Until Midterm Elections...

Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Anatomy of Deception – Environmentalist wackos, including President Obama, are living a lie on purpose

"I think there's no real scientific basis for the dispute of this” – Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in response to a reporter’s inquiry into the legitimacy of the science surrounding the Anthropogenic Global Warming movement.

"I don't think that's anything that is, quite frankly, among most people, in dispute anymore," [Gibbs] said during Monday's press briefing.

My friends, in case you haven’t yet heard, the “Man-made Global Warming” hoaxers have been utterly exposed for the world-wide frauds that they are. Two weeks ago, a hacker/blogger broke into the servers at the Climate Research Unit at the East Anglia University in England – the premier climate research organization on the planet. The hacker uncovered and posted for all to see over a thousand emails between Professor Phil Jones and various correspondents. I’ve posted the link below so you can have a look:

http://www.eastangliaemails.com/index.php

Among these emails you can find very clear evidence that for the past twenty years, this “research” organization has been doctoring data, cherry picking data, excluding data, and denying freedom of information requests to fellow scientists who wanted to try and reproduce their “results”.

One of the main people with whom Phil Jones corresponded in the emails is Michael Mann out of Penn State. This same Michael Mann is the “scientist” who claimed to disprove the “Medieval Warm Period”, that is, the data from ice cores that show that during the medieval times, the Earth was in fact; much hotter than it is today and guess what, there was no industrialization happening at that time. Mr. Mann’s “study” was based on tree-ring data that he attempted to correlate with CO2 levels and temperature readings from the forest in the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia. However, Mr. Mann’s study wouldn’t have been awarded a green ribbon at the Queeny Park Science Fair. He used a sample size of three trees. He cherry-picked the three trees that he could make to fit into his preconceived notion of his results. Furthermore, recent studies of this same forest have shown that recent tree ring data is uncorrelated with CO2 and temperature data from the past 20 years, further damning the idea that such a small sample of data from a thousand years ago could prove anything.

This discovery has proven what I’ve been saying for several years and what people like Rush Limbaugh have been saying for 21 years: the “Man-Made (Anthropogenic) Global Warming” movement is a hoax. It is the single largest scientific hoax and revelation in history since we discovered the Earth was round. But the most damning thing is that is was NOT an accident. What has been passed on as science in the area of climate and meteorology for the past 20 years constitutes felony fraud. The CRU, Michael Mann, the IPCC, Al Gore, and the thousands of other Enviro-wackos that have been pushing this hoax need to be investigated. Science has come under assault.

Now to get back to Robert Gibbs and his idiotic blathering: He claims that there is no scientific reason to doubt the AGW movement.

None? Not any sliver of doubt is able to penetrate that thick skull? He doesn’t think any reasonable person could harbor doubts regarding the legitimacy of the science at all, even despite the fact that the Mecca of the AGW movement has been shown to be a total and complete fraud? No doubt whatsoever, eh Gibbs? Hogwash.

Gibbs is the mouthpiece of Obama, who is continuing to choose to live in the world of Lies and Deception. Obama still plans on attending the Copenhagen summit where the world’s leaders plan on working on a global treaty to try to “solve climate change”. What a freaking idiot! How stupid does he think we are? The entire basis for the Copenhagen summit has just been shot to hell and yet these “world leaders” are going through with their stated objective.

My friends, fellow readers, this is not by accident. Obama and these world leaders have a motive, an agenda if you will. The goal of this summit is to impose a one world government that has power to impose penalties on all countries who sign on. They want to put in a global “cap and trade” scheme they say to “save the climate”. The truth is, they want to redistribute America’s wealth to the rest of the world and they want to be able to do it by force. Our president is planning on signing away our own sovereignty as a nation. Fortunately, he won’t have any domestic legislation to bring to the table. Here’s a great headline:

“Climategate e-mails sweep America, may scuttle Barack Obama's Cap and Trade laws”
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geraldwarner/100018034/climategate-%20%20e-mails-sweep-america-may-scuttle-barack-obamas-cap-and-trade-laws/

You have to go to the UK media to find any real coverage of this incredible bust of a story, but there you have it: the ONLY reason for Cap and Trade is that supposedly, by virtue of our progress and lifestyle, by virtue of our diet, by virtue of what we exhale, we are destroying the planet and we must be penalized to stop us from doing so. Well, fortunately, God did not make it so that His people, simply by using their God-given brains to improve their lives, would be destroying His creation. We finally have proof of that fact.

I have detailed the vast increase in costs to every American family this Cap and Trade legislation would have brought: it would be far worse if the UN or some other intergovernmental body had the power to legislate our energy use. Furthermore, any such legislation would be based on a lie and would exist for the SOLE purpose of increasing taxes on us, the American Citizens, and usurping our freedom. The crimes against humanity already having been done on behalf of this warped, sick mentality have cost us millions if not billions over the past twenty years in extra taxes and lost productivity and higher energy costs. CO2 does not cause global warming. Period. Those who have been making that claim while purporting to be “scientists” are liars and need to be fired at the least if not prosecuted for the material damages they have caused mankind all over the world. Just think of all the things that we have already done or nearly done, and need to remedy as a result of this hoax:

Science textbooks need to be rewritten all around the world.

The incandescent light bulb needs to be immediately unbanned (that goes into effect in 2012).

We need to open up our supplies of oil, natural gas, and coal and stop throwing good money after bad in the fruitless quest for “renewables” like wind and solar.

By virtue of government legislation, we required the forced destruction of otherwise perfectly operable automobiles in a ridiculous “Cash for Clunkers” scheme.

We have almost passed the second largest freedom-grab and tax hike in our history by virtue of Cap and Trade legislation.

We have almost signed away national sovereignty in the name of fixing a problem that does not exist and could not be fixed by our hand if it did.

We have caused serious psychological trauma to millions of school children by convincing them that cute and cuddly animals like the polar bears were going to go extinct because of US, not to mention all the phony fear ginned up over draughts, floods, hurricanes, blizzards, locusts, etc that would all result from Man Made Global Warming.

