This is Dick Bishirjian
“Dick Bishirjian has taken a good long look at contemporary America and figured out what’s gone wrong with it: too many of those it honors with the title “educator” have been using the skulls of their charges as toxic waste dumps. A true educator, Dick has spent most of his career trying to clean them up. He knows the score and can expound on it with chilling clarity.”
Dr. Stephen H. Balch, Director, The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
“The great thing about Dick Bishirjian is that he brilliantly combines a constant focus on the purpose and content of education with the skillful use of new ways to deliver of education. He’s on top of the technology of distance learning as well as the issues involved in establishing standards for quality higher education. You rarely see that combination in an educator.”
Dr. Stuart Butler, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution, Washington DC
Introduction with an Apology
Eric Sevareid, one of Edward R. Morrow’s “boys,” is long forgotten now, but Sevareid was a CBS News journalist from 1939-1977. For twelve of those years, beginning in 1963, he was “on air” with Walter Cronkite for CBS Evening News. McGraw-Hill published This is Eric Sevareid in 1964 to announce his ascendancy as on air “talent” at CBS Evening News.
When I first saw that book title, I thought it was an unusual–indeed tawdry–act of self-promotion and that it was accepted for publication by a major New York publishing “House” was surely a sign of cultural decline.
I’ve decided that This is Dick Bishirjian–though a tawdry act of self-promotion–is necessary, if what I have to say about politics and culture in America today from a personal and political perspective will ever be heard.
I must do something.
My interest in politics and the condition of American culture began in college at the height of the conservative “movement.” I eagerly devoured all the conservative books cited in William F. Buckley’s National Review and read Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, James Burnham’s Managerial Revolution, Frank Meyer’s In Defense of Freedom, Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind and Eric Voegelin’s New Science of Politics.
I did all that while working on the Goldwater campaign for President. That campaign of 1964 ended badly for the GOP and I went off to graduate school.
I arrived at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana in January 1965 and started classes that week with Gerhart Niemeyer, Fr. Stanley Parry, CSC and Eric Voegelin. Ara Parseghian was Head Coach and Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, was President.
Fr. Ted Hesburgh was responsible for immense changes at Notre Dame, some of which were good, but he was also responsible for Notre Dame’s decline as a Catholic University–which was bad.
After completing graduate work at Notre Dame, I attended classes with Michael Oakeshott at the London School of Economics and wrote my dissertation from a little room with a typewriter made available for me and other visiting scholars at the British Museum.
While at Notre Dame, I was a graduate assistant to Gerhart Niemeyer and later taught at colleges and universities in Texas and New York. In 1978, I published two books, a history of political theory, and a book of essays titled A Public Philosophy Reader. I was desperate to find a position at a first ranked college or university. Unexpected opportunity appeared in 1981 when I joined the Reagan Administration. I gave up my tenured position at the College of New Rochelle, and never returned to teaching.
Had I stayed in college teaching, I would not be writing this background sketch of my career. College teaching today is so stressful that I would be dead. Because I now had to make a living, however, during the 19 years between 1981 and 2000, I published only five essays and two book reviews.
My work focused on fundraising, first for a television news programming venture called “World News Institute” that I formed in 1983, then for Boston University College of Communication in 1987 where I obtained a major federal grant and oversaw the marketing of BU “communication” training programs from an office in Washington, DC.
While in DC, I would attend monthly dinners of the Foreign Policy Discussion Group. There I met Count Nickolaus Lobkowicz, former president of the University of Munich, who was then president of a Catholic state university in Eichstätt, Germany. For Count Lobkowicz, I created the first American style fundraising effort in Germany for a state university and solicited donations from German business executives.
That was 1987.
One day, Peter Mroczyk, director of the Polish Service for Radio Free Europe paid a visit to my BU office. That led to work as a business development consultant in Poland. Between the weekend prior to the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and 1995, I raised $52.6 million in financing for development projects in Poland and bids on state licenses for cellular telephony and, with the assistance of Veronis Suhler in New York, we recruited Time Warner and ABC/CapCities as partners in a bid for Poland’s first broadcast television license.
My Polish colleague, Peter Mroczyk, called me “the human ATM.”
In 1999, trying to use the knowledge I had gained in Poland, I posted recorded lectures on privatization of government services on a website that I called the “American Academy of Privatization.” When I looked at them, I saw that this was a way to found a solely Internet University. So, in 2000, with the support of Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation and Morton Blackwell’s, The Leadership Institute, I founded the first “conservative “Liberal Arts” Internet University.
I recruited more than forty college instructors for Yorktown University, a startup for-profit Internet university, attracted investment capital, worked with instructors to develop effective Internet delivered courses in subjects from architecture to statistics, attained “National” academic accreditation of eleven degree and certificate programs and marketed them by mass e-mail, Google “AdWords” and Facebook and print advertising
The banking crisis of 2008 dried up risk capital, however, and finding new investors became impossible. We were then operating from Denver, Colorado, but in 2012, the Colorado GOP lost control of state government and took state government Leftward. The state higher education regulatory agency, whose head was the Democrat Party’s Lt. Governor of Colorado, became antagonistic and without warning, the accrediting agency that had accredited us in 2008 informed me that, unless we improved our financial condition, we would lose our accreditation. I was compelled to close Yorktown University even though we attained “National” accreditation in 2012.
We kept the company alive until 2016. This interview with Teresa Mull at the Heartland Institute explains why.
To my regret, I realized that not only is the Progressive Left in total control of American higher education, but none of the wealthy conservative families shared my understanding that the survival of political and economic freedom in America depends on founding, and sustaining, new colleges and universities. Their familiar is understandable. Even if they had founded a new university, they wouldn’t know how to staff it properly.
Though my business career was over, I now had time to write books and essays that I was trained to write. In 1995 I started to write a book that I finally published twenty years later in 2015 as The Conservative Rebellion and in 2017 I published a history of my experience in founding Yorktown University which I titled The Coming Death and Future Resurrection of American Higher Education. A new book titled Ennobling Encounters was published in 2021 and Rise and Fall of the American Empire is scheduled for publication in March 2022. A “first novel” titled “Coda” was published in 2020. I am also writing about the “Future of American Politics.”
Some fourteen essays have been published in Modern Age and several others at The Imaginative Conservative. Other topical essays were published in Chronicles and the American Spectator. And, almost daily I’ve posted “Blogs” at www.dickbishirjian.com. My “Twitter” by-line, Dontquitu, has 1,591 “followers.”
Here are some of my most popular posts:
Looking for Mr. Goodbar, August 25, 2011
The behavior of our Neoconservative friends at Roger Ailes’ Fox News, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, National Review and AEI is reminiscent of the 1977 motion picture, “Looking for Mr. Goodbar.” The heroine, Diane Keating, cruises bars looking for sexual excitement much like Bill Kristol and his band of neoconservative wonks are cruising for a presidential candidate.
At first, it seemed that Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana would be the neo-conservative savior, and then the torch was passed to former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. When Pawlenty’s campaign tanked, our boys then turned to Paul Ryan who declined the honor. Now Marco Rubio is the center of “Neocon” attraction.
There is a common thread that runs through each of these candidates: no fear of war.
Marco Rubio appeared before a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to announce his support for the NATO invasion of Iraq, America’s third invasion of a Muslim country. What was curious was the argument that Sen. Rubio gave on that occasion. He said that the Declaration of Independence affirms that all men are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, and when a foreign government denies those rights and threatens its citizens with death, the United States should act to keep that from happening.
This week, MSNBC political commentator, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell stated on “Morning Joe” that America should always act to stop genocide citing two NATO invasions: Kaddafi’s Iraq under President Obama and Kosovo under President Clinton.
That, of course, is a theme right out of a 1960s television series—“have gun, will travel.”
Sen. Rubio has lots of good points, and is an attractive face in a crowd of largely unattractive Republican officeholders. But, we should be mindful of signs that he appears to have been co-opted this early in his career by the War Faction within the Republican Party.
