"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants" - Albert Camus

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An Abbreviated History of America and Its Decline

Ever since the classical Greek era, starting with Plato, a new political philosophy based on reason and the sanctity of the individual started to develop.  The theory of natural law sought to establish rules of moral behavior that were universal in nature.  This meant the recognition of the concept of unalienable, or natural, rights all humans have by birth.  Throughout centuries, this philosophy evolved in to a movement that would culminate in the Age of Enlightenment and the birth of classical liberalism. 

America was founded on the timeless classical liberal tenets of liberty and equality.  Our founding fathers, who were influenced by likes of Locke, Montesquieu, and Hobbes among others, knew instinctively that replacing one monarchy with another potentially despotic system of governance would have failed to set Americans truly free; hence our glorious constitutional republic anchored on a set of founding principles consistent with classical liberalism was established.  Yet, our founders also recognized that the road we were to travel on had its share of natural, man-made pitfalls.  As Madison in Federalist 51 said:

“It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

Human nature, itself, would be the undoing of liberty and equality.  And Madison was right.  The explosive combination of man’s greed and desire for security would eventually start undoing the constitutional republic by weakening its original purpose. 

The transition away from our constitutional republic hastened in earnest starting with the Progressive Era under Theodore Roosevelt.  The next 100 years would witness a slew of laws and court decisions that left our original intent in shreds.  But, if we are to accept that along with security needs people also have a yearning to be free, what were the underlying dynamics behind this fundamental transition?

There are many dynamics involved but perhaps the most relevant is mis-education, or the lack of proper perspective students get in their primary and secondary education.  As mentioned above, in order to truly comprehend our raison d'être, an individual must understand the philosophy, logic as its natural extension, and history behind it – something the education establishment completely ignores.  Reasons behind this ignorance – or as I call it, academic malpractice – are not all evolutionary in nature.  Forces like cultural Marxism, advanced by progressive collectivist teacher unions, have played a major role in killing off the critical thinking capability of the recent generations.  As insidious as it sounds, the reality is that individualism is in an existential struggle with collectivism, and the individualists are losing by most standards of measure, whether we accept that or not.

The existential struggle we are engaged in can only have one victor.  Collectivism does not, and cannot, tolerate non-participation because it is the fruits of the productive class – usually the individualists – that must feed the beast.  The question, therefore, is what we can do about it – if anything!

In order for us constitutionalists to regain our republic, the legislative damage done to our constitutional republic must eventually be reversed, which in turn requires we first ensure that a critical mass of our citizens learn to appreciate America as envisioned by our founding fathers.  For that, we must simply undo the damage done by the educational establishment.  Until we can take over PTAs and school boards – potentially a goal with a long time horizon – we must strive to educate Americans on what it really means to be an American.  I still believe that the average American yearns for freedom, but for him to realize that, he must have a thorough understanding of the philosophical moorings of our nation and learn to think critically.  The challenges that await us are immense but hopefully not insurmountable.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Freedom: The Real Significance of Civics Education

Civics, to most people, is one of those subjects they barely remember from their secondary education.   Perhaps because I am an immigrant, I am appalled when the average American tells me what good is it to remember what they apparently regard as being irrelevant to their lives now.  Unfortunately, these are largely the same 'citizens' who can easily recite what transpired in the latest episode of their favorite T.V. show, but scratch their heads in wonderment why America is no longer the country that was envisioned by our founding fathers, or for that matter, even the country they themselves knew just a few precious decades ago.  Indeed the trajectory of our nation is troubling, and unless this course is righted in a hurry, it is one that is likely to place this greatest of all nations in the dustbin of history alongside that other once great civilization the world knew as the Great Roman Empire for uncannily similar reasons.

So, what is civics and why does it matter?  Perhaps a quote might best summarize the critical purpose of civics education:

Si nescis unde venias, nescis quo adeas” (English translation from Latin: If you don’t know where you come from, you don’t know where you are going).

Civics is the study of citizenship in all its aspects: rights as well as responsibilities, both towards each other as in civil society, and to the governing body within the confines of our Constitution.  Its thorough comprehension, however, requires a much deeper look at related subject matters that give it the proper context; these being history as well as philosophy, and its inseparable accompaniments logic and ethics – unfortunately all subject matters that are barely paid lip service in academia, if taught at all.  It is all about knowing where we came from and understanding our philosophical moorings.