This is seriously a hoax of the grandest proportions with the most evil of agendas. We need to demand that our leaders in Congress and Obama pull their heads out of their behinds and apologize on behalf of this phony science. They could claim ignorance if they wanted; (I do not believe for a second that they are innocent) however, every day that they continue on with this Anthropogenic Global Warming nonsense proves that they do not care about truth. Obama and Pelosi and Reid, et al., have an agenda and they will stop at nothing to see it through.

Remember this on November 3, 2010. Good leaders, liars do not make.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Real Story of the First Thanksgiving

Friends, it’s this time of year that I feel the “reason for the season” is most often overlooked. Most people can easily explain the significance of Christmas or Easter. Maybe fewer, but still a majority of Americans understand what the 4th of July represents. Everyone knows why they like Halloween, even if they are perhaps a little curious as to why we have those particular traditions.

However, I’ll bet most of you do not know the real reason for the official holding of a Day of Thanksgiving once a year.

Oh, you probably know the general idea, the whitewashed, politically correct, historically inaccurate and revised story. Many in America, myself included, were taught this story of Thanksgiving:

In 1621, the Mayflower Colony landed in Virginia. They arrived too late to plant crops and thus, half the colony starved to death in a harsh winter. Fortunately, a kind and wonderful Indian named Squanto, who had been a slave in England and could speak English, was present to teach the pitiful colonists how to raise corn and other crops. As a result, the Pilgrims held a great feast in honor of their Native American savior, which is what we celebrate each year.

Unfortunately, this story is as much fairy tale as Rumplestiltskin.

While it is true that Squanto assisted the colonists that first spring, the first Thanksgiving Celebration was held to thank God for bringing the colonists to America.

The next part of the story is usually omitted from history class in school, but it is the most important:

When the Pilgrims set out on their journey to the New World, they established a sort of collectivism: All would work the fields and all would be entitled to one common share of the harvest. The land and buildings were all publicly owned as well. Predictably, this construct failed miserably. All of the work was being done by about twenty percent of the population with the other eighty percent choosing to live like parasites and take from the common store without putting in their own share of the labor. As a result, the harvests of 1621 and 1622 were pitiful.

The Governor of the Mayflower Colony, William Bradford, then attempted something radical: He gave each family a plot of land and told them that they make keep whatever they could produce. He abolished socialism and introduced capitalism. Thus began the foundation for the concept of American Exceptionalism – private property.

The harvest of 1623 was unlike anything seen before and soon the settlers were able to engage in robust trade and pay their debts to England. It was that year that the real reason for the season was named: the Pilgrims gave thanks to God for bringing them the concept of capitalism and teaching them the failure of socialism. Long before Karl Marx was born, early Americans had tried and totally rejected the failed premise of his utopian idea.

Its sad to me that not all Americans know this critically important story from our early history. The brainwashing of our people and the revisionists of history have tried to sweep away the great lessons of our forefathers. But now you know the truth. As you gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, share with them the history I have shared with you and remember why it is we give thanks. Recall that for which you are thankful. The last Thursday of November is not just a day for gather with family and stuffing our faces with delicious turkey, potatoes, and cranberry sauce: it’s a day to recall the great lessons of our forefathers and thank God for allowing us to be born in the United States of America.

Happy Thanksgiving.



http://mises.org/story/336

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1650bradford.html

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On Terrorist Detainees and the Writ of Habeas Corpus

I have just read of friend of mine’s law school thesis on winner’s justice in international law and the validity of post-war international justice tribunals. Scott’s post brought to mind several ideas I had from reading my friend’s thesis.

The idea that I keep coming back to in my friend’s law school thesis and Scott’s previous post deal with morality and the acts of nations as they deal with the handling of prisoners during and after war.

Three moral philosophers can help us define how to handle these Al-Qaeda operative or associate detainees from a moral perspective. For each of these philosophies, I will attempt to apply their views on morality to the question at hand.

What should the United States do with the Al-Qaeda detainees at the Guantanamo (Gitmo) Navy Base in Cuba?

At the start of this morality debate, is Niccolo Machiavelli.

His idea that nations can’t be held to simple morality leads to the conclusion, at least on the national level, that the ends justifies the means. In other words, the tribunals at the end of a war, or in this case, the trying of the terrorists in civilian US courts, is another way for the winner to inflict casualties on the enemy.

In an era of unconditional surrender (i.e. WWII), these tribunals just have the effect of carrying out a complete victory over the defeated enemy by removing the leaders of the failed war effort. Remove the leaders, remove the desire and conditions that created the state of war in the first place.

Let me state that I completely reject the Machiavellian view in this discussion. In this view, the attack on September 11, 2001 can be considered acceptable so long as Al-Qaeda achieved its goal.

Complete BS. The acts of Al-Qaeda on September 11 were such a violation of the moral code of humans as to warrant no further discussion on it. It also nullifies Machiavelli’s view of morality in this discussion.

One must also look at Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative in discussing this issue of international war tribunals and the Gitmo detainees.

According to Kant, if an act is immoral, then it is always immoral no matter what circumstances that led to the act. This view leads to the automatic conclusion that you cannot respond to murder with murder of its own. If the Japanese commit an immoral act on the United States, it does not give the United States permission to commit an immoral act on Japan.

With this view, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US, the fire-bombing of Dresden by the US and UK, and other acts you mention in the paper are categorically immoral and, therefore, can never be justified.

From this view, the idea of winner’s justice is, at best, hypocritical and, at worst, just as immoral as the acts that started the war.

Another view of morality as it pertains to war tribunals is Georg Hegel’s moral superman.

According Hegel, one may commit an immoral act so long as a greater moral good is accomplished. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King are two men that come to mind as examples of this. However, Hegel argued that the individual is not able to make this judgment. Society does. Gandhi and King broke laws and acted immorally in ways that their societies, and the world, later deemed just and moral.