Beginning in the second Reagan Administration from the neoconservative enclave being creating at the American Enterprise Institute by the late Irving Kristol, Neoconservatives positioned themselves to obtain political appointments from the Reagan White House. Frustrated by a Democratic Party moving quickly to the left impelled by the anti-Vietnam war movement and culminating in the nomination of Sen. George McGovern, Kristol and other Neoconservatives defected to the Republican Party. A genius at manipulation, throughout the 1970s Kristol carefully placed his men in powerful positions at non-profit foundations, and in Think Tanks like AEI.
By Reagan’s second term, Irving Kristol’s men controlled the Bradley Foundation, something called Institute of Education Affairs, and the Olin Foundation. In the first Reagan Administration, he added conquest of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Neoconservatives love power. Unfortunately, they don’t fear it.
On or before George Bush was elected president, the libido of Irving Kristol’s Neoconservatives metastasized into what I call a “second growth.”
The first neoconservative “growth” was very traditional, sound on Economics and its analysis of what Kristol called a “New Class.” There was little to be uneasy about neo-conservatives during that early period of growth, except for their past affiliation with the left and their belief that the power of the state was “good.”
Those of us who did not grow up on the left wing of American life feared the coercive power of the state—“the power to tax is the power to destroy”—didn’t like Democratic welfare programs even before they proved dangerous to civic morality and were attracted to politicians like Bob Taft, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.
Kristol’s neoconservative didn’t like Taft, thought Goldwater was a joke, and never supported Reagan when he ran for president before his election in 1980 and thus were on the fringe of things when Reagan won. If there was anything that Irving Kristol was not, he was not a “quitter.” By 1984 his maneuvering had charmed the White House “wise” guys and the second term of Ronal Reagan’s administration loaded up with Neoconservatives.
Then something very bad happened that even Irving Kristol warned against. The most significant change in America, he said, was the transition of democracy from a political philosophy to a religious belief.
It’s pretty easy—as Marco Rubio demonstrated—to cite the ringing words of the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence much like Christian’s recite the Apostle’s Creed or the Lord’s Prayer. But the hard work of understanding what really the American political tradition is lies in study of the Old Testament’s history of the covenant of Yahweh with the Hebrew clans, the break with mythic order by the Greek “natural” philosophers, the Gospel movement, the development of Roman law and the English political tradition. That takes long study and more than the few minutes needed to absorb the religious connotations carried in the words of Thomas Jefferson.
What caused otherwise rational and very bright and educated political minds that are found in Neoconservative circles to adopt an irrational American democratic religion and to advocate using American armed forces to create a New World Order of democratic regimes?
Though the term “realism” used in international relations theory sometimes has bad connotations as “immoral” and insensitive to the plight of millions of people throughout the world whose freedoms and lives are abused by autocrats, there is a point at which a nation’s resources can be exhausted in a frenzy of imperial warfare. At that point a “realistic” foreign policy is called for.
After a decade of war and deficit spending in Iraq and Afghanistan and an invasion of Libya, the United States is broke. Yet that democratic religion that worried the Neoconservative godfather, Irving Kristol, continues to stir the minds and souls of young adults like Bill Kristol, Douglas Feith, Michael Gerson and an otherwise appealing young Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio.
Where does that kind of thinking come from? And what are its consequences?
Pittsburgh, My Pittsburgh, October 30, 2018
Hundreds of thousands of Americans who were born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania now live elsewhere. For any number of reasons we left what we fondly refer to as the ‘Burgh and never returned. We are what I call “Overseas Pittsburghers,” much like the “Overseas Chinese” who opt not to live in a communist People’s Republic of China.
I like the ‘Burg, but the Democrat Party has controlled the City since 1932. Eighty-six years of one Party control–going on nine decades–is just too many.
During the Cold War, national security professionals would talk about the Finlandization that occurred in Finland when the Finns threw in the towel and accepted the Soviet Union as permanent reality. The Finns kept one accommodator in power for 45 years.
Little did they know that the Soviet Union would collapse in 1991.
Unlike the Finns, the citizens in the ‘Burg were threatened by no foreign enemies and, yet, they continue to this day to vote for a corrupt and ignorant group of politicians who pass themselves off as New Deal Democrats—86 years after a President offered a New Deal in 1932!
The lack of patriotism and intelligence that this Finlandization of the ‘Burg represents is a sign that the ‘Burg is too corrupt to handle an influx of 50,000 Amazon employees should the ‘Burg be chosen for the next Amazon HQ. Change will come, but not at the ballot box nor by a decision by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Click here to access an essay that I wrote for the Pittsburgh Tribune in February of this year. about the prospect that the ‘Burgh would be chosen for Amazon’s second HQ.
Shareholder Revolt at AT&T & Verizon, Dec. 29, 2018
Leftist bias at CNN owned by AT&T and at Verizon Fios and Yahoo owned by Verizon compels us to ask these telecom entities “Why?”
The President of Verizon is Hans Vestburg and its media subsidiary, “Oath,” is headed by K. Guru Gowrappan. Executives from Germany and an Indian from India are not likely to have watched Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob or Roy Rogers and Dale Evans on TV while growing up, so insensitivity to the nuances of political culture in America at Verizon may be excused.
But, the head of AT&T is Randall Lynn Stephenson who went to the University of Oklahoma and spent a good portion of his career in the southwest. That certainly makes him feel out of sorts when visiting with CNN’s Jeff Zucker who went to the same high school–North Miami High–where I spent 11th and 12th grades.
Based on the bias of Vestburg, Gowrappan and Stephenson’s media properties, it seems that AT&T and Verizon are over their heads when it comes to objective decisions in news reporting and content. Like Facebook, that is now coming under Congressional scrutiny, these media executives oversee operations that are too big to be concerned about the sensitivities of political conservatives. Nor can conservatives who watch CNN or subscribe to Fios affect policy by subscribing to a competitor. It’s even worse at MSNBC which is wholly owned by a Philadelphia billionaire, Brian L. Roberts.
Now may be time to organize shareholder revolts at AT&T and Verizon and for the House Freedom Caucus and a conservative U.S. Senator (if there are any, besides Tom Cotton), to raise a little hell and scare the Government Relations people at these two telecom giants.
Jimmy Hoffa and Me, December 16, 2018
At age 42, my father sold his successful oriental rug and carpet business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and moved us to Miami Florida. My father said he had “retired,” but he went into real estate as a broker and builder. I was delighted to leave Pittsburgh and the public high school where I was “warehoused” and entered the 11th grade at North Miami High School.
Miami, then and today, had a booming economic environment that attracted many seeking employment and fair weather. My classmates came from all over–our graduating class has 1,025 students, and some were bright and ambitious. Keith Barish, founder of Planet Hollywood and later, Jeff Zucker, president of CNN were North Miami grads. Another of my bright classmates, Herb Yates, suggested that we go to the Fontainebleau Hotel and interview Jimmy Hoffa for our school paper. The Teamsters were holding an annual conference and Jimmy Hoffa was presiding.
Somehow Herb Yates got through to Hoffa’s men, and we were escorted into a large conference room by an attractive blond communications person. As we entered, we heard Jimmy Hoffa utter a profanity against David Dubinsky, a rival American labor leader who served as president of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. Hoffa was pleasant to the two of us and answered some questions that I have forgotten, and suddenly Herb Yates and I had our fifteen minutes of fame.
Two high school kids interview the notorious Jimmy Hoffa!
Funny I hadn’t thought of that until I learned today that the FBI file on Hoffa may be released to the public.
What Yellow Vest Riots Teach Us, December 9, 2018
We should not be surprised by “Yellow Vest” riots in France. Modern France was shaped by the violence that occurred in 1789 and culminated in “The Terror” that commenced in 1793. Alexis de Tocqueville in The Old Regime and the French Revolution cites key historical dates and events that point toward and explain the outpouring of violence then and now.