The intellectually feeble among us might wonder why all the extra work when they can simply read what these rights and responsibilities are.  In order for anyone to gain a thorough understanding of any concept or issue, they must first make sense of what they are dealing with.  That process requires taking a series of logical steps, each one clarifying the next.  Just as learning algebra before learning calculus or trigonometry is essential for forming a sound foundation in math, one must know where we come from and why we are who we are in order to be truly responsible citizens.  This knowledge includes the chain of historical events that led to our founding starting with advent of private property rights which gave birth to reason based political philosophy of Socratic era, which in turn spawned natural rights theory, classical republicanism as touted by Cicero et al, Age of Enlightenment, and eventually the birth of classical liberalism. 

America is the only nation in history that was founded on a creed, as the great British intellectual G.K. Chesterton once said.  Of course, he was referring to the following immortal passage from our Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Yet, let alone the knowledge of the chain of events mentioned earlier, poll after poll shows that unsettlingly large majorities of Americans do not even know what is meant by unalienable rights – our very essence and raison d’etre.

History is not kind to those who forget what made them great.  We must strive to understand and teach others the essence of America because that comprehension is the only way Americans will realize the precious nature of our liberties, recognize tyranny in the form of progressivism, and reignite the passions of the majority to recapture the spirit of American exceptionalism.  Our freedoms rest on our success in this endeavor because the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and that requires knowing where we came from so that we can appreciate where we are going.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Progressivism: The Trojan Horse of Ideologies


Many of us are too quick to label ourselves as a conservative, liberal, progressive or whatever without thinking what those labels really mean and where they come from. There is no keeper of labels, thus historians, philosophers, and every other academician can make up their own terminologies which may or may not take hold, or be accurate for that matter. This is the abbreviated but sordid story of one of those labels – perhaps the most misunderstood and misused one: Progressivism. However, we must first understand the meaning and evolution of the concept of liberty in order to truly appreciate the existential threat progressivism poses to it.

A brief history of the evolution of liberty:

Liberty is the state of individual freedom to self-determine. It is freedom from arbitrary and sometimes despotic control by other entities. Individual liberties that we enjoy in free societies are the result of a chain of events spanning two and a half millennium.

Ancient Greek farmer soldiers known as Hoplites were the first known private property owners in the western world. The prosperity that property ownership afforded the Hoplites also allowed them the luxury of reflecting on and philosophizing about life in general. They were the fore-runners of the great ancient Greek philosophers of the Socratic era who would pioneer the reason based political philosophy that would evolve in to classical liberalism among other variants of individualism.

Natural byproduct of reasoning about nature of things is virtue. A virtue is a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Observations of the nature of things and the resulting logical conclusions yielded certain universal moral absolutes, like the Golden Rule. Natural law and the unalienable rights concepts were the byproducts of virtue. So was republicanism as it was necessitated as a form of governance that elevated the individual to a position of primacy over the state and the collective. This evolution would eventually culminate in the Enlightenment, which allowed the western civilization to finally leave the dark ages behind and advance like never before.

A movement is born:

Virtue dictates that people take responsibility for themselves, as the alternative would be to impose on the unalienable rights of those taking responsibility in a civilized society where human feelings like empathy and compassion make it impossible to turn a blind eye to misery. Adhering to such moral imperatives has always had its opponents since socialism was introduced around mid-19 century under the guise of fairness to the proletariat or the working class. Thus, a hundred and thirty years ago, a parallel movement under the guise of transforming the society in to a utopian vision held by a group of elite socialist intellectuals, drug abusers, and sexual deviants started in the United Kingdom. They would be known as the Fabian Society and later become the pre-eminent academic society in the U.K., whose influence far exceeded the bounds of the empire.

The driving force behind the Fabian Society was the desire to establish global socialism and use of British imperialism as a progressive, modernizing force. Thus the modern, debouched version of the word 'progressive' entered the lexicon. This progressivism, however, was nothing like the original meaning of the word. The desired end result was socialism - a collectivist ideology - rather than individualism as characterized by the reason based Socratic approach to advancement of mankind through individual freedom of thought and action.

Fabian elitists had no stomach for socialism through revolutionary change, therefore adopted their name after the Roman general Fabius Maximus - Fabius translating to 'the delayer'. Theirs would be a gradualist movement that subscribed to incrementalism as agent of change.