The example of the Gitmo detainees is an example of liberal democracy overcoming conservative monarchy/dictatorships, which is also the case in the military intervention of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Serbia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. These liberal democracies might have acted immorally in these conflicts, but the greater good of bringing freedom to these peoples overshadowed the immoral acts.

Since liberal democracy has been the dominantly accepted moral government over the last 200 years, especially in the West, then immoral acts done by these nations can be overlooked since a greater good, as determined by history, has been accomplished.

Therefore, justice of freedom is moral justice.

How then do I apply this to the issue…

I do believe that freedom is the moral state that into ALL humans are born. While democracy is neither a moral nor an immoral instrument, it is the form of government that seems best equipped to allow the natural state of freedom to exist. While democracy has its shortcomings, it is clear that monarchies and dictatorships do not allow freedom of all peoples to exist.

Therefore, fighting forms of governments that inhibit freedom can be shown historically to be moral, even if these wars might cause the democracies to act immorally to accomplish this end.

Of course, this does not mean that the democracies can do whatever they want in order to bring freedom to the peoples of the world. Lieutenant Calley’s actions at My Lai can be considered an example of violating the moral code of war, as defined by these democracies. There are other examples, but I don’t want the discussion to focus on my judgments of whether or not a specific incident violates a larger moral code.

What I do want to focus on is how to proceed with the Gitmo detainees. As Scott pointed out, President Obama has ordered Gitmo closed and has begun the process of bringing these detainees to civilian courts in the United States.

One of the favorite quotes of the left in this debate comes from something Edward Murrow said at the end of WWII. The great broadcaster said, “…as long as America acts morally, America will always be great. When America ceases to act morally, America will cease to be great.”

As with most political debate, this quote and the argument begs the question of the key aspect of the debate. Is the holding of Al-Qaeda detainees without trial at Gitmo an immoral act?

According to a Kantian view…Yes. According to the Hegelian view…???

I do not believe that the interests of America’s national security allow the nation to violate the principles of freedom. National Security is vitally important, but not in a Hegelian Supermen sort of way.

Therefore, it comes down to what one believes about the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

Is the right to a writ of habeas corpus a fundamental right of a human naturally born into a free state? Or, is the writ of habeas corpus simply a right that is part of living in a free society?

Just to be clear, the writ of habeas corpus simply means the person accused of a crime has the right to be informed of the charges against them and the right to see the evidence against them.

In practice, the writ of habeas corpus means that the person accused of a crime has the right to a trial and the right to confront the evidence against them. Essentially, the Notice of Accusation Clause and Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment guarantee the right to a writ of habeas corpus.

Scott argues that since the detainees are not US citizens, then the writ of habeas corpus is not a right the detainees have. However, is the writ a fundamental right of all people and the goal of the democracies in these wars?

The writ of habeas corpus, in Blackstone’s Commentaries, is an essential part of creating a limited government that guarantees freedom for people.

Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson both considered the writ of habeas corpus to be the essential right that would guarantee the American government would not act in the tyrannical manner the Americans accused George III of acting, in which the Americans argued the King had violated his own Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 with the “Intolerable Acts of 1774-1775.”

Scott further argues that the Miranda Rights were not read to the detainees. True, but is that their fault or the fault of a government that was hypocritical to the principles on which it was founded?

At the same time, can the writ of habeas corpus be denied to certain individuals, not US citizens, in the name of creating a world safe for the spread of liberal democracy and ridding the world of monarchy/dictatorships?

The world needs to hear America’s view on the exact nature of how far the right to a writ of habeas corpus extends.

Doing so in a non-hypocritical way that remains true to the ideals of the philosophers of the Enlightenment, who first proposed these ways of government, and our Founding Fathers will put the debate to rest finally and allow America to proceed as the Hegelian Superman on this issue.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Terrorists tried in US Courts and other random thoughts

There are a couple of things going on at the moment that I wanted to throw out for discussion. First off, we have the Obama administration deciding to try 5 Gitmo detainees in US Civilian Criminal Court.

The headliner in this case is Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the admitted mastermind behind the 9/11 WTC attacks.

This is, in my opinion, one of the single worst national security decisions EVER MADE in US history. Plus, it is just plain stupid. Here are my reasons:

1. These terrorists are not US citizens and do not deserve any Constitutional right to a trial by jury.

2. Where the hell are they going to find an unbiased "jury of their peers" to try the case?

3. They already admitted their guilt and asked to be martyred for Islam. Grant their wish.

4. This is going to be a fantastic show trial that will put the United States on trial. Our CIA will be rendered utterly destroyed due to all the discovery and evidence of techniques, what we know, how we know it, etc.

5. There is a strong possibility of an acquittal for 5 terrorists who organized the bombing of the WTC and the murder of 3,000 US citizens, and a chance at an outright dismissal of the case altogether because:

6. These terrorists were never Mirandized.

7. The President of the US admitted we tortured them (waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation).

8. Therefore, their confession of guilt was under duress of torture and thus is null and void as evidence in a criminal court.

This decision is going to make America a bigger target for future terrorist attacks (my reason? Look at the time we tried the Blind Sheik and then see what happened on 9/11/2001)

It is my belief that this decision is being made to placate the radical extreme Bush-hating left who would prefer that Bush be the one on trial but will gladly settle for America instead. This is a radically stupid national security decision and it will most certainly result in America becoming less secure.


Why does Obama keep bowing to all these foreign leaders? (Saudi Arabia and Japan that I've seen photographed.

Why didn't Obama defend the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII as the right thing to have been done at the time given all the circumstances?


Sarah Palin's book is out today. She's setting records all over the place yet the media and beltway politicians on both sides continue to discredit her. She represents the disconnect between Congress and the people and the sooner Congress realizes that, the sooner they will save their reelection chances.


Obama is all of a sudden a deficit hawk. Next year, apparently he will go on a war against the deficit. HAHAHA!


What happens if the POTUS is determined to be ineligible to serve? Does the VP take over? Do we have to have a reelection?