He recalls the chaos caused by the captivity of King John at the battle of Poitiers in 1356 that led to the insurrection of peasants in 1358. That peasant insurrection was called the Jacquerie because the nobility commonly referred to any peasant as Jacques, or Jacques Bonhomme
Another insurrection occurred in 1382 in response to the imposition of taxes. That violence was called Mailotins because of iron mallots that the mob confiscated and used to attack business owners, government officials and money lenders.
The year 1388 was marked by the madness of Charles VI (1368-1422) and the disorders of his rule. He was followed by the reign of King Charles VII who was permitted to impose a tax without the people’s consent. Tocqueville writes, “…on that fateful day that the seeds were sown of almost all the vices and abuses which led to the violent downfall of the old régime.”
In 1591 a public uprising in Paris against the temporizing policies of Henry III is called the Council of the Sixteens. The head of the Catholic League led representatives of the sixteen quartiers of Paris who arrested and executed three magistrates of the Parlement of Paris.
In 1648 the French nobility engaged in a last attempt in a series of wars, called the Fronde, to recover privileges usurped by French monarchs. Yet again, in 1685, Louis XIV disturbed civic order by arbitrarily placing dragoons in Protestant households as part of his persecution of the Huguenots.
In 1701, the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714) following the death of Charles II of Spain threatened the balance of power in Europe and led to war between the French and an alliance of England, the Dutch Republic and Austria. Though the power of Louis XIV was challenged, the King secured the borders of France and continued his policy of centralization of state power.
In 1777, René Nicolas de Maupeou, Chancellor of France, carrying out Louis XVI’s reforms abolished the system of Parlements, or regional courts. Though the French had felt oppressed by the Parlements, with their abolition, Tocqueville writes, “had fallen the last barrier still capable of holding in check the monarch’s absolute power.”
If there is one thing we learn from Tocqueville’s historical narrative, we learn that centralization of the power of the state destroys the mores and culture of nations. That is something that Americans today should understand is happening to us.
Go to College for an Education, December 2, 2018
National Association of Scholars’ President, Dr. Peter Wood, and I gave a presentation at the Family Research Council on the topic of anti-American bias of American higher education. This problem has gotten worse over the past 60 years, so there is nothing you or I can do about it.
But, if you’re beginning to plan to go to college next year, plan to get an education, not merely a degree.
Here are some tips for you to consider:
1) Choose the best college or university you can find that offers a four-year education at the lowest cost. That means you should consider taking residence in a state where tuition at state universities is low. The University of Oregon in Eugene offers tuition for in-state students of about $5,000 a year. Colorado public universities cost about the same. California State charges about $5,700 a year. Don’t pay more!
2) Don’t worry about Liberal bias. Every university is biased in that way. But, you want a good education offered by professional scholars who have earned the Ph.D. degree. If they are true professionals, they will not let their personal opinions to distort their subjects.
3) Study important disciplines. Which are they?
- A) American national government
- B) Constitutional law
- C) Statistics
- D) History of music
- E) History of Art
- F) Classical philosophy: Plato & Aristotle
- G) History courses–as many as you can find, but focus on the history of England, the history of Russia, the history of China and the history of France.
- H) Accounting
- I) Physical Education–take at least one a year and sometimes take one each semester. Learn tennis, golf, and swimming
- J) Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and Physics
4) Area studies to avoid: English Literature, American studies, Communication, Psychology, Journalism, Education.
5) Valuable degree programs: Business, Government and all the Sciences.
If you want guidance, have your Mom or Dad contact me by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Federal Takeover of Higher Education, The Martin Center, March 8, 2007
Two events occurred in Washington, DC, in late February that could foreshadow a significant decline in the independence of American colleges and universities.
First, representatives of accrediting associations, state universities, and private colleges engaged in negotiated ‘rule-making’ with representatives of the Department of Education. This rule-making was to establish procedures by which college students are tested, and by which colleges and universities will be compared on the basis of that testing. The second event was even more ominous — an announcement that actions would be taken to control the independent system of accreditation of American higher education by establishing a national accreditation foundation.
The federal camel already has much more than its nose into the higher education tent and these developments presage a substantial increase in federal control.
The rules to be negotiated—and universally imposed upon American colleges and universities—were chosen by the U.S. Department of Education. As this report reveals, the U.S. Department of Education asserts that it has the power to make new rules that will be binding on all higher education without Congressional approval.
Though some independent observers saw this demonstration of force coming long before the negotiators met, the accrediting associations were shocked. They still seem to believe that they are private, voluntary, associations of member institutions.
From the day she was confirmed, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has expressed concern that higher education is not accountable for the billions of federal subsidies on which it relies and that higher education costs too much. Attempting to change this dynamic, she created a Commission on the Future of Higher Education and charged it with developing recommendations for higher education reform.
At the time, most observers saw this commission as just another blue ribbon panel that would issue a report and go quietly into the night. What was not understood was that Secretary Spellings believes that she has the authority to formulate new regulations based on the findings of her Commission. Suddenly the “issue papers” produced by her Commission have to be read for what they were intended—a blueprint for the federal takeover of higher education.
Consider, for example, the regulatory proposals found in the issue paper authored by Vickie Schray, executive director of the Commission, and lead ‘negotiator’ for the Department at the rule-making sessions.
1. Tighten the standards by which accrediting associations are chartered by the U.S. government so that they “meet both public and private interests.”
2. Require accrediting associations to have Boards of Governors with representatives from “employers, federal and state government.”
3. Require that peer reviews be conducted by “certified independent reviewers who are experts in the application of national accreditation standards.”
4. Emphasize “performance outcomes” in school evaluations.
5. Standards should be generated that define “what students should know.”
To accomplish all of this, Ms. Schray recommends “major transformation in the accreditation process” based on “national if not global standards and processes.” Given the importance of accreditation, such a transformation to a great extent puts the federal government in charge of our higher education system.
The purpose of rule-making was to put the Commission’s recommendations into effect and three of those recommendations took precedence:
1. To require every college and university to adopt a similar methodology for assessing learning outcomes, with the objective of establishing national statistics to compare institutional performance;
2. To regulate accrediting associations by means of a national accreditation system;
3. To allow free transfer of academic credits between national and regionally accredited colleges and universities.
Negotiators from the higher education sector attempted to modify the Department’s approach by rejecting the need for what the Department called a “core set of student achievement measures, both quantitative and qualitative.” The accrediting associations have long had their own standards and reject the idea that an institution’s performance can be measured accurately by a “one size fits all” formula.
Yorktown University’s observer at these meetings reported that the Department’s Vickie Schray was taken aback by the dissension. “The law requires accrediting agencies to have a standard for student achievement,” Schray said. “The law requires” means that the Department will do what the law specifies—and those affected will have to obey. The ‘negotiated’ rule-making, therefore, was a process to formalize how the Department wants to enforce the law, not a procedure to establish rules in a collaborative manner.
When Ms. Schray made that statement, negotiators knew that despite their efforts to modify the Department’s intended rules, at the end of the day the Department would control the outcome.
That became all the more clear when Under Secretary of Education Sara Martinez Tucker said in an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education that the negotiated ‘rule-making’ would be by-passed and an “education summit” would be held. “The summit will be held in Washington on March 22 and will include some 300 selected participants from the worlds of academe, business, philanthropy, and elementary and secondary education. Over the course of the day, participants will complete a list of 25 “action items” and assign responsibility to states, colleges, and other groups for putting them into practice,” she said.
The Department of Education has spoken openly and directly to America’s colleges and universities, telling them to wait for ‘action items’ from Washington that will affirm that American higher education is an appendage of the federal government. Until now, the variety and diversity of more than four thousand academic institutions of higher learning in the United States has withstood the desires of federal politicians to define what is taught in those institutions and what their standards should be. All that will change with the “education summit.”
With a national system of control in place, higher education will be subject to a top-down process of control by federal officials. That approach has worked badly with K-12 education in the states and will have the same bad effects on our higher education system. American higher education can and should perform better, but regulation by bureaucrats in Washington is not the way to go about it.
