asked for it, he probably would have readily complied, embarrassing everyone. This, and all the other such red herrings, had the effect of turning off the media and public at large to the whole subject; dismissing it as Right-wing nut-case tomfoolery (even though Berg was a Democrat) that everyone is fed up hearing about.

Since Obama freely admits to dual nationally at birth, the real issue is the definition of “Natural Born,” and Donofrio, Wrotnowski, Judah Benjamin et al have that question exactly right. Therefore, he is ineligible for the office and will be a usurper if he takes it. This is the conundrum Obama and crew has put the SCOTUS and all Americans who value both our Constitution and civil order into. Curse them; and the Obamusurper will never be my lawful President, no matter what. Screw the arrogant jerk; her deserves no respect whatever. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon Good Questions…

My friend Troy is asking for serious discussion of our future and poses three key questions:

  1. Can an ignorant citizenry, unfamiliar with its own systems of government and economics, with no demonstrable values, be entrusted with the self government of a free nation?
  2. How do we allow freedom for all while, at the same time, denying the ignorant, the stupid and the indifferent the easy means to destroy our systems of government and economics?
  3. Do the able citizens of a free, self-governing country actually have the right to be ignorant, indifferent, and/or dependent on government?

Let’s go engage his fertile mind. You first. â—„Daveâ–º

PostHeaderIcon The Age of Metrosexual Puberty

Mommies, Daddies, and Kiddies didn’t used to be considered synonymous – nor were they meant to be.

I recently submitted several of my pages to the Gender Analyzer, and the underlying AI engine has always reported with a confidence level well above 70% that they were written by a man. Thus, I was surprised to find that according to their ongoing poll, it is only right 53% of the time. Why? It was reportedly “taught” the difference by submitting writing samples written by known women and men.

I have for years noted that the political Left seems to be dominated by emotion, and most actual critical thinking occurs on the political Right. I have noted that Talk Radio is owned by the Right, simply because those on the Left become viscerally upset and tune out. They generally feel their political truths, are easily offended by, and are thus largely uninterested in serious political discourse and debate. It has also not escaped my attention that the vast majority of political bestsellers are written by, purchased by, and apparently read by those on the Right. Readers are thinkers; emoters, not so much…

The very name for this website was an outgrowth of an experience a couple of years ago, when I innocently joined a “freethinkers” forum, thinking the word meant what it implied. I soon found myself almost alone as a rational thinker in a sea of ACLU type irrational emoters, bent on doing battle with their favorite bogymen, the fundamentalist Christians. They were constitutionally incapable of comprehending that their fundie Marxist dogma was every bit as irrational to a true skeptical thinker as fundie Christian dogma, and in many ways infinitely more dangerous to individual Liberty. Needless to say, I soon found myself unwelcome among them.

In my post below, I noted that Victor Davis Hansen’s sixth politically incorrect observation hadn’t occurred to me:

6. Something has happened to the generic American male accent. Maybe it is urbanization; perhaps it is now an affectation to sound precise and caring with a patina of intellectual authority; perhaps it is the fashion culture of the metrosexual; maybe it is the influence of the gay community in arts and popular culture. Maybe the ubiquitous new intonation comes from the scarcity of salty old jobs in construction, farming, or fishing. But increasingly to meet a young American male about 25 is to hear a particular nasal stress, a much higher tone than one heard 40 years ago, and, to be frank, to listen to a precious voice often nearly indistinguishable from the female…

It seems that it has to others. In, “The Voice of the Neuter is Heard Throughout the Land,” a blogger named Vanderleun offered nearly two years ago:

…What interestest me is how he speaks.

If you focus on it, you realize that you hear this voice every day if you bounce around a bit in our larger cities buying this or ordering that, and in general running into young people in the “service” sector — be it coffee shop, video store, department store, boutique, bookstore, or office cube farm. It’s a kind of voice that was seldom heard anywhere but now seems to be everywhere.

It is the voice of the neuter.

I mean that in the grammatical sense:
“a. Neither masculine nor feminine in gender.
“b. Neither active nor passive; intransitive,”

and in the biological sense:
“a. Biology Having undeveloped or imperfectly developed sexual organs: the neuter caste in social insects.
“b. Botany Having no pistils or stamens; asexual.
“c. Zoology Sexually undeveloped.”

You hear this soft, inflected tone everywhere that young people below, roughly, 35 congregate. As flat as the bottles of spring water they carry and affectless as algae, it tends to always trend towards a slight rising question at the end of even simple declarative sentences. It has no timbre to it and no edge of assertion in it.

The voice whisps across your ears as if the speaker is in a state of perpetual uncertainty with every utterance. It is as if, male or female, there is no foundation or soul within the speaker on which the voice can rest and rise. As a result, it has a misty quality to it that denies it any unique character at all…

Above all, it is a sexless voice. Not, I hasten to add, a “gay” voice. Not that at all. It is neither that gentle nor that musical. Nor is it that old shabby lisping stereotype best consigned to the dustbin of popular culture. No, this is a new old voice of a generation of ostensible men and women who have been educated and acculturated out of, or say rather, to the far side of any gender at all. It is, as I have indicated above, the voice of the neutered. And in this I mean that of the transitive verb: To castrate or spay. The voice and the kids that carry it is the triumphant achievement of our halls of secondary and higher education. These children did not speak this way naturally, they were taught. And like good children seeking only to please their teachers and then their employers, they learned.