Just a few thoughts for discussion. Please share yours.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The True Liberal Revolution Has Been Successful

First, if you haven’t yet read Scott’s outstanding post just below this one, please read it first. There are some references in this post that will only make since if you’ve read the previous post from Scott.

In his post, Scott does an outstanding job of laying out a True Conservative philosophy of individual responsibility. I have no doubt that my fellow contributor to this blog has the best for America in his conservative philosophy. We do, however, see the path to this even greater America differently.

Unfortunately, both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are more interested in attracting blocs of voters than to embrace a truly liberal or truly conservative path to this greatness.

Scott has been a vocal critic of the Republican Party when it has steered from True Conservatism. I have done, and will do, the same for the Democratic Party as it strays from True Liberalism as defined here.

If I am silent on a post from Scott that criticized the Democratic Party (see Cap and Trade), then you can conclude my silence is my agreement with the criticism.

Therefore, it is left to us to get our respective parties on the right path.

What Scott has done is brilliantly describe the battle I face every day in the classroom. I provide, through Character Education and a True Liberal philosophy, an opportunity for everyone to receive a high quality education so that they may share in the American Dream.

At the same time, I spend tremendous amounts of time, through the use of Character Education, teaching individual responsibility in order to take advantage of the opportunity provided for them as it relates to attaining the American Dream. True Conservatism.

Talk about conflicting political ideologies.

On closer look, however, this is not a conflict.

In his post, Scott is absolutely right that True Liberalism is only able to deal with the first two levels of needs motivation in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He is not wrong when he states that the top three levels can only be achieved individually (i.e. with a conservative philosophy).

But I think Scott misunderstands True Liberalism to a point here. True Liberalism does not oppose individual accomplishment. The United States has produced a long line of individual accomplishment in its short history. This is what the American Dream is about.

True Liberalism does not seek to discredit these outstanding individual accomplishments.

True Liberalism does not believe accomplishment can be forced on individuals.

True Liberalism does not seek to eliminate individual responsibility for success and/or failure.

True Liberalism only hopes to achieve an equal opportunity to the accomplishment by allowing all individuals to have their two most basic Maslow needs met.

So how do we hope to accomplish this equal opportunity? The children of our nation.

LBJ’s War on Poverty, as originally planned and implemented, was created to help poor children have success in school, which would provide for better opportunity for them as an adult.

Any True Liberal policy in this area has the end goal of helping poor kids have secure family lives, food, safe schools and quality teachers so that they can have the same opportunity as their rich suburban counterparts where the needs are being met by their social influences.

Again, we are speaking only of opportunity and nothing else, despite what conservative propaganda might speak about.

Scott refers to the psychologist Maslow and how the hierarchy of needs develops within the individual and Scott focuses on the top 3, while correctly identifying the bottom two as the highest level True Liberalism can accomplish.

So let’s take a look.

Maslow’s bottom two levels are crucial. According to Maslow, no one can move to higher level until the needs of the lower level is met. Therefore, one can only be concerned with self-acceptance (level 4) after group acceptance has been accomplished (level 3).

Therefore, if one is not able to meet their basic physical needs (i.e. food, clothing, shelter) or their basic psychological need (i.e. safety), one cannot achieve the higher levels.

It is these higher levels that separate humans from the other animals on the planet.

Where True Liberalism has its strongest merits, is the attempt to allow ALL humans the opportunity to achieve certain levels of humanity.

When it comes to our children, this is a critical point. It is a social obligation that we provide the opportunity for kids to move forward on Maslow’s chart.

In a psychological development sense, this debate rages.

Psychologist Jean Piaget argued that the child develops on an individual basis as it is exposed to the stimulus of the other (the group).

On the other side, Lev Vygotsky argued that the group (the other) interacts with the child, which promotes development.

This is classic Western versus Eastern philosophy as well.

As you read both sides, you see elements of truth in both. I tend to fall on the importance of the group to nurture the individual, especially in the way this relates to children

In my experience in the classroom, students where the group has done its responsibility for the child’s development (i.e. the parents, the teachers, peers) have tremendous amounts of academic success. In fact, I realize that, for these children, I have very little impact.

The students where the group has not acted responsibly in this manner have tremendous academic difficulties. It is with this group that I have the best chance to change a life. It is also the group where I experience the greatest amount of failure as a teacher.

For me, this makes it very difficult to blame the child. This is a failing of the social influences on the child.

Furthermore, attribution theory has allowed us to understand that every child needs a significant adult in their lives that provides their basic physical and psychological needs. Unfortunately, too many children do not have such an adult presence.

This is where LBJ’s intentions have had the greatest good. There is an argument to be made that the cost has been too high, but the outcomes have been equally positive. It hasn’t solved the problem of poverty, but we have made great strides in equalizing the opportunity to experience the American Dream.

The War on Poverty, along with policies such as Affirmative Action, the Federal Housing Authority, the Equal Rights Commission, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act and others have allowed more people access to the American Dream.

Does this mean that everyone has to take advantage of the opportunity to achieve the American Dream? No.

Does it mean that we have taken many excuses away from those who have failed to achieve the American Dream? Yes.

Since the 1960s, we have had tremendous success in equalizing access to the Dream.

For example…

The African-American middle class, which did not exist prior to the 1960s, is larger than ever before and growing larger with every subsequent generation. Currently, 19% of African-Americans have a Bachelor’s Degree, which is closing in on the overall number of 27% of all American having a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. Compare that to 34% of African-Americans in 1970 that had a HIGH SCHOOL diploma. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009; The Black Collegian, 2001).

Women now make up 56% of our college population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009). Something unheard of before the 1960s.

People with disabilities now have more access to help in overcoming the limitations placed on them by nature or nurture.

Women and minorities are making strides into corporate leadership positions each generation (Business Week, 2009). It won’t be long before women and minorities start showing up on lists of CEOs of major corporations. A discussion unheard of twenty years ago.

