Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Progressivism in the United States





In the late 19th Century in America, thoughtful political leaders sought to quell the excesses of rampant capitalism, which was producing unbounded inequality of wealth in our nation. Under the leadership of such Presidents as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, a philosophy of governance called Progressivism was developed that advanced the idea that a small group of intellectuals should run the affairs of state. Undesirable elements and ignorant people should be removed from the voter rolls—Blacks in the South were particularly targeted for exclusion.

 

Sociologist Robert Nisbet defined five "crucial premises" in the Idea of Progress as being: value of the past; nobility of Western civilization; worth of economic/technological growth; scientific/scholarly knowledge obtained through reason over faith; the intrinsic importance and worth of life on Earth.

 

As time passed, Progressivism morphed into a system that placed elite people planners into government—people who knew more about how the American state should run than ignorant every-day voters. Their elitism reminds one of the difference between Alexander Hamilton and George Washington’s idea of a strong central government, run by aristocrats and the ideas of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson in the early 19th Century who sought to validate the power of the general electorate of the country.

 

The philosophy of Progressivism has become more or less the philosophy of left wing politics and governance. It has still retained the ideas of elitism—the idea that the government knows more about what is right to do than the people. This idea is getting old to many in our country; and it has caused the rise of populist movements, such as that roused by the Bernie Sanders and the Donald Trump campaigns. The people of America want their government back from the people planners.

 

One interesting feature of modern Progressivism is that it plays very strongly to the desires of minority groups, claiming that it is the voice of the poor and the down-trodden. Progressive’s seem to need to stir up controversy by pitting one group against another. For instance, the Black Lives Matter movement is obviously a tool of the elite members in the administration and the liberal elite in the media. It pits Blacks against conservatives who appreciate the presence and action of the police.

 

The Progressive movement is certainly no friend of religious liberty or the poor in this country. Evidence the court case mounted against the Little Sisters of the Poor, mandating them to provide contraceptives to their employees against their religious principles. (Thankfully, that controversy seems to have been recently solved in favor of the Sisters by action of the Supreme Court.). This was an example of persecution of a group whose only motive was to help the poor and disenfranchised.

 

Progressives have taken up the sword against home schooling and religious private education, also. Atheist, Richard Dawkins and others have called home-schooling the equivalent of child abuse. Progressives, in concert with the left wing National Education Association have solidly opposed home-schooling. This is an example of the Progressive push against the will of parents who are trying to get better education for their children.

 

I long for the return of democratic principles to our republic. I am sick and tired of the authoritarian, agency-run, government with which we have to deal these days. I hope we, Americans, will get together in November and vote some real representatives of the people into office.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Yes, Black Lives Matter--That's Why They Need Police

The April issue of Imprimis featured an article by Heather MacDonald entitled. “The Danger of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement.” The following blog post is mostly excerpted from this thought-provoking article.

The Black Lives Matter movement holds that racist police officers are the greatest threat facing young Black men today. And it must be remembered that police have sometimes been complicit in racist violence. But, the Black Lives Matter movement blames the police for a huge chunk of Black homicides. However, there is no government agency more dedicated to the idea that Black lives matter than the police. As police officers back off proactive policing in the face of relentless Black Lives Matter venom directed at them on the street and in the media, violent crime rises.

As anti-cop rhetoric continues in America, police officers have become more in danger of being killed or wounded on the streets. The number of police officers killed in shootings more than doubled during the first three months of 2016. Officers are at greater risk from Blacks than unarmed Blacks are from the police. Over the last decade an officer’s chance of getting killed by a Black has been18.5% higher than the chance of an unarmed Black getting killed by a cop.  

Every year, approximately 6,000 Blacks are murdered. This is a number greater than White and Hispanic homicide victims combined, even though Blacks are only 13 % of the national population. In Los Angeles, Blacks between the ages of 20 and 34 die at a rate 20-30 times the national mean. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic male teens combined. Blacks of all ages commit homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined and at eleven times the rate of Whites alone.  