Gradualism and deception:

Gradualism is policy of change by gradual, often slow stages. In contrast to impatient and hot headed revolutionary Marxists of the 20th century, Fabians understood just enough about human nature to realize that socialism via revolution would only alienate society and never last, but over time, people would voluntarily buy in to a socialist utopia given the right stimuli. The funny thing about human nature, especially in the West that had been enlightened in the virtues of liberty and equality, is that it yearns for freedom as much as it craves security. It was obvious, therefore that the appeal to the security needs of the masses was the key to everlasting utopia. The problem was that socialism seemingly provided what was essentially a false sense of security, but it was also antithetical to individual liberty as the Fabian socialist vision had no room for unfettered capitalism or private property rights. Right to one's fruits of their labor is the most basic requirement of freedom, and most every person knows this instinctively. This dilemma could seriously jeopardize the chances of success for socialism dissembled as progressivism. Hence, it was a given that along with gradualism, deception would also have to be a central feature of the progressive agenda.

War against traditionalism:

Fabians realized early on that traditionalism had to give way to what some termed modernism if global socialism was ever going to be realized. This implied that the traditional institutions of the society had to be dismantled. Hence, traditionalism along with traditional values had to be vilified as ‘intolerance’ and society made to feel guilty for holding these views. This was a battle for the hearts and souls of the masses – one that the traditionalists did not realize the importance of. Over the next century plus, progressivism assaulted society in a multi-prong attack that would mercilessly decay the traditional institutions of society.

On the education front, or as I refer to as the indoctrination side, classical education was slowly but surely replaced by progressive education that allowed social activism to be introduced in to classes instead of a strong curriculum in the liberal arts that would promote critical thinking. Concepts like service learning, cooperative learning, and social responsibility became everyday classroom activities; all while subjects like history and civics were being revised to fit the progressive mantra.

Progressive education also claimed and continues to claim to promote critical thinking. This is just another deceptive marketing ploy progressivism uses in gaining acceptance. Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness. Critical thinking requires going through all three stages of education: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. A vigorous curriculum in liberal arts is vitally important in learning how to think critically because the inter-disciplinary connections must be made effectively if critical reflection is to take place. Progressive education makes this impossibility as the demands placed on students by imposing progressive concepts leaves insufficient time for adequate exposure to liberal arts, not to mention the fact that revisionist gobbledygook taught poisons the foundation of knowledge necessary to draw proper conclusions.

On the cultural front, which I call the propaganda front, progressives undermined traditions by infiltrating the entertainment and media institutions to the point of nearly exterminating traditional voices and points of view.
The progressive agenda not merely survived but thrived throughout the free world. Cultural Marxists gave birth to different schools of thought (perhaps most famously the Frankfurt School) that all converged on the same themes of gradualism and deception, which would gradually change accepted definitions and values from their traditional senses to progressive ones. Eventually, what was right or moral would be wrong and immoral, and vice versa.

For example, when John Dewey, the father of American progressive education, advanced the idea of replacing classical education with his brand that would inevitably abandon the quadrivium, he never said that his goal was to dumb down future generations so that they could not think critically. Likewise, John Maynard Keynes who was closely associated with the original Fabian society members, never announced that his brand of neo-classical capitalism had not much to do with free flow of capital, but rather inhibit the free economies by injecting the heavy hand of the government under the guise of normalizing business cycles. Finally, Frances Fox Pivens is yet to admit openly that the strategy that bears her name - Cloward Piven Strategy - relies on collapsing the society from within in order to facilitate Marxism.

A Trojan horse:

Progressivism is a Trojan Horse. As socialists at heart, its most ardent adherents will never admit to their true desires as they instinctively know that the devious ideology they advance must be concealed and public led down the path to socialist utopia under false pretenses. Most others who consider themselves progressives have simply been conned in to thinking that progressivism is liberalism. In reality, progressivism is the opposite of liberalism. The central tenets of liberalism lie in individual liberty, equality under the law, and small unintrusive government to make it all possible. Individualism and liberalism are one in the same, and the opposite ideology should properly called collectivism, not liberalism in typical progressive double-speak. Having to use the term collectivist would amount to a public relations disaster for socialists. It is high time that we took the language back and force the proponents of what amounts to be indentured servitude and equality in misery to display their true colors.

Monday, April 21, 2014

I am Baaaaaaack!

A year older, and quite a bit wiser, I have decided to revive this blog after extensive activity on LinkedIn forums.  The struggle to preserve our diminishing liberties continues to be the ever increasing focus of all of our efforts, as it must be.

Probably, this will be a transition in to a bigger and better site that will include articles by regular contributors with unique perspectives on liberty here and abroad, among other features.  I plan on bringing on board some of the brilliant minds I met over the past year.  Contributions of my valuable team members are always welcome.
I hope that my team will still be sticking with me.

Long-live freedom