Three Cheers for King Tut and the Denver Art Museum, August 29, 2010
Two Sundays ago, I attended the Denver Art Museum’s King Tut exhibit. Tutankhamen, the boy Pharaoh, was a minor figure in the dynastic history of ancient Egypt, but his tomb was discovered intact and reveals to us much about ancient Egyptian religious beliefs and social order.
The exhibit is beautifully designed, the audio lectures are worthwhile narratives that bring out aspects of the exhibit that require expert commentary, and the film in 3-D about ancient Egypt is an excellent theatrical production that develops the main themes of this museum quality exhibit. The Denver Art Museum deserves credit for making this accessible to the citizens of Colorado.
The exhibit tells us that ancient Egypt was governed by an institution of divine kingship that was focused on the experience of life, the expectation of death and a need to prepare for an afterlife. Egyptian rulers were aware that life does not end in death and that in life we must prepare for eternal life.
I was introduced to myths from the ancient Near East when a graduate student at Notre Dame. There in the Department of Government, political philosophers Eric Voegelin, and Gerhart Niemeyer taught courses and gave lectures on mythic consciousness, ancient myth and the clash of myth with philosophy in the Presocratics, Socrates and Plato.
A course on the recovery of political theory taught by Gerhart Niemeyer featured readings in the works of Mircea Eliade, Henri Frankfort, and the compendium of ancient Near Eastern texts of James Pritchard. As a result of the scholarly work of Egyptologists like Frankfort and others, the study of political order has been enriched by political philosophers with an understanding of ancient Egypt and other civilizations of the ancient Near East. In a large way, their work influenced my my own work in political theory.
What I learned from these scholars was that in ancient Egypt, continuing the consonance of social with cosmic order was performed by the king, the Pharaoh, who was the divine mediator through whom cosmic order was extended to the people.
The Egyptians believed that without Pharaoh the country would fall into disorder. This idea was expressed most emphatically by the Egyptian political institution of divine kingship. When a king was alive, he was called “Horus,” the falcon god whose eyes were the sun and the moon. His hegemony and power over social order were symbolized by the flight of a cosmic falcon, one of whose eyes is always visible in the heavens. When the king died, however, he ascended to the heavens and became the god Osiris.
The power of Osiris in Egypt was manifest in the Nile, whose powerful contribution to the continuance of life was visual proof of Osiris’ power. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Egyptians included Osiris among the first nine (Ennead) gods of their religion. In this way, they expressed the unity of social with cosmic divine order. Just as Osiris was present among the Ennead at the beginning of creation, so also was present the Egyptian social order, the stability of which was attributed to its cosmic origins. Not only the kingdom, but individual cities of ancient Egypt, as well, understood their own political existence in terms of their relationship to this original creation of the world.
“The Creation by Atum,” a myth of the reign of the Sixth Dynasty (2180 B.C.) king, Pepi II (Nefer-ka-re), whose city was Heliopolis, speaks of the sun god (Atum) as the first of the gods because he arises from the original hill or site of creation. The pyramids in which this text was inscribed were images of that primeval hillock and thus symbols of creation of the cosmos. In this way, cosmic order was symbolically interlocked with the political because the hillock originated on the site of the city of Heliopolis and it was there that the creation by Atum of the air (Shu), moisture (Tefnut), and the other gods of the Ennead took place. Pepi II, King of Heliopolis, was understood to be the ruler of a political community which could trace its existence back to the original creation.
This belief lent legitimacy and stability to the reign of the Pharaoh, of course, but it also contributed to the static character of Egyptian society. The Egyptians, and for that matter all cultures formed by “cosmological” myths, valued the unchanging, what we would call the eternal. Henri Frankfort has described this regard for immutability by observing that “for the Egyptians the past was normative.” These societies sought their norms in the myths of original creative acts of gods in the past, norms which were their standards of action in the present. It is of great significance that before political theory could develop, before the transition in consciousness from compact myth to fully differentiated philosophic consciousness could proceed, a successful framework for the criticism of myths had to be established.
The King Tut exhibit reveals that ancient man was concerned that his acts in this life would be judged in the next and that even Pharaoh would be judged and the consequences of that judgment would last for eternity.
Free Market Capitalism the Future of Democracy in America, November 21, 2011
When industrialized countries in the West became fully developed they developed systemic problems. Individually these problems can be resolved by the electoral process. Taken as a whole, only the creative destruction of free market capitalism will assure the survival of an America that celebrates personal freedom, individual initiative, and entrepreneurial risk.
Today bureaucracy and regulatory overreach have overwhelmed individual initiative, developed inequities between those whose wealth affords them access to investments in new businesses and a middle class not permitted to risk personal savings in non-registered securities. American healthcare has failed to respond to market demands and has become, like higher education, beyond the reach of wage earners. American higher education, designed for the education of 1920s and 1930s era elites, has been blocked from adopting new technologies. And even America’s national defense Establishment has become sclerotic with bureaucracy.
In private sector manufacturing, General Motors is one of the best examples of a company that lived beyond its time, became torn between labor unions that diverted capital away from productive use and the organization men who made it to upper management in GM’s bureaucracy by going along to get along.
The American administrative state is now the biggest burden on the economy and bypasses elected decision makers through “negotiated rulemaking.” Social welfare programs like Social security, instituted more than three quarters of a century ago, now harm income producers, especially the young, by tethering their retirement contributions to a system of redistribution. What wage earners put into the Social Security system will equal less than they take out and most young people understand that there won’t be any “take out” when they retire.
Taken separately each problem can be reformed by will of the electorate. Taken altogether, no single Presidential Administration can hope to make even a dent.
Thankfully, there are market solutions to these systemic problems. Higher education can shift to Internet distance learning instruction offered by leaner institutions servicing remedial students and those entering the first two years of college. Existing residential colleges and universities can adjust by becoming specialized senior institutions that enroll only those who survive the first two years of undergraduate education.
Even American healthcare can become market oriented by allowing a national marketplace of competitive health insurance programs to develop.
The disparity between the wealthy and the middle classes can be altered by abolishing restrictions by which only “accredited investors,” those with $1 million in net assets, may invest in non-registered securities. That would shift investments of the middle class away from publicly traded securities and into business startups, some with a shot at becoming large companies. Starbucks, AOL and Apple are three examples that middle class citizens might have invested in, but for the restrictions that limit their investments to publicly traded securities.
That is why the clamor against big government from Tea Party activists, social, political and economic conservatives is not really “conservative.” The “conservatives” are in the encampments of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Democratic Party, universities, employees of municipalities, the states and the federal government, labor unions, the councils of RINO Republicans and all those other places where folks congregate who are comfortable with the current system of bureaucratic status quo.
Some think that we must wait for the next election, or the one after that, before we see real change But, the truly radical solutions that are required to break up these monopolies of power and commercial cartels, educate the American people for self reliance, wean them from dependency on “the state,” and free them to reform how America works already exist in the ideas and animal spirits of American entrepreneurs.
That explains why the Obama Administration is doing its best to stifle entrepreneurship.
Higher education is a perfect example: In the early 1980s, John Sperling, a radical leftist who despised what American higher education had become, fought the education Establishment to create the University of Phoenix. Phoenix, by dint of Sperling’s hard work and determination, cut the time it takes to earn a college degree and lowered tuition costs by operating from leased office space. Without country club accoutrements, Phoenix offered a quick degree for working students who went to school at night. “Night school,” thanks to John Sperling, became desirable and not the place where failures ended up.
Today the University of Phoenix services hundreds of thousands of ambitious students and inspires others to create similar institutions—some solely online. The Obama Administration’s education policies, however, are designed by a New Class of educated elites who despise the profit motive. And they are determined to stop the creative destruction of traditional higher education by for-profit distance learning institutions through new regulations that protect these institutions from competition from new entrants into the education marketplace.
Across the front of systemic issues affecting our advanced industrialized society market forces threaten established institutions, and in each instance opponents of change have used the political process to protect their interests. Fortunately, the United States can no longer solve its systemic problems by more government spending. Some programs and entire government agencies and regulations have to be cut back in order to free market forces to solve society’s problems. Whether or not free market capitalism is allowed to free these forces of creative destruction will determine whether America experiences economic growth or slides into economic stagnation and, ultimately, the serfdom of a bureaucratically administered welfare state.