This disparity of Black killers over White and Hispanic murderers is a function of the Black crime rate: In America’s 75 largest counties in 2009, for example Blacks constituted 62% of all robbery defendants, 57% of all murder defendants, 45% of all assault defendants—but only 15% of the population. Blacks make up 23% of the New York City’s population, but they commit 75% of all shootings, 70% of all robberies, and 66% of all violent crime according to victims and witnesses. Whites are 33% of the city’s population, but they commit fewer than 2% of all shooting, 4% of all robberies, and 5% of all violent crime. The group that predominantly commits homicidal acts against Blacks is other Blacks, not the police.

For most of the last 20 years, crime rates in the U.S. have been decreasing. This has been attributed to more effective policing and data management by modern police departments around the country. But, now, the crime rate is on an upward spike—the first in two decades. Murders rose 17% in the nation’s 50 largest cities in 2015, and it was in cities with large Black populations where violence increased the most. Baltimore’s per capita homicide rate last year was the highest in its history. Milwaukee had its deadliest year in a decade, with a 72% increase in homicides. Homicides in Cleveland increased 90% over the previous year. Murders rose 83% in Nashville, 54% in Washington, D.C., and 61% in Minneapolis. In Chicago, the police have decreased their questioning episodes of pedestrians by 80%. Nevertheless, shootings were up by 90%.

Since last October, James Comey, the FBI director has been saying that this increase in violent crime is due to the recent campaign against cops. Yesterday, on the evening news, I heard President Obama disclaim any responsibility of the Black Lives Matter movement for this increase in crime. This is just another reason that I have learned to disbelieve almost everything I hear from President Obama, his spokesman, Josh Earnest, and the Secretary of State, John Kerry. This administration lies.   

 

 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Tyranny by the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the United States, (SCOTUS) is about to hear a case brought by the administration against the Little Sisters of the Poor. The case involved is an attempt by the President and his administration to force the Little Sisters to violate their moral and religious convictions to buy contraceptives for their employees.

It is a sad state of affairs when a government will require a beneficent organization like the Little Sisters to go against their moral convictions. I am no Catholic, but I can recognized tyranny when I see it. I do not think SCOTUS should be a party to such wickedness in government.  

Saturday, April 9, 2016

“How to Vote”—Reprise


     My latest blog post http://manringen.blogspot.com (control+click)

It seems that my last blog post set off a firestorm of responses—some of which came from Trump supporters who objected to the perceived lying of Ted Cruz. For that reason, I have looked up the lies that both candidates have issued. They are documented in the URL’s listed below. It seems to me, from looking at these two web sites that neither candidate is immune to lying or to making mistakes in political statements. I invite you to look at these sites and make up your own minds. Politics seems like a dirty business, to me!



The responses I received taught me one thing. I made a mistake saying that Trump supporters are “ignorant and uneducated.” That was a rude mistake; and I apologize for it. I have found that among my critics there are those who are educated and thoughtful people.

So…I set out to see what polls say about who the Trump supporters are and what do they think. The following is what I found: In an article in the Atlantic, 1 March 2016, there was a compilation of polls describing the demographics of Trump supporters. It found that---

1)    Trump supporters are characterized by a lack of college degrees. This lack of higher education has fueled falling real wages over the past 25 years among those who support Donald Trump. According to the Hamilton Project, real wages have fallen 20% for non-college educated men over the past 25 years!

2)    A feeling of voicelessness has bothered and motivated many in the Trump camp. They usually responded positively to a polling question that said, “People like me don’t have any say about what the government does.” This feeling of powerlessness was a much better predictor of Trump support than age, race, college attainment, income, attitudes towards Muslims, illegal immigrants, or Hispanic identity.

3)    Trump supporters characteristically feel threatened by immigration of foreigners into the United States.

4)    Trump supporters strongly favor raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

5)    Trump supporters feel despondent about their place in America. This has led to a theme of Trump’s rhetoric: America is losing; Donald Trump is a winner; and if Trump becomes president, America will become a winner, too. This Great Man Theory of political change, however, strikes others as potentially dangerous...

6)    Trump supporters want to wage an interior war against outsiders. There is a strong feeling among his supporters that terrorists are about to destroy America. Trump supporters strongly believe in identifying threatening outsiders and granting individuals special powers to pursue aggressive policies to destroy them. The strongest indication of Trump support in South Carolina was not income, education, or age. It was the fear of personal injury from terrorism. (This fear is manifest across wide sections of the American polity; and I must admit that I, also, share in this fear. But…the Trump followers seem quite willing to accept an authoritarian in office as a tradeoff for better security.) He has said that he would kill the families of ISIS members to stop their advance. He has promised to shut down mosques, keep a database of Muslims, and round up the children of illegal immigrants. He promises to protect his white in-group from non-white outsiders. It seems hard to reconcile traditional American values with these threats.