This is not to say that the new American Castrati of all genders live sexless lives. On the contrary, if reports are to be credited, they seem to have a good deal of sex, most often without the burden of love or the threat of chlldren, and in this they are condemned to the sex life of children.

No, it is only to say that this new voice that we hear throughout the land from so many of the young betokens a weaker and less certain brand of citizen than we have been used to in our history. Neither male nor female, neither gay nor straight, neither…. well, not anything substantive really. A generation finely tuned to irony and nothingness and tone deaf to duty and soul.

If you have never heard Hugh Hewitt flay a Lefty in one of his well prepared, fast paced, and courtroom like interviews, it is a treat and I recall the referenced one well; but though Vanderleun’s piece was beautifully written and insightful, the whole impetus behind this post was his link at the end to:

The Pathetic Last Children of Nietzsche’s Pitiable Last Men,” by “Gagdad Bob” at the “One Cosmos” blog. Here in the metaphor of the decade, he compares the current American political system (since the ’60s) to a dysfunctional family, with the Mommy on the Left and the Daddy on the Right:

…One way of looking at it is that we are seeing a collapse of the covenant between mother and father as represented in the previous maternal/paternal two-party system. It is as if we are children living in a home where mother and father no longer get along and are bickering constantly. In fact, that is probably putting it too mildly, because the current situation has gone beyond mere arguing, to the point that the masculine and feminine spheres are no longer communicating at all and are going through a very messy and acrimonious divorce. Both sides are “lawyered up” and ready to go for the throat.

I believe we may trace this divorce to the 1960’s, when mother government started to become so all powerful that there was almost no role for father. Of course, this began to change in the 1980’s, when father began reasserting himself because of the cultural, political and economic chaos that hit bottom in Jimmy Carter’s gynocracy, but by then, something else had happened. That is, the age old distinctions between mother and father and adult and child had begun to attenuate, leaving many people confused about their primordial identity.

Then he discusses how we are crippling our children. Not just by confusing their gender identities, but by blurring the distinction between adults and children:

The other main psychological mutation that occurred beginning with the 1960’s was the eradication of the differences between adult and child. Up until then, there was a clear difference between the spheres of adult and child, and everyone knew it. When I was growing up in the 60’s, I had my interests and my parents had theirs’, and there was relatively little intersection between the two–for example, baseball with my father. But we dressed differently, listened to different kinds of music, enjoyed different activities, read different literature, liked different movies, etc. I knew that I wasn’t an adult or a man but that some day I would have to become one–someone like my father, who worked hard, didn’t whine, had honor and a sense of duty, and had feelings but didn’t necessarily give them much weight.

But that has all changed now. Here again it is critical to point out that there is nothing at all wrong with an adult maintaining contact with the child part of himself. In fact, doing so is vital for creativity, spontaneity and play. However, as in the blending of male and female, the problem arises when the differences between adult and child are obliterated, which creates a hybrid monster that is neither adult nor child but both at the same time. This affects both adults and children, for our society has become a plague of adult children and childish adults–that is, prematurely sexualized children who are burdened with all kinds of inappropriate concerns, and childish adults who psychologically do not grow beyond the age of 21 or so, and never enter the realm of the truly adult.

There was this profound and insightful paragraph:

The modern conservative movement is not just trying to preserve the traditional male element, but the traditional separation of the various spheres in general–civilized vs. barbaric, animal vs, human, adult vs. child–while the Democratic party is the party of mannish women (e.g., Hillary Clinton, Gloria Allred), feminized men (e.g., Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore), adult children (Howard Dean, John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, et al), and even animal humans (PETA members who believe that killing six million chickens is morally indistinguishable from murdering six million Jews, radical environmentalists, etc.). And it is almost impossible to engage in rational debate with the adult child, who has the cynicism of a world-weary grown up but the wisdom of a child, or with the male-female hybrid, who possesses an emotionalized reason that is easily hijacked by the passions. This is not so much a disagreement between the content of thought as its very form.

Another, discussing the book, “Wimps and Barbarians,” by Terrence O. Moore:

Moore ties the phenomenon of wimps and barbarians directly to the culture of divorce and the absence of male role models in boys’ lives. “Half of American boys growing up do not live with their natural fathers. The sons of single mothers lack strong men to usher them into the world of responsible, adult manhood. Divorce, whether in reality or in the acrimonious rhetoric of the mother, impresses upon the boy an image of the father, and therefore of all men, as being irresponsible, deceitful, immature, and often hateful or abusive towards women. For sons, the divided loyalties occasioned by divorce actually create profound doubts about their own masculinity. As the boy approaches manhood, he is plagued by subconscious questions which have no immediate resolution: ‘Will I be like Dad?’ ‘Do I want to be like Dad?’ ‘What is a man supposed to do?'”

Now that I know it exists, I would have hated to miss this article. The comment section was good too. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the changes taking place in our culture and political system. I am that much the wiser for having read it. Bless the internet and the blogosphere. â—„Daveâ–º


Update: 11/26/08  I suscribed to the RSS of the American Digest Blog after visiting yesterday, and lo today he reposted his “Voice of Neuter” post of 2006, which I referenced in response to VDH’s post above. â—„Daveâ–º

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