Wonderful!, September 2, 2016
Seldom do I exclaim “Wonderful” about a motion picture, but A Royal Night Out starring Sarah Gadon as Princess Elizabeth and Bel Powley as Margaret is, simply, WONDERFUL.
The Founding Fathers wrestled with the visible signs of monarchy by prohibiting “hereditary titles” and were troubled by the problem of concentration of power in the Executive branch of the new government. The person of George Washington and jealousy of the States kept the Executive Branch under wraps for at least half a century, but in the 19th century a very different attitude toward government power began to grow.
As Americans, we’ve lived with rejection of the idea of royalty and can become quite upset when an elected politician assumes too much and begins to act as if he inherited his office.
Nevertheless, there are aspects of human nature that can’t be denied easily.
I have long suspected that deep need explains personalized license plates and the drive to certify ourselves by acquiring degrees, certificates and diplomas. Even the Vietnam Memorial satisfies this need by giving a place on “the wall” for the names of our fallen.
How deeply we humans need affirmation of our personal and national greatness is revealed in a feature film about young Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen of England, and her sister Margaret, on the evening of VE-Day. The English had suffered through a very long war beginning in 1939, a European war that the United States entered in 1941. On the day that Victory in Europe was declared, a war weary British nation celebrated by spontaneously convening a national party to end all parties.
Seeing this from Buckingham Palace, the two cloistered sisters resolved to join the fun.
What they experienced and learned about their fellow countrymen was life shaping for them and their story told in A Royal Night Out gives us Americans a peek at what it means for countries where inherited titles and a monarchy have been preserved. That vision, I assure you, is quite wonderful.
How Much Time do We Have?, August 25, 2016
Twenty-three years have passed since William Jefferson Clinton was elected President in 1993 and seven years since Hillary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State in 2009.
Only in 2016 are the activities of the Clinton Foundation and allegations of conduct by Hillary Clinton portrayed as “Pay to Play.”
What is it about American politics that responsible citizens react too late to bad policies and questionable activities?
William Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama were each elected to second terms when it is clear in hindsight that none was worthy of re-election.
In a recent post (August 19, 2016) titled “Irresponsible Generation,” I wrote that “this generation did not do the hard work to understand forces in the world that wanted to destroy the United States, nor to prepare to sustain that world leadership.”
We were worse off at the end of each of these second term Presidencies than we were at the end of their first terms, yet the American people seemed to yawn and moved on to more important decisions.
Well, we now face a decision in the current Presidential election between a reprise of the Clinton and Obama Presidencies and something so totally new and unexpected that none dare name it.
What is Donald Trump? And what forces within the GOP allowed Trump to gain control of the Republican Party.
“Do Nothing” Congress comes to mind, especially since 2015 when Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress. If Barack Obama was as bad as the GOP claimed, why didn’t the House and Senate immediately introduce an Impeachment resolution?
Indeed, why didn’t they do that when the GOP took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010?
Clearly, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell were “insiders” who were consumed by the legislative process and ignored the educational role of Congress.
Even though they wouldn’t have succeeded in Impeaching the President in 2010, they should have begun that process when the GOP controlled the U.S. House of Representatives six years ago.
Blame may be placed firmly on Cong. John Boehner (R-OH), but surely there is blame to be placed on his successor Cong. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for not immediately understanding that Republicans were dissatisfied and would bolt the GOP for an alternative. Ryan, too, is a Congressional “insider.”
Donald Trump is the “outsider” that Republican primary voters have chosen and that will force a total realignment of the Republican Party which can easily take three to four Presidential cycles to sort out.
Unfortunately, if there is no forceful opposition party that comes into being during that time, we may not have the luxury of politics as usual..
Irresponsible generation?, August 19, 2016
We are in the final days leading to one of the most important political decisions that
Americans will make this century, and commentators and candidates are, simply, irresponsible.
Let’s dispose, first, of the irresponsibility of both candidates.
Hillary is incapable of telling the truth, used her office to benefit her husband’s “charitable” foundation and demonstrated that, even as Secretary of State, she had bad judgment and is not suited to be an “administrator.”
The Donald is impulsive on principle and impulsively decided to run for President of the United States with little knowledge of political campaigns and without preparing to wage a campaign that would, ultimately, get out the vote. He assumed that running a country is like running a business and is too new at the game of public policy that he makes it up as he goes along.
Both HIllary and Trump are representative of a generation of Americans–the post World War II generation–who enjoyed the benefits of a world at peace, world leadership and economic prosperity. Yet, this generation did not do the hard work to understand forces in the world that wanted to destroy the United States, nor to prepare to sustain that world leadership.
That is evident in a common use of the world “dictator” to describe Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad or Robert Mugabe and any or all the authoritarian leaders that populate Third World countries and now post-Soviet Russia.
Misuse of words is something that occurs when knowledge and understanding are corrupted. Confucius saw that in 6th Century China when he called for the “rectification of names.” When we use the word “dictator” to describe authoritarians we ignore that this word is a pejorative used to describe persons who do not govern by democratic rules.
But, the more accurate word to describe how most nations are governed is “authoritarian.” The opposite, more dangerous form of authoritarian rule, is not “dictator” but “totalitarian.”
Soviet Russia was a totalitarian regime. Fidel Castro is a totalitarian ruler, the current and immediate past Presidents of Venezuela were totalitarians leaders and most important, the supreme leader of Iran, Sayyed Ali Khamenei, is a totalitarian.
Totalitarian describes a leader with a political ideology or religion that seeks to replace normal life or reality with something better that is solely made up and willed to be true. Marxism, Leninism, Communism, Socialism, Nazism, Fascism and Islamic radicalism are totalitarian ideologies.
Making distinctions, or not making them, affects public policy.
President Obama, himself trained in totalitarian Marxism, has made overtures to Fidel Castro and Ali Khamenei that are not in the national interest of the United States. He does that because he sympathizes with those regimes. Our irresponsible generation twice failed to understand the character of this young community organizer from Chicago and a disastrous course of the United States is now set for at least a generation.
Why Some Religious Colleges go Bad, August 24, 2016
The “drift” of religious colleges in the United States away from sectarian education and direction has been swift. Catholic colleges, in particular, have rapidly moved to become non-sectarian. The University of Notre Dame is a particularly egregious example that has aroused concern of some Notre Dame alumni. But the descent into non-sectarian education is most visible in New York State:
Take a look at the Websites of these formerly “Catholic” colleges and ask yourself what can be done to recover their former strength as “religious” institutions.
Marist Dominican College
New Rochelle Iona
Fordham Le Moyne
Mercy College Manhattanville
Cazenovia St. Joseph’s
College of St. Rose St. Thomas Aquinas
One of the reasons that Catholic colleges in New York State have “gone South” is because they went on the dole. In the 1960s, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and McGeorge Bundy crafted legislation called “Bundy Aid.” Bundy Aid was made available to non-profit, degree granting, accredited colleges and universities in the State of New York. Though this program no longer exists, a provision of this legislation provided subsidies to sectarian institutions under certain conditions. Here are the relevant passages affecting participation of religious institutions in Bundy Aid funding:
1) Institutions may have no denominational control. Boards must be self-perpetuating and a majority (51%) must be laypersons. (Laypersons appointed by a Bishop, for example, would be unacceptable).
2) Institutions may not require courses in religious doctrine or philosophy. Materials such as catalogs detailing degree requirements may be used as evidence.
The colleges listed above chose funding over their commitment to religious faith.
The Coming Realignment, October 9, 2016
In his 2007 study titled “Leviathan on the Right. How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution,” the Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner builds a damning case against the Administration of George W. Bush.
The destruction of limited government conservatism began when Ronald Reagan was persuaded to choose George H. W. Bush as his Vice President instead of Paul Laxalt, Governor of Nevada. That gave the internationalist wing of the GOP a grasp on the future of the Republican Party.