Our last two Secretaries of State have been women. Colin Powell was the first African-American Secretary of State. And Barack Obama, well you know his historic achievement. Imagine writing this paragraph fifty years ago.

Can True Liberalism alone claim these successes? No.

Can True Conservatism alone claim these successes? No.

Each of these individuals took advantage of their opportunity and then went on to have great individual success. To say otherwise, discredits the individual accomplishment.

However, True Liberalism has allowed greater access to the American Dream, which has allowed for much of the minority success, which was shut off to them prior to the True Liberal revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.

Has it been expensive? Yes.

Could we have funded it a better way? I don’t know, because if we would’ve shortchanged the effort, the results could’ve been different.

Can we claim success? Yes, but it is not complete.

If we had to do it over again, should we? Yes. Yes. Yes.

I know we will always have poverty in America. I know we will always have a system of haves and have nots.

This, however, should be a result of the individual failing to take advantage of the opportunity and not due to the fact the child was born into a bad social environment where the opportunity was never had for the taking.

We still have too many children born into hopeless situations in our inner-cities. Ninety-nine percent of these children will never be able to make the American Dream a reality.

Many of these children do not have even their basic physical needs of food, clothing and shelter met. Almost all of them are living in situations where safety – physical and psychological – is nothing but a dream.

Yet, conservatives expect these children to simply set aside these basic needs and still achieve self-actualization. Impossible.

This where True Liberalism offers hope to the disadvantaged and the disadvantaged tend to vote for the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, this is also where today’s Democratic Party too often fails to see the goal of True Liberalism and sees only voters to be rewarded.

Schools have been the place where we have attempted help children overcome some of these obstacles with school lunch programs, transportation, safe environments, etc. However, our inner-city schools struggle to accomplish even this.

Social welfare has been the place where we have attempted to provide money for parents and children in order to for them to be able to eat, have a roof over their heads and clothes. Children cannot be expected to succeed in school if Dad and Mom are starving or they have to live in their car.

Health care for parents and children are crucial for achieving the American Dream. Pre-natal care along with medical care for children are important aspects of achieving the Dream. Children with sick parents that could be healed with modern medicine, struggle to have success in school as their safety need is threatened.

Affirmative action for women and minorities forces employers to look beyond social stereotypes and allow access to the American dream for social economic advancement for minorities. Parents in the middle class raise kids to be part of the middle class or higher. A stronger minority middle class, where affirmative action is the strongest, equals a stronger minority middle class for the future.

Again, a debate on cost is valuable so long as the net good is still accomplished. It is also crucial that we accomplish the goal of access to the Dream in a way that does not violate the principles of our Founders. Although its great effectiveness in helping to create the African-American middle class, I struggle with the constitutionality of Federally-imposed affirmative action requirements. Can the end justify the means?

However, the benefit to society of these programs have been invaluable as the American Dream continues to be alive and access to it continues to be based on ability and not birth, which was a major goal of the Founding Fathers (slavery and the rights of women notwithstanding).

The Dream is not a right. The Dream is a choice.

Equal opportunity to access the Dream is a right. True Liberalism seeks this.


----------

Please feel free comment on this post or on Scott’s conservative philosophy post. The only way to seek common ground on the future of America is through effective dialogue. Neither Scott nor I claim to have the complete answers to the problems facing America. If you have any thoughts on this matter, please post them so that the blog can be a place for this dialogue as our great National Constitution enters its 221st year of existence.

Scott and I appreciate your readership of the blog.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Good Intentions Never Fed a Starving Child

Apologies to all you Clintonites out there for partially stealing his slick phrase, but it works so well.

This post has been in the works for a while now. The main thrust has been a question of mine since I was old enough to really start learning and following politics, around seventh grade. It’s more like a two-part question actually:

Why, when we have so much evidence that their policies do not work as they claim, do Democrats continue to get elected?

And why do so many people judge these policies and the politicians pushing them based on their “good intentions”?

It seems like common knowledge these days that Republicans are for Big Business and Democrats are for “The Little Guy”. But do these stereotypes truly hold water? And to go even further, is there any cross over? Is it possible that our preconceived notions about these monikers are wrong?

Let’s examine the Big Business claim about Republicans first. Is it a good assessment of conservative Republican (and let me just throw out the RINOs for this analysis) policies and beliefs to say that they are the party of Big Business? Well, here is the basic platform of Conservative Republicans as it relates to the economy:

1) Cut tax rates (for everyone who already pays taxes, so individuals, corporations, small businesses, consumers, on down the line)
2) Remove as much onerous government regulation as is possible and still maintain a good framework of rules for good business practice

The Conservative wants the Individual to retain as much autonomy as possible. He believes in the power of the market, of millions of interdependent decisions being made constantly, to produce the best and most efficient use of our resources and also promote the greatest expansion of wealth and quality of life. So while I believe it is true that Conservative ideals support big business, it is merely a byproduct of supporting the whole of the economy.

The Liberal will counter and claim that Capitalism may produce the biggest and best, but what about the poor and those who fall through the cracks? If one has no practical value to add to the market, they claim Republican policies leave that person hanging. Well, Adam Smith pointed this out as well, and Conservatives have conceded a very basic safety net in the form of unemployment benefits, social security insurance, etc. The Conservative believes that independent charities are far better at caring for the truly destitute; however we make some exceptions and permit a very limited role for government with respect to welfare.

Now lets look at the Liberal stereotype, that of being for the little guy. It is this attribution that has me most questioning the reasoning power of the American people; especially the millions of poor people who keep voting Democrat election after election without seeing their lot in life improve. Let us examine the first Great American Socialist – Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In many respects, this man’s presidency greatly resembles that of our current president. He swept into office amidst a quickly worsening economic crisis and promptly set about enacting the very same sorts of “stimulus” programs to try and save the economy as our current administration. The idea of “make-work” programs was begun under FDR. People were literally paid to dig ditches and then fill them back up. Vast amounts of money were spent on shoring up state governments, as now. However, two UCLA economists determined that because FDR did what he did, the Great Depression endured 7-8 years longer than it would have if left alone. Remember, the unemployment rate during FDR’s years preceding 1941 and the boom of WWII never dropped below 10%. And yet for some reason, despite the obvious failure of his liberal policies to revive the economy and improve the plight of not only the little guy but everyone, he is remembered as this great president.