7)    According to the New York Times, Nate Cohn, using data from Civis Analytics, Trump support is strongest in areas of the southeast most marked by racial resentment. Of course, this does not say that racial animus is a driver of Trump support; but there is the suggestion that might be the case.

8)    It is also interesting that Trump supporters attend church less frequently than do the Cruz supporters.

I am still very upset at the quality of candidates our American people have chosen to represent us as our President. Can’t we find a righteous man to run for this high office?!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

How to Vote


Americans are being exposed to the worse choices for prospective political leaders ever encountered in American polity. We sit back and wonder what we, as voters are to do with such bad choices.

We seem headed for a choice between Hillary and Donald Trump in a presidential election. Ted Cruz may be an outlier with a distant chance for success. Trump has the backing of the ignorant and uneducated; and Hillary has the backing of the Blacks of the nation, the Hispanics, the Muslims, and the politically liberal.

Trump has the advantage that he has blatantly challenged the politically correct clich├ęs so repugnant to many of us Americans. But he has absolutely no experience in governing; and his stands on the issues seem incoherent and originating from a “shoot-from-the hip” decision. He may be thought of as “unbuyable” by big money powers because he already has a bunch of money and, thereby, may not respond to bribes. (I rather doubt that argument; because great wealth has seldom, if ever, been a deterrent to ever-larger bribes.) His stands on foreign policy and how to deal with minorities and foreign trade are particularly troubling. He claims to be pro-life; but I doubt his resolve and fund of information on this subject. He doesn’t even seem interested in informing himself of the facts of the issues he so freely advocates.

Trump’s morals, are, to say the least, questionable. One cannot help but look at the personal life of the billionaire. It is not just that he has abandoned one wife after another for a younger woman, or that he has boasted about having sex with some of the “top women of the world.” It’s that he says, after all that, he has no need to seek forgiveness. At the same time, Trump has made millions off a casino industry. It has been rightly argued that gambling not only exploits personal vice but destroys families. (Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430119/donald-trump-russell-moore-not-moral-leader.)

Meanwhile, Hillary has already been bought off (over and over, again) by big money—and…her corruption in office is well known. But…her politics seem more rational and well organized than Trump’s. Even if you do not agree with the direction of her policy thoughts, we must realize that she knows where she is going and she knows how to get there.  She is openly pro-choice and has accepted gobs of money from Planned Parenthood to guarantee her continued support for killing unborn children—worldwide.

I have heard it vociferously claimed that voters, especially Christian voters, should refuse to vote for any candidate who is eminently disqualified for high office. But…that is not the right attitude. In no election in human history has there ever been one truly righteous candidate. So…the correct thing to do is to choose the candidate that is the least unrighteous and vote for him/her. To do otherwise is to effectively vote for the most unrighteous. WHAT A CHOICE!!

How can people of good conscience vote for either Hillary or Trump? I am hoping that Ted Cruz might be appointed to run on the Republican ticket. I could easily choose him as the least corrupted candidate on the presidential ballot if he were to run.  

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Following is a letter from a citizen of Washington State to his senators explaining very well why the American people are sick and tired of our government. This piece deserves a careful read by all of us. WE NEED A RIGHTEOUS GOVERNMENT AGAIN!
 
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Maria Cantwell
Washington, DC , 20510

Dear Senators:

I have tried to live by the rules my entire life. My father was a Command
Sergeant Major, U.S. Army, who died of combat related stresses shortly
after his retirement. It was he who instilled in me those virtues he felt
important - honesty, duty, patriotism and obeying the laws of God and of our
various governments. I have served my country, paid my taxes, worked hard,
volunteered and donated my fair share of money, time and artifacts.

Today, as I approach my 79th birthday, I am heart-broken when I look at my
country and my government. I shall only point out a very few things
abysmally wrong which you can multiply by a thousand fold. I have calculated
that all the money I have paid in income taxes my entire life cannot even keep
the Senate barbershop open for one year! Only Heaven and a few
tight-lipped actuarial types know what the Senate dining room costs the taxpayers.
So please, enjoy your haircuts and meals on us.