Though the elder Bush had excellent Republican credentials, few noticed that the only election he had won was a Congressional seat from Harris County, Texas. Bush was defeated twice, in 1964 and 1970, when he ran for the U.S. Senate from Texas. The reason. Texans knew that he was an import from New England and his father, Prescott Bush, was a liberal Republican Senator from Connecticut.
That long history of liberal Republicanism from 1964 through the end of the Administration of Bush 43 in 2009 shaped American politics from the Banking crisis of 2008 to today. Despite appeals by the most prominent Republican politicians, Donald Trump won the GOP nomination. In doing so, he broke off the GOP from the Internationalist, big government, wing of the Republican Party.
Representatives of that faction are now attempting to shape the future of the GOP by walking away from the Party’s candidate.
Here are the names of those who started to move away from Party loyalty into an unknown future where Democrats can be expected to dominate national politics until they trip up badly or involve the U.S. in a shooting war.
Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Reps. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Mia Love (R-Utah), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah, Carly Fiorina, William J. Bennett and Hugh Hewitt.
These luminaries make up one faction in a coming four Party realignment. Let’s keep track of these developments since the outcome of this realignment will determine the shape of American politics for the next one hundred years.
JFK and Donald Trump, October 8, 2016
This weekend the news is focused on Hurricane Matthew and revelations about Donald Trump’s vulgarity and womanizing. This election season has featured a series of exposes about the Republican nominee for President, and brought to mind a book by Seymour M. Hersh titled The Dark Side of Camelot published in 1997.
I came across the book at a local public library on a shelf of “donated” books placed on sale. I thought the title was intriguing and purchased it for 40 cents.
John F. Kennedy is portrayed in Hersh’s book as a politician addicted to painkillers and sexual escapades that included frequent orgies in the White House swimming pool and other convenient locations. Some were so rowdy that police were called and caught a glimpse of a naked president swimming with similarly naked women.
None of that was featured in press reports because John F. Kennedy was protected from public exposure by a media committed to his political program.
Seymour Myron “Sy” Hersh is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist who exposed the My Lai massacre, reported on mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Graib. Needless to say his book about JFK was not heralded for courageous journalism nor did it win any awards.
Today the media reports everything they can about Donald Trump and largely ignore the misdeeds of the Democrat Party’s nominee for President.
This left-wing bias goes back a very long way and has roots in corruption of the American system of higher education. Nowhere is rigorous scholarship more lacking in higher education than in our Communication and Journalism Departments. Today’s reporting classes are largely ignorant of most subjects mastered by educated persons and constitute a dangerous development. “Media bias” is a common complaint and has led to a search for alternative sources of information.
My own personal search for alternative sources of news is reported in this essay titled “Avoiding a Leftist Media–for Now”
Avoiding a Leftist Media–for Now, Sept. 7, 2016
There are some (two or three) professional journalists in each of the Cable news channels, but it is becoming difficult to stomach news reporting junked with Leftist bias. Mika Brzezinski at MSNBC, Jake Tapper at CNN and a few voices of the Left now being heard at Fox News, including Jessica Tarcov, are driving me to look for alternative sources.
Here’s where I go for my daily jolt of news coverage:
NewsMax Breitbart Drudge Washington Examiner Washington Times
Four of these five news sources have the advantage that they originated online. Print news publications are a dying breed and will struggle to develop a profitable online presence or become places for local advertising. The Wall Street Journal bridged the divide between print, online and pay media.
Though these alternative sources are very helpful, especially if you are easily angered by the likes of Mika Brzezinski or Jake Tapper, the future is clouded.
The two sons of Rupert Murdoch lack the “feel” for conditions in the United States that made Fox News under Roger Ailes a success. News Corp’s control of the New York Post, Wall Street Journal and Fox News is vulnerable to retreat from the conservative advocacy journalism that made Fox News so popular. The Wall Street Journal has always had a division or intellectual divide between its reporters and editorial staff, and the Murdoch brothers can be expected to blend the two and make the Wall Street Journal more Liberal in point of view.
Only the Washington Examiner has the potential to replace News Corp with forceful news reporting because it is owned by one of the wealthiest men in America, 79 year old Philip Anschutz. Even if 68 year old Donald Trump creates his own news network in league with 76 year old Roger Ailes, the future of American journalism is in the hands of young Lachlan Murdoch, age 45, and his brother, James R. Murdoch, age 44.
Lachlan Murdoch was educated in the United States, and that experience mixed with his life in Australia, does not bode well. Lachlan attended Aspen Country Day School, a liberal domain in Colorado, Phillips Academy a boarding school for the children of the wealthy and then graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University, not exactly the equivalent of HIllsdale College or Grove City.
James Murdoch may have more promise since after graduating from Horace Mann School in 1991 he entered Harvard, but did not graduate. James drew a comic strip for the Harvard Lampoon, and is interested in music and the arts.
The future of the media holdings of News Corp is in the hands of these two middle age men.
One possible contender for media dominance is Christopher Ruddy, age 51. Founder of NewsMax, Ruddy is the real thing.
Son of a police officer, Ruddy graduated from St. Johns University (Queens, New York) where Donald Trump attended the first two years of college. NewsMax Media, started in 1998, now generates an estimated annual revenue of $100 million. Ruddy’s NewsMax TV is distributed on DirecTV, Dish and Verizon Fios, but you have to really want straight conservative television to subscribe to a cable system that carries it, or view it online.
Television has been a difficult medium for conservatives. The Coors family tried to establish a television network, but failed. Paul Weyerich founded Empowerment Television and lost his shirt. Ted Turner did well, but, then, CNN is a vehicle for the Left. Fox News was different, but its future is clouded as succession issues come to the fore.
Also there are limitations of television that deter viewing and thus influence. Television and radio are produced in serial time. But a transcript of an hour of television or radio programming can be read in 15 minutes. Transcending those limitations requires much more revenue and promises to limit NewsMax TV to a very limited audience of hard line, conservative, older men.
The demographics of a future America are found in the Millennials which pollster Frank Luntz believes is “owned” by the Left. Add to that the domination of American higher education by a Left University, and the future course of the United States is clear: economic decline, political class warfare, and loss of influence in world affairs.
To some extent, Ronald Reagan pointed the way to recovery by political action, but he had no successors as President. Hillsdale College is a refuge for families that want their children to learn the principles of limited government and free enterprise, but Hillsdale is only one institution in a universe of thousands of colleges that teach the opposite. Our Churches are dominated by clergy who believe in the Social Gospel or priests who are devoted to Social Justice. No recovery, apparently, can be expected in the realm of politics or religion.
Education may experience creative destruction in a year or two and open the way for Internet based, high tech, institutions that go over the heads of expensive, campus-based, dinosaurs that drive up the cost of a college education.
I tried it, and know how it can be done. Perhaps, if we turn higher education around, our politics and churches will improve.
Thank you, Steve Jobs!. October 5, 2016
Steve Jobs died on this day, October 5, five years ago.
America values sport because the records set by athletes are standards of excellence that cannot be duplicated in most other pursuits. Babe Ruth’s home run record. Roger Bannister’s four minute mile and other records inspire us. As do the examples of human spirit reflected in the careers of Johnny Unitas, Roger Maris, and Joe Namath that are what political philosophers call “experiences of transcendence.” We see a glimpse of “end time” and for a moment transcend this life and live in the realm where things eternal preside.
Then someone like Steve Jobs comes along and sets a standard of excellence in Business that is unparalleled.
If you ever started a business, struggled to make it succeed, or just to make payroll, you know how much Steve Jobs has accomplished.
Like many entrepreneurs, his company came to the point that they thought they needed a “manager,” not an entrepreneur at the helm of Apple. He was kicked upstairs; a marketing “genius” from Pepsi was brought in—and nearly killed the company.
Back came Steve Jobs who turned the company around and grew Apple into the highest capitalized company in America.
If you live long enough you come to realize that there are no straight lines in human life. We set out to accomplish one thing and make frequent course corrections. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Dell and others like them experienced immediate success and built important corporations that employ hundreds of thousands of employees.