Fast forward to LBJ, the Great Society, and what is now the longest running war in American history, The War on Poverty. In a comment on SJ’s previous post, I declared the War on Poverty a failure. I believe that statement is undeniably true. Just look what the Democrats keep telling us about how terrible it is for women and minorities. We need this National Healthcare to provide for the common welfare and ensure that all can have access to healthcare when needed because of the huge impoverished population out there. We have spent billions and billions of dollars redistributing wealth from the producers to the nonproducers and still the problem persists. Yet we are constantly told that we must do more, we must give up a little more of our money for taxes, just this next program will be the salvation.

When will the poor in America wake up and realize that they are being perpetually kept in a state of poverty? Whether by ineptitude or by design, liberal policies supposedly enacted to get people out of poverty has done the exact opposite – and yet the bulk of the group being kept in poverty keeps sending their slave masters back to Washington.

The following is a collection of links to video clips showing many of these poor souls in Detroit, Michigan – one of the bluest states in the Union – as they clamber for “Obama Money” and even praise him for giving him money from “his stash”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19v5Kjmc8FI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfGLB8LO1aM

To me, these two sound/video clips are heartbreaking. The poor women in the first clip are pressed on the question of where is Obama getting the money he plans to pass out and neither of them can answer the very easy true answer, “The taxpayers of America”. They have literally been brainwashed by liberal propaganda into believing that Obama is going to care for all their needs and give them money. They even admit the whole scheme “that’s why we voted for him!” The sad truth in all of this is that there are millions of Americans who barely eek out a life, never fulfilling their dreams, never pursuing levels of success of which they are most certainly capable.

I had an epiphany the other night. Here is the best way I’ve come up to explain the difference between liberalism and conservatism. Forgive me, but I’ll need to use some psychology to explain.

In 1943, Abraham Maslow introduced a paper in which he discussed the hierarchy of needs that motivate human behavior.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchy_of_needs

He used a pyramid to demonstrate his point. At the bottom of the pyramid are purely physiological needs (oxygen, food, water, sex, etc). The next level is safety needs (base security of employment, body, family, health, property). Then he lists love/belonging and self-esteem as the third and fourth level. The ultimate top of the pyramid is Self Actualization.

I assert that Socialism/Leftism/Statism not only specifically targets the first and second levels of this needs hierarchy, it can only hope to provide for the first two levels! Think about it for a minute: liberals ultimately propose that we place ever increasing taxes on the rich and successful in order to provide for a meager subsistence for “the masses”. This has been true for all of Statism’s failed attempts all throughout the history of Man. Just look at the examples of audio I showed before; these people are giving up ALL dignity and self-respect for the mere chance of getting some of the scraps from Obama’s table. Unfortunately, as the great Margaret Thatcher so eloquently pointed out, “The problem with socialism is that eventually, you run out of other people’s money”. That truth cannot be overstated nor avoided.

Meanwhile, at its core, conservatism represents the rugged individualistic spirit of the American Founding. The Conservative seeks to inspire everyone, despite their current station in life, to strive to succeed as wildly as possible. The Conservative knows the weakness of government and as such, he wants to remove as many restrictions on individual freedom as possible. This provides for the opportunity for each of us to seek the fifth and highest level of Maslow’s needs hierarchy: Self Actualization.

The quirky thing about Self Actualization is that it cannot be provided to you. No matter how many stimulus programs get passed or how many billions or trillions of dollars get redistributed, the State cannot satisfy this need. Conservatives know that the country will be most successful and the greatest number of people will experience the highest quality of life if more and more people are Self Actualizing – that is, doing what they truly were born to do. Keeping “the masses” doped up on government handouts prevents this success from occurring.

I do not believe all liberals see the poor and minorities as simply blocks of voters to be exploited. For instance, I fully believe that my liberal counterpart on this blog has the best for America in his heart and that we just disagree on how to achieve that. The sinister problem is that the elected Democrats in office do see the thousands of poor blacks turning out in Detroit, looking for Obama money, as a good thing. Obama sees those people as permanent voters. He and his liberal elites are promoting a huge con game on these innocents. And the reason they are able to do so is that they have infiltrated the most important tool for preventing such brainwashing: The Education System.

As SJ has pointed out in previous postings and I have agreed, our current educational system is severely lacking. Both of us agree that the solution is not in pouring more money down a black hole, rather its in fundamentally changing the system so as to promote true success – both by students and, possibly more importantly, by teachers. Also, the corruption must go. We need some radical changes to be made. Many conservatives argue vouchers are best. I like this idea but realize it may be impractical for all Americans. We need a way to work within the bounds of the public system to shake up the choke hold that liberal elites have on what is being taught to our children. No more social promotions. No more “WAM”. No more “Late work is not allowed” BS. Teach students real-world accountability. Teach them the truth of the American founding. Teach the principles of the free market. Stop promoting a one-sided liberal agenda (I know its not utterly universal, but the vast majority of teachers are liberal and unfortunately, most have a problem keeping their political views to themselves).

Most importantly, we need our schools to be the primary place where Self Actualization is preached. For this, we need teachers who give a damn. I really respect my counterpart in this regard because I personally know the extent to which he works every day to see to it that at least the students he touches learn this important message. Unfortunately, too many students get pushed through the system just to keep up the allotment of school days.

In summary, I hope this message has made you think about your fundamental precepts about politics. While neither side has a monopoly on the answers, it is my belief that the American people are best at providing them, not government bureaucrats. Liberals may have good intentions, but we ought to examine their results every now and again and ask ourselves, “Are we any better off with all these liberal policies or are we just digging ourselves a hole from which it is getting harder to escape each and every day?”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Conservatives and Their Attempts to Destroy Freedom in America

One thing about conservative rhetoric that absolutely drives me crazy is the belief that conservatives have a monopoly on protecting freedom, while liberals want to destroy it.