Last year, the president spent an estimated $1.4 billion on himself and
his family. The vice president spends $ millions on hotels. They have had 8
vacations so far this year! And our House of Representatives and Senate
have become America's answer to the Saudi royal family. You have become the
"perfumed princes and princesses" of our country.

In the middle of the night, you voted in the Affordable Health Care Act,
a.k.a. "Obamacare," a bill which no more than a handful of senators or
representatives read more than several paragraphs, crammed it down our throats,
and then promptly exempted yourselves from it substituting your own
taxpayer-subsidized golden health care insurance.

You live exceedingly well, eat and drink as well as the "one percenters,"
consistently vote yourselves perks and pay raises while making 3.5 times
the average U.S. individual income, and give up nothing while you (as well
as the president and veep) ask us to sacrifice due to sequestration (for
which, of course, you plan to blame the Republicans, anyway).

You understand very well the only two rules you need to know - (1) How to
get elected, and (2) How to get re-elected. And you do this with the aid of
an eagerly willing and partisan press, speeches permeated with a certain
economy of truth, and by buying the votes of the greedy, the ill-informed
and under-educated citizens (and non-citizens, too, many of whom do vote )
who are looking for a handout rather than a job. Your so-called "safety net"
has become a hammock for the lazy. And, what is it now, about 49 or 50
million on food stamps - pretty much all Democrat voters - and the program is
absolutely rife with fraud and absolutely no congressional oversight?

I would offer that you are not entirely to blame. What changed you is the
seductive environment of power in which you have immersed yourselves. It
is the nature of both houses of Congress which requires you to subordinate
your virtue in order to get anything done until you have achieved a
leadership role. To paraphrase President Reagan, it appears that the second
oldest profession (politics), bears a remarkably strong resemblance to the oldest.

As the hirsute first Baron John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834 -
1902), English historian and moralist, so aptly and accurately stated, "Power
tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are
almost always bad men." I'm only guessing that this applies to the female sex
as well. Tell me, is there a more corrupt entity in this country than
Congress?

While we middle class people continue to struggle, our government becomes
less and less transparent, more and more bureaucratic, and ever so much
more dictatorial, using Czars and Secretaries to tell us (just to mention a
very few) what kind of light bulbs we must purchase, how much soda or
hamburgers we can eat, what cars we can drive, gasoline to use, and what
health care we must buy. Countless thousands of pages of regulations strangle
our businesses costing the consumer more and more every day.

As I face my final year, or so, with cancer, my president and my
government tell me "You'll just have to take a pill," while you, Senator, your
colleagues, the president, and other exulted government officials and their
families will get the best possible health care on our tax dollars until you
are called home by your Creator while also enjoying a retirement beyond my
wildest dreams, which of course, you voted for yourselves and we pay for.

The chances of you reading this letter are practically zero as your staff
will not pass it on, but with a little luck, a form letter response might
be generated by them with an auto signature applied, hoping we will believe
that you, our senator or representative, has heard us and actually cares.
This letter will, however, go on line where many others will have the
chance to read one person's opinion, rightly or wrongly, about this government,
its administration and its senators and representatives.

I only hope that occasionally you might quietly thank the taxpayer for all
the generous entitlements which you have voted yourselves, for which, by
law, we must pay, unless, of course, it just goes on the $19 trillion
national debt for which your children and ours, and your grandchildren and ours,
ad infinitum, must eventually try to pick up the tab.

My final thoughts are that it must take a person who has either lost his
or her soul, or conscience, or both, to seek re-election and continue to
destroy the country that I deeply love. You have put it so far in debt that we will
never pay it off while your lot improves by the minute, because of your power.

For you, Senator, will never stand up to the rascals in your House who
constantly deceive the American people. And that, my dear Senator, is how
power has corrupted you and the entire Congress. The only answer to clean
up this cesspool is term limits. This, of course, will kill the goose that lays your golden eggs.
And woe be to him (or her) who would dare to bring it up.

Sincerely,

Bill Schoonover
3096 Angela Lane
Oak Harbor, WA

 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Good and Evil (From whence do they come?)