Most do not. It takes years of hard work and sacrifice that may require a series of startups before one clicks.
When you’re on that road and look at how difficult the U.S. government makes it for those who create jobs for others, you come to admire men like Steve Jobs. Jobs was adopted by Armenian parents, so maybe that had something to do with his entrepreneurial success.
In 1915 when an Islamic mullah in Turkey issued a fatwa calling for the killing of Armenian Christians, Armenians living in Turkey ran for their lives or were killed. Many got away and came to America where they were hit by the Great Depression and then World War II.
On my office wall is a registry from Ellis Island where my Armenian grandfather arrived a few weeks after the sinking of the Titanic. Even the prospect of death at sea didn’t deter him from getting out of Turkey—before the genocide. My grandmother was less fortunate and fled to Egypt where her family was broken up, her fourteen year old sister married to an Egyptian, and she made her way to America.
Few Armenian immigrants spoke English, even fewer were college educated, so they were forced to survive by their wits. Since few employment opportunities were available to them, they started businesses. The lucky ones were sponsored by Protestant religious denominations that were active in Turkey at that time. Any way they could, this generation of refugees made their way to a new and strange country, learned English, found a way to make a living and started families. Their children were old enough to serve in World War II and after the war these first generation Americans made their way in life.
One such family adopted Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs is responsible for the good fortune of tens of thousands of Americans who work for Apple. And now, the end of Steve Jobs’ journey has come, not because Steve wants to retire or because he’s bored. There are no straight lines in life and if there were, Steve Jobs would be around for future decades of opportunities to make decisions that would make Apple even greater than it is today.
Once again, thank you, Steve. You have earned our respect, admiration and gratitude.
If Trump Relies on Conservatives, October 3, 2016
“Until the Battle of the Bulge, I did not share George’s (Patton) enthusiasm for his Third Army staff which unlike those of both the First and Ninth Armies, lacked outstanding individual performers.” –Omar N. Bradley, A Soldier’s Story
Gen. Bradley’s negative comment on the staff of Gen. George Patton reflected the difficulty that Gen. Patton had in attracting top rank commanders to serve on his personal staff. Patton had ruined his career by slapping an enlisted soldier, and would have been returned to the United States for the balance of World War II but for Gen. Eisenhower’s appreciation of his ability.
When Gen. Bradley did not anticipate the German offensive in the Ardennes, the “Battle of the Bulge” would have been lost had Gen. Patton not marched his troops to Bastogne in 48 hours. Patton “made” his staff by means of his skill, mastery of mobile warfare, and sheer guts.
Today we have a nominee for President who has not been able to attract supporters of proven ability in finance, national security, education, energy, foreign policy or even trade. He has demonstrated little self-control, has not properly organized a run for the White House, and spends his time using Social Media to denigrate those who offend him.
If Donald Trump is elected, whom will he appoint to serve in his Administration? If Trump digs deep into the conservative movement, he could organize one of the best Presidential Administrations in recent history.
Secretary of State Norman Bailey
Secretary of Treasury John Rutledge
Defense John Lenczowski
Attorney General Roger Pilon
Interior Joseph Bast
Agriculture Ron Williamson
HHS Greg Scandlen
Transportation Nathan A. Benefield
Education Neal McCluskey
Veterans Administration Mackubin Owens
Homeland Security John J. Tierney, Jr.
Federal Reserve James A. Dorn
EPA H. Sterling Burnett
Pre-Revolutionary America, September 29, 2016
Do you find it interesting that President Obama is not focused on his Presidential library? Our Marxist-trained community organizer President– sensitive to revolutionary moments– seems intent on wielding power after his term ends through organizations he creates and commits to agitation and propaganda.
Visit this essay, Lenin, Obama and Black Lives Matter, to comprehend that this is not a theory.
The Presidential election of 2016 revealed that the Republican Party had lost support and was easily taken over by an outsider who is incapable of restoring the GOP as a social force. On the Democrat side, an old face stained by years of political combat, exhibits no ideas that attract younger voters. After Hillary’s first term, the Democrat Party will be a mere shell of its former greatness.
We are in a pre-revolutionary situation—not unlike that of Czarist Russia shortly before WW I—and we’re seeing a dissolution of legal coercion (the state) and transfer of hard and soft coercion to other centers of power–media, organizations committed to agitation (Black Lives Matter), institutional social forces—schools—and politicized churches—the Vatican.
If, after the Czar came Lenin, after Hillary, expect someone much worse than her predecessor.
Lenin, Obama and Black Lives Matter, Aug 16, 2016
Vladimir Lenin’s “What is to be Done?” (1902) outlined the methods that Lenin believed would achieve a successful revolution in Czarist Russia. His methods included a) maintaining large non-Party organizations with mass membership controlled by communists; b) concentration on agitation of single ideas to foment discontent; and c) organized activism aimed at “the masses,” not exclusively the “proletariat.”
President Barack Obama learned Lenin’s lessons well and took them to the Mid-West Academy in Chicago where he taught principles that other “community organizers” would use to achieve political goals by radical means. That has been documented by Dr. Stanley Kurtz in “Radical in Chief. Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism,” published in 2010.
In an interview with Stanley Kurtz conducted by the Hoover Institution’s Peter Robinson, Kurtz walks Robinson through his indictment of Barack Obama and laments that the American media did not scrutinize Obama’s “socialist” background during and up to the 2008 election.
Unfortunately, Barack Obama did not forget what he learned from his study of Lenin and gave support to, not one, but two Leninist non-party organizations designed for agitation and propaganda: Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter.
Occupy Wall Street hit at the heart of America’s financial institutions by demonstrating at the personal residences of American bank executives. Negative publicity and protests were immediate and aimed not only at Occupy Wall Street organizers but their supporters in the White House.
Black Lives Matter is a bit different since a series of actions by police in which blacks were shot has lent support to agitation and propaganda conducted by radicals associated with “the movement.”
Now Black Lives Matter has been invited to the White House and given the unofficial endorsement of the first black President of the United States. Had white voters feeling guilty when they voted for Barack Obama because of “racism” in American society understood that Barack Obama was a Leninist motivated agitator, they might have saved the United States from violence yet to come.
Elon Musk’s Arrogance, September 28, 2016
Walter A. McDougall’s history of the Space Age examined the will to control nature that underlies space exploration much as did the Renaissance Hermeticists. In sum, there is a very strong arrogance that permeates culture in the West with roots deep into the Protestant Reformation, emigration of Puritans to America, and the influence of scientific discovery.
Most of us who have interesting toys do not store them in closets. Elon Musk is an example. Musk is planning to launch a mission to Mars and by 2022 send men to Mars.
His “space company” is designed to try to advance rocket technology to enable humanity to become a space-based civilization.
Musk thinks big and is concerned about the future of mankind. Yet that future cannot be experienced except through concepts common in our time. Those concepts include issues of sustainable energy, global warming, population growth and technological progress. Listening to Musk reveals a modern, scientific man unhindered by theology, philosophy or a sense of human limits. Unfortunately, Musk was preceded by thinkers similarly motivated to control nature. The Renaissance Hermeticists developed a view of magic as a means to predict the future and control nature. You can read about them in Frances Yates’ study of Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition.
The history of Renaissance magic is part of a long tradition of attempts to free us from our humanity in the realization that we are gods.
Pittsburgh Mourns, September 26, 2016
Some of us were fortunate to grow up when some cities were communities. Pittsburgh was one of those cities and Arnold Palmer made us proud.
When Arnie began to win tournaments–sometime around 1954 or 1955–people in Pittsburgh who had never been on a golf course discovered the game. It didn’t matter that they didn’t know how many holes made up a game of golf, Arnie was one of ours.
Hailing from Latrobe, we were proud that Arnie’s fame was rubbing off on us. Some of us would drive out to Latrobe to see where Arnie played golf and on the way stop at Eat-n-Park, one of the first fast food restaurants of that era.