On his radio show on Monday, Rush Limbaugh specifically linked liberalism and the destruction of freedom in America six times. Three of these were direct wording and the other three were implied links.

On this blog, Scott L continues to paint conservatives with this beautiful liberty/freedom loving brush while implicating that I, liberals, wish to destroy freedom in America. For some reason, my desire to regulate where smokers can continue to poison nonsmokers is an attack on the principles of America’s founding.

For lack of a better way to say it – THIS IS OUT AND OUT NUTS!!! (Thanks James Carville).

In fact, if there is a party out there that we need to worry about destroying freedom in America, it is the conservative wing of the Republican Party. While Scott claims the Republican Party can only survive with ideologically pure believers, this party’s attack on freedoms is truly scary.

Here is a list of freedoms liberals wish to protect while Republicans seek to destroy.

Shield Laws

Since the election of Ronald Reagan, conservatives have continued to destroy the freedom of the press by making it more difficult for journalists to protect their anonymous sources.

If Woodward and Bernstein had been working for the Washington Post in 2002, they would’ve been in jail for protecting their anonymous source that helped them break the Watergate story.

Republicans, with help from the handpicked judges they tried these cases before, changed the essence of New York Times v Nixon. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that in order for the government to censor publication prior to publication, it had to prove malicious intent to undermine the intentions of the government.

Since Reagan, the Republicans have worked hard to change this standard. By the mid-2000s, the burden of proof was no longer on the government in order to censor the free press. It was now on the journalist to prove the story to be valid – often, the only way to do so was to name the anonymous source.

The right to a free press – one of the most fundamental rights/freedoms we have in America – is under attack by conservatives who claim bias. I am sorry; bias is not justification for censorship.

Shield Laws – a freedom protected by liberals and attacked by conservatives.

Reproductive Rights

You want to get a conservative’s blood pressure to rise – mention Griswold v Connecticut.

In Griswold, the Supreme Court ruled that the State of Connecticut had no authority to ban married women from buying contraception (the specifically forbade married woman purchasing condoms and doctors prescribing the birth-control pill as well as forbade doctors from discussing these issues with married women).

Activist justices is the argument from conservatives. The right to privacy does not exist in the Constitution so, therefore, the Supreme Court cannot strike down this law of Connecticut.

Let’s follow the logic here. Connecticut passes a law that interferes with a married couple’s private discussions with their doctors concerning child birth and birth control.

I can think of no more private discussion between a husband and a wife. I

I can think of no other place that the government should have no power to regulate/destroy freedom.

By arguing against Griswold, conservatives are arguing that there is no freedom/right that a married couple can have that is subject to government regulation.

The bedroom should be the most private and free place in America. Conservatives think otherwise based on their objections to Griswold.

Reproductive Rights – a freedom protected by liberals and attacked by conservatives.

Marriage for ALL Americans

Let’s get this straight – conservatives do not oppose marriage. They oppose the freedom of gay couples to marry.

If a freedom exists in America, it should be applicable to ALL Americans. If some Americans have the right to marry, then ALL Americans should have the right to marry.

To restrict a freedom from certain groups isn’t a protection of freedom. It is the destruction of freedom. It isn’t illegal to be gay (at least conservatives haven’t won that one yet). Yet, it is illegal in all conservative states for gay people to marry. It is conservatives that are blocking this basic freedom.

Marriage for ALL – a freedom protected by liberals and attacked by conservatives.

Drugs

This is probably the most controversial one (or maybe I’m being na├»ve about the others as Scott as pointed out about my views of the world on other posts).

I think here is it would be good to define the word freedom. Friedrich August von Hayek defines freedom as “the absence of interference with the sovereignty of an individual by the use of coercion or aggression.”

He further maintains that “the opposite of a free society is a totalitarian state, which highly restricts political freedom in order to regulate almost every aspect of behavior. In this sense ‘freedom’ refers solely to the relation of humans to other humans, and the only infringement on it is coercion by humans.”

Hayek lays out this principle using the ideas of the great political philosophers in Freedom and Coercion, edited by David Miller. It isn't a bad read. Some good philosophers writing about freedom and the lack thereof. It is a meaty read, however.

I think this is a good starting point for the discussion here. I, along with many liberals, favor the legalization and/or decriminalizing drugs that are currently illegal (i.e. marijuana, cocaine, LSD, heroin, etc).

Again, what someone does in the privacy of their own homes in no one’s business, especially not the government’s (I would like to point out here that I am not opposed to gun ownership in the home…Use in public places is another story).

This is true freedom. But what about problems associated with drugs?

Our problems with drugs are associated with the legality of them. When Amsterdam approved the use of many drugs in certain areas of the city, drug use dropped (tourists are another issue).

When Britain decriminalized heroin, LSD, cocaine, marijuana, the use of these drugs dropped significantly.

On top of that, both regions report that those who have CHOSEN to use these drugs have become more responsible in the usage (i.e. driving, etc).

I have heard many conservatives argue that we need to keep these drugs illegal because we need to protect people from themselves.

…and conservatives call liberals the ones who want to create a nanny state.

Let’s not even get into the fact that we already have many harmful drugs that are legal in America – nicotine, alcohol, and prescription drugs easily obtained through a friendly doctor.

Allow some drugs, but criminalize others – a conservative nanny state.

Drugs – a freedom protected by liberals and attacked by conservatives.

--

I could mention a few others, but I think my point has been made here. Unlike what Rush Limbaugh says, liberals are not a group that wants to destroy freedom in America.

Sure we might see property rights (especially in the area of money) in a different light that conservatives, but that doesn’t make us the group that is about destroying freedom in America.

We might see health care as a fundamental right that should be readily available to all American, but that doesn’t make us the group that is about destroying freedom in America.