The following short essay by Peter Kreeft, a prominent Catholic theologian and apologist at Boston College, is the one of the most clear and convincing arguments I have read concerning the existence of God. I strongly urge my blog readers to look carefully at this essay.
 
The following argument for the existence of God comes from Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy, Boston College:

“I’m going to argue for the existence of God on the premise that moral good and evil really exist. They are not simply a matter of personal taste; not merely substitutes for ‘I like’ and ‘I don’t like’. 

“To clarify, this does not mean that atheists cannot be moral; of course they can. Just like theists can act immorally. 

“So, where do good and evil come from?  Atheists commonly propose a few possibilities: evolution, reason, conscience, human nature and utilitarianism. None of these, however, can be the ultimate source of morality.

“Evolution?  Any supposed morality that is evolving can change.  If it can change for the good or the bad, then there must be a Standard above these changes by which we judge them as good or bad. 

“Throughout human history, more powerful societies have enslaved weaker societies—and prospered.  That’s just the way it was, and no one questioned it.

Today, we condemn slavery.  But, based on an evolutionary model, one that is ever changing, who is to say that slavery might be acceptable again one day?

“Slavery was one accepted, but it was not, therefore, acceptable. If you can’t make that distinction, then you can’t criticize slavery!  If you can see the distinction, then you are admitting to objective morality. 

“Reasoning?  Whereas reasoning is a powerful tool to help us discover and/or understand morality, it cannot be the source of morality.  For example, criminals use reasoning to plan a murder, without their reasoning telling them that murder is wrong. And was it reasoning or something higher than reasoning that led those Gentiles to save the lives of Jews threatened by the Holocaust?  The answer is obvious: it was something higher than reasoning, because risking one’s life to save the life of a stranger was a very unreasonable thing to do. 

“Conscience?  Conscience, alone, cannot be the source of morality. Every person has his own conscience, and some appear to have none. Himmler, commander of the brutal Nazi SS, successfully appealed to his henchmen’s consciences to help him do the ‘right thing’ in murdering and torturing millions of Jews and others.  How can you say that your conscience is right and Himmler’s was wrong if conscience alone is the source of morality?  Answer: you can’t.

“Human Nature?  Some people say that human nature is the ultimate source of morality.  But, human nature can lead us to do all sorts of reprehensible things. In fact, human nature is the very reason we need morality. Our human nature can lead some of us to do real evil, and all of us to be selfish, unkind, petty and egocentric.  We surely would not want to live in a world where human nature was unrestrained. 

“Utilitarianism?   Utilitarianism is the claim that what is morally right is determined by whatever creates the greatest happiness for the greatest number. But, to return to our slavery example, if 90% get great benefit from enslaving the other 10%, would that make slavery right?  According to utilitarianism—it would. 

“Now that we see where morality cannot come from, let’s see where it does come from.  What are moral laws? 

“Unlike the laws of physics or the laws of mathematics, that tell us ‘what is’, the laws of morality tell us ‘what ought to be’.  But, like physical laws, they direct and order something, and that ‘something’ is right human behavior. 

“But, since morality does not exist physically (there are no moral atoms, or cells or genes) its Cause has to be something that exists apart from the physical world. That thing must, therefore, be above nature, i.e. supernatural. 

“The very existence of morality proves the existence of something that is beyond nature and beyond man.  Just as a design suggests a designer, moral commandments suggest a Moral Commander.  Moral laws must come from a Moral Lawgiver.  That Source is God, the One Who has revealed Himself in His Word. 

“So then, the conclusion of this argument is that whenever you appeal to morality, you are appealing to God, whether you are willing to admit it or not. You are talking about something religious, even if you think you are an atheist.” 

When we discuss the existence of God, we define Him as a perfect Being, greater than anything else which can be conceived. If God does not exist, then the very name "God" refers to an imaginary being. This makes the definition of "God" contradictory, for to be real, to be living, to have power, is greater than to be imaginary. It is clear that I cannot even discuss the word "God", by definition, if He does not exist. I have to conceive of Him as really existing in order for Him to be greater than anything else, for a God Who does not exist obviously cannot be greater than anything else.

For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?  God forbid: Let God be true, though every man were a liar.  Romans 3.4

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11.6