During the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama embraced the slogan, “Forward
.” But this is what the progressive movement has been saying for over a century. Calvin Coolidge addressed the progressive movement in his famous Fourth-of-July speech:
About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter.
- If all men are created equal, that is final.
- If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final.
- If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final.
No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.
The full text of Coolidge’s speech can be found here.
Updated July 6, 2012 to remove references to my previous post.
When asked by AP reporter Ramona Darlington to describe the profile of an American domestic terrorist, President Obama replied:
Typically domestic terrorists in the U.S. are people who cling to obsolete beliefs from the time of the American Revolution.
He made this statement at a business forum in Tanzania in which a businessman wondered whether civil unrest in the United States might affect trade between our two countries. Obama had more to say about our domestic terrorists, all of which was fascinating. In relation to this discussion of domestic terrorism, Obama also asserted:
The conservative era of the U.S. has ended.
I recommend that you read the entire report.
Update — July 6, 2013
According to an article at the examiner.com, this entire story is bogus. The AP claims that they do not employ a reporter by the name of Ramona Darlington. The account presented above is debunked here: Article claims Obama called Tea Partiers domestic terrorists while in Africa
Originally published by me elsewhere on 11/07/2010
In The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek compares the outlook and actions of individualists (people who value freedom from coercion, private property, free markets, and equality of opportunity) with those of collectivists (people who value redistribution of wealth, equality of result, social engineering, and government control or ownership of parts of the economy). As an Austrian who watched Germany’s socialist movement morph into fascism in the years leading up to WWII, he was distressed that many of the processes that brought about this transformation were being replicated in Britain. He wrote this book as a warning to the British people, and later authorized its distribution in America as Reader’s Digest book. Some of the issues that the book addresses are listed below. I use the words “collectivist” and “leftist” interchangeably.
- Leftist incrementalism
- Collectivists want to “fundamentally transform” society, but in Western societies they have adopted a piecemeal process to effect this change. Having watched German society fundamentally transform itself, Hayek wanted the West, particularly Britain and America, to be aware of this incrementalist approach, so we’d recognize that it’s happening within our borders and move to oppose it. Or as Hayek said:
Just because in the years ahead of us political ideology is not likely to aim at a clearly defined goal but toward piecemeal change, a full understanding of the process through which certain kinds of measures can destroy the bases of an economy based on the market and gradually smother the creative powers of a free civilization seems now of the greatest importance.
Originally published elsewhere on 01/17/2011
I happened across an article today entitled Predisposition for Religion Can Spread Quickly by LiveScience writer, Wynne Parry. Parry quotes economist, Robert Rowthorn, as saying:
All people who work in this area know there is a genetic basis to being religious, in the sense there is a genetic basis to all human behavior…
I found myself wondering why Prof. Rowthorn isn’t studying the genetic underpinnings of economic behavior since this is his area of expertise.
Rowthorn’s research article is available online as a pdf: Religion, fertility and genes: a dual inheritance model. Professor Rowthorn sets the stage for his paper by asserting:
It is widely agreed that religion has biological foundations—that belief in the supernatural, obedience to authority or susceptibility to ceremony and ritual depend on genetically based features of the human brain.
The empirical basis for his assertion is research which supposedly has demonstrated a genetic basis for the traditional moral triad of authoritarianism, conservatism and religiousness.
You may not be aware of this, but researchers in the social sciences have been trying to paint conservatives as authoritarians since the early 1950’s. According to Jonah Goldberg in Liberal Fascism, a handful of Marxist intellectuals sought to discredit their opponents by attributing their political positions to a psychological pathology. In 1950, Theodor Adorno fired the opening salvo by stating in his book, The Authoritarian Personality that conservatives scored higher on the F-scale (“F” for Fascism) than others. This kind of analysis immediately appealed to other left-leaning individuals because instead of addressing their political opponents arguments, they could simply dismiss conservative positions as being an expression of a psychological defect. And by the way Robert Rowthorn is himself a Marxist economist according to Wikipedia.
Originally posted elsewhere on 10/15/2010; the post has been somewhat modified here.
Shannon Love published an excellent article entitled, The Left’s Power of Self-Delusion. In it she argues that the left suffers from a profound need to always see itself as being on the correct side of history. In particular the left whitewashes its own history so that its intellectual heroes appear to be always good, always altruistic, and always working toward a more perfect justice. Love explains that this distorted perspective reduces the left’s own writing on its intellectual roots to little more than hagiography.
Originally posted by me elsewhere on 10/25/2011
Great video of a former citizen of USSR confronting protesters at Occupy Wall Street. My favorite part was when he contrasted capitalism and socialism by pointing out the difference in propsperity between South and North Korea.
And here’s a look at an iconic, satellite photo of North and South Korea after dark. Communist North Korea is the dark one that’s been outlined. Communism has caused such extensive economic collapse that North Koreans can’t afford electricity.
Originally posted by me elsewhere on 10/09/2011
If you have watched any footage of the protesters who are part of the Occupy-Wall-Street movement, you may have noticed they have adopted the creepy custom of repeating whatever the person addressing them says. At first I thought that they were doing this so an unamplified voice could be heard over a large distance. However I have since noted that they are continuing to engage in this practice even if the speaker is electronically amplifying his voice with a bullhorn. So it has occurred to me that this repeat-everything custom has a certain liturgical quality and helps with the development of the hive mind that is growing there.
What’s a hive mind? The hive mind was featured in several of the Star Trek features. It is the mind of the collective that is known as the Borg. All individuals are submerged into a singular consciousness. So that’s what I was thinking when I came across this YouTube video. In it the civil rights leader John Lewis has appeared among the protesters in Atlanta with the aim of addressing their group. In an almost-too-painful-to-watch process, Lewis is sent packing because the hive mind asserts that no person alive is more important than any other person alive and John Lewis’ years of service and dedication to civil rights in no way elevates him over any of the people on the street.
In addition through a show of hands it actually appears as though the majority of people there want to hear John Lewis speak. But despite the chants of This is what democracy looks like!, the hive mind doesn’t buy into majority rule. The man with the bullhorn in the video is emphatic that the group’s ground rule is that they only pursue a course of action if there is consensus. Since there were dissenters, they were going to go about doing whatever was on their agenda before Lewis appeared and leave him cooling his jets. At this point Lewis left.
Okay, now time for the irony alert! In March of 2010 John Lewis complained that tea party protesters had shouted the N-word at him as he passed through their midst in Washington – a claim that BigGovernment has taken issue with. In addition the tea party movement has been much maligned because those showing up at protests were said to be “overwhelmingly white.” But as John Lewis looked out at the hive mind, he must have noticed that all those folks who couldn’t reach consensus on granting him permission to speak were… well, they were overwhelmingly white.
By the way, as Lewis was leaving the site, one of the protesters was trying to offer an apology to him on behalf of the hive mind, but this riled up the hive mind who shouted the apologizer down with repeated chants of “I object!”.