We might see pollution as something we need to face directly in the nation, but that doesn’t make us the group that is about destroying freedom in America.

When it comes to freedom, I am stuck in the ideas related to morality as the great Western thinkers have been putting forth since the Athenians began asking for answers to the big questions.

What I do to myself is neither moral nor immoral. Morality requires the existence of others in the decision. True freedom is having the choice to do whatever I want to and for myself. True morality is acting in a way that never brings harm to the other. Existence is somewhere in between.

The freedom we talk about in America is our attempt as a society to create a system of government that perfectly balance the freedom of the self and the obligation to others.

Conservatives have their ideas on how to do this perfectly. Liberals have theirs.

NEITHER HAS THE END GOAL OF DESTROYING FREEDOM IN AMERICA.

Conservatives need to learn this lesson and stop with the stupid and wrong attacks on liberals concerning freedom in America.

After all, when a conservatives points their finger at a liberal, remember there are three more pointing back at them.

Monday, November 2, 2009

CONSERVATIVES! ASSEMBLE!!

Tomorrow is Election Day 2009 and it is promising to be very important. While there is not a whole lot going on here in St. Louis, three races on the east coast are shaping up to have a real impact on the future of the Republican Party. Those races are for Congress in the NY 23rd district, Governor of New Jersey, and Governor of Virginia.

In NY 23, the Congressional seat is being decided between Democrat Bill Owens and Conservative Party Candidate, Doug Hoffman. Until this weekend, a third contender was in the race, “Republican” Dede Scozzafava. I put her party in quotes because she truly was a RINO – Republican In Name Only. She dropped out over the weekend amidst souring polling data and endorsed…Democrat Bill Owens. Why would the Republican drop out and endorse the Democrat in lieu of her seemingly partner in arms, conservative Doug Hoffman? Because she belongs in the Democrat party. Personally, I would have preferred for her to remain in the race and for Hoffman to still have won; I think that would have been an even stronger message, but I’m happy she’s out as well because it all but sews up the race for Hoffman.

Scozzafava’s nomination for the Republican ticket represents the biggest problem the Republicans have in modern politics. She is a very liberal Republican at best, she has ties to ACORN, she’s pro-Choice, and she would have essentially been another Democrat for Pelosi to strong-arm. The Republicans need to avoid candidates like Scozzafava like the plague if they hope to win back a large percent of seats in 2010 and if they ever want to stand a chance at winning back the Whitehouse in 2012.

Now, I know the argument. I was tuning into to Allman in the morning on 97.1 FM talk today and his guest was Curtis Sliwa, NY talkshow host whose show is on 12-3am. Sliwa’s argument was that Republicans can’t go around telling people that if you don’t pass this XYZ litmus test then we don’t want you in the party. He warned against this kind of politics. His message has broad appeal amongst the countryclub “blue blood” conservatives and moderate republicans…basically, they want a “Big Tent”.

We, on the conservative side are constantly being told by Democrats and the beltway Republicans that the “Era of Reagan” is over. We have to come up with policies to attract Hispanics and Blacks and Women, etc etc. The argument ends up being that for Republicans to win, we have to play the same identity politics that Democrats have been playing for 50 years, and we can’t have our own completely different ideas, we just have to begin with the Democrat premise and then promise not to be quite as bad as Democrats.

Look folks, when voters are given the option between Liberal and Liberal – light…they’re going to go for the real deal every time. Case in point: John Sydney McCain. McCain was the BlueBlood Republican dream…Moderate, war hero…able to “reach across the aisle”, big proponent of “bi partisanship”. He lost 53%-46%.

On the other hand, let’s examine the last great Conservative president, Ronald Wilson Reagan. Reagan may not have had a “Big Tent”, but it sure was crammed full. Ronald Reagan mapped out the blueprint for huge Republican electoral victory, yet we are constantly being told to forget Reagan. However, just last week, as Pelosi nuked us with her 20 pound, 1,990 page “healthcare” debacle, she invoked the “greats” of the Democrat party…FDR and LBJ. Liberals don’t forget their successes, why should Republicans?

Ronald Reagan won two electoral landslides, winning all but 1 state in his second term. How did he do it? He inspired people. He told us that we were the last best hope of man on Earth and he believed it. He cut taxes and encouraged freedom and enterprise. He stood stalwart against the advance of communism and helped bring about the demise of Soviet socialism. He made Americans proud to be Americans. He represented the spirit of the American Founding. He laid bare the Statist’s intentions and he pointed out the concession we make in the face of oppressive government…that we would admit that a small intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

People will debate the full merits of the Reagan presidency; however I wish to examine his electoral results and tie that back to the Republican party of today. Why, when there is such evidence that America is ready for real, staunch Conservative leadership, would the Republicans continue to flip the bird to their constituents and appoint ultra liberal RINOs as candidates?

Gallop unveiled their most recent opinion research survey last week: 40% of the country self identify as Conservative, 36% as moderate, and only 20% as liberal.

Tea parties are sprouting up everywhere; the level of activism from normally quiet people is at a fever pitch. Yet somehow, the Republican establishment has managed to completely overlook all this and they keep up with this idea that Reagan conservatism can’t win at the ballot box. I am, quite frankly, dumbfounded. It seems to me that with the Democrats out there racing each other to the far left, that Republicans would naturally look at those 40% of Americans who are really outraged and ready and waiting for Conservative Leadership and see a ballot box - daisy cutter. Instead, at least to this point, it appears all they have is disdain for those of us who favor individual responsibility, lower taxes, strong defense, smaller government, and more freedom.

Hopefully the elections on Tuesday will deliver a sharp blow to the face of the Republican establishment. If Hoffman, Christie (for Gov – NJ), and Bob McDonnell (for Gov – VA) manage to win, it will mean some serious tides are turning against the Democrats and Obama. All the Republicans will have to do in 2010 is run real conservatives and I predict an electoral bloodbath for Democrats. We shall see.