In contests with Jack Nikolaus, even novices could see the difference. Arnie was all flair, charging ahead, and Nikolaus was steady, a master of every stroke. It didn’t matter if Jack Nikolaus won, Arnie was from the ‘Burgh and we loved him.
I’m not sure if Pittsburgh today is still that type of community. The old Forbes Field is gone, Duquesne Gardens is gone as well as the Pittsburgh Hornets. The Steelers are big, and “overseas Pittsburghers” will gather in bars across the United States on Sundays to meet other Pittsburghers and show off their Steelers jerseys. They are happy on those days, but sad that they aren’t back home in Pittsburgh.
Rest in Peace, Arnold Palmer.
Celebrity America, January 11, 2017
Modem “rock” music, Saturday Night Live, cable television, and the Internet are shaping a “celebrity” culture with a focus on such names as Kardashian, Franken, Trump, Ventura, Prince, Jackson. These are just a few that come to mind.
What’s going on?
Remember when preachers held rallies where they burned the records of Elvis? By comparison to some musicians with sales in the hundreds of millions, Elvis is wholesome.
To some extent, this fascination with celebrity can be traced to a desire for “fame” that has been a feature of modernity and American culture going as far back as President George Washington and others of his generation. They did well for our country but they also were driven by a desire to be remembered.
All human beings comprehend that time is fleeting, so anything that can give permanence to living in time is valued. But, “celebrity”? What about good character, self-sacrifice, obeying the law, loving and caring for family?
Celebrity, being widely known, trumps (no pun intended that) and has commercial value as seen in a proliferation of “swag” marketed at celebrity websites. So, if you’re a celebrity you can enjoy being famous and make a buck on it.
Well, now, it appears you can also gain power by achieving celebrity status. Three of those names mentioned above were elected to high office, most recently, President of the United States. Taking a cue from Donald Trump, Al Franken is rumored to be thinking about a run for President.
Fortunately, there are permanent things and there is a website that promotes them. Take a look at this post from “The Imaginative Conservative.” There are places we can go to learn about what is truly important. Academy of Philosophy and Letters, the Cardinal Newman Society, are just two places I visit occasionally. And I frequently visit the Philadelphia Society’s posting of lectures given at past meetings by some of our great conservative thinkers. But, for many years the place to go to acquire this knowledge was a college campus.
Today, important academic disciplines such as the Humanities and Social Sciences attract ideologues who reject reality and seek to replace it with better, second, realities of their own concoction. For close to a half century–if you calculate the beginning of our cultural collapse to 1968–colleges and universities are populated by talented intellectuals who despise our country, our market-driven economic system of free enterprise and traditional religion.
Young Americans, fresh out of high school, who enter their world without intellectual defenses or religious faith do so at great peril.
What we’re seeing in the United States today is a consequence of the destructive influence of our colleges and universities and a rebellion, perhaps the last, by Americans who sense that something has gone terribly wrong by reaching out for a solution–from a celebrity.
Trump’s Higher Education Reforms, January 10, 2017
American higher education is so dominated by the Left that one authority on the subject has called it the “Left University”. Pollster Frank Luntz was so upset by polling of “Millennials” that he told the GOP that the Republicans had lost that generation.
Something has to be done to turn this situation around, but there are indications that the President-Elect was so burned by his experience with “Trump University” that he has walked away from any attempt to reform higher education.
In late December, National Review Online picked up a report I posted in this space that the head of Trump’s Transition Team was a “careerist” political appointee from the Administration of the U.S. Department of Education.
The sad fact is that President George W. Bush’s selection of Margaret Spellings to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education was a disaster for higher education and did nothing to change regulations that benefited the Left University.
If the Trump Administration does nothing to reform higher education, then any attempts to reform it will be set back another ten years, indebtedness by education consumers will skyrocket, college tuition will break the backs of our young people and the Left University will enjoy a decade of freedom from reforms.
There are thirteen reforms that are critical and must be included in any Trump higher education policies.
- Prohibit members of Congress and congressional staff from employment with colleges or universities.
- Repeal the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990.
- Direct the regional accreditation agencies to accredit institutions from outside their “regions.”
- Direct the regional agencies to immediately recognize solely Internet-based institutions for accreditation.
- No longer require institutions not participating in Title IV programs to adhere to U.S. Department of Education Title IV regulations.
- Lower the percentage of three-year default rates from 30% to 20%. Institutions with three-year default rates will immediately lose access to Title IV programs.
- No longer permit regional agencies to accredit Internet-based programs and recognize a new national agency for accreditation of Internet delivered programs.
- Charter an agency solely for the accreditation of MOOCs and adjust Title IV regulations to permit offering MOOCs for degree credit, if an institution offering MOOCs chooses not to participate in Title IV.
- Shift Title IV funds to the States in block grants.
- Encourage the States to subsidize corporations that create training programs.
- Abolish NACIQI or reform its method of appointing members.
- Abolish the U.S. Department of Education.
- Form an “Education Consumer Revolt” political action committee.
National Review: “An Odd Choice to Head Trump’s Education Transition Team”
By George Leef
December 22, 2016
Trump’s pick for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, seems to fit his disruptive style. She gets that the educational status quo is lousy (clearly so with K–12, and it’s hard to imagine that she believes that higher Ed is just fine) and will probably kick quite a few hornets’ nests. But far less encouraging is his choice to head up his education-transition team, James Manning.
As my friend Dick Bishirjian (a man who has done his share of disruption in higher education) explains, Manning fits the mold of an educational careerist. He served under Margaret Spellings in the Bush 43 administration, then worked in the Corporation for National and Community Service (which Bishirjian calls “an inside the Beltway organization that would only attract a careerist”) and also as acting chief operating officer of Federal Student Aid in the Obama administration. David Bergeron, an Obama “educate,” has praised Manning.
Hard to see the slightest hint of disruptiveness in any of that.
Bishirjian sums up: “Manning’s appointment is troubling and one wonders who put an careerist from the Margaret Spellings era at the Department at the head of the Trump Transition Team for Education.” Thanks for sounding the alarm, Dick!
In Memoriam, Dr. Bill Green, January 8, 2017
On January 26, 2010, Dr. William Green passed away suddenly while on active duty with the U.S. Navy.
He is remembered for his forceful advocacy of a strong national defense and, specifically, a Strategic Defense Initiative based on space-based lasers. Others advocating a space-based defense system were the President of the United States and a large number of conservative national security policy analysts.
When it became apparent that the defense “Establishment” was subverting the President’s policy, Bill Green spoke out in particular directing his criticism at the Heritage Foundation.
During the Reagan Administration the Heritage Foundation adopted a policy of “no controversy” when an issue arose that called into question the direction of the White House lest that criticism reflect badly on the first conservative President of the United States.
These are small things, but today we have no laser based defenses against ballistic missiles and we are vulnerable as never before.
RIP, Bill Green.
Dear “Jay”-The New SEC Head, January 4, 2017
A new Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Walter “Jay” Clayton, has been nominated by President-Elect Donald Trump. Here is what I want to tell him about the SEC
Dear Mr. Clayton:
Since passage of the Jobs Act of 2012, thousands of entrepreneurs have been hopeful that regulations for Crowdfunding for financing from non-accredited investors would be promulgated. Finally, last year, in hopes that the logjam had been broken, I attended a meeting of the SEC where new regulations were promulgated.
I was deeply disappointed because I attempted to use new Form D regulations that permit general solicitation of investments from accredited investors.
This is an account, of one person’s attempt to file a Form D 506(c) registration. If this account is not unlike that experienced by other persons who want to comply with SEC regulations, we’re in deep doo doo.
Without pre-judging the technical competence of the technical staff at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, this report suggests that the SEC is totally unprepared for the massive numbers of persons who will seek to register private offers of non-registered securities if and when regulations for Crowdfunding from non-accredited investors are promulgated.
The journey anyone seeking to comply with new Crowdfunding regulations begins by going to the SEC’s unnecessarily complicated website located at http://www.sec.gov. Finding where to go on that website to make application requires at least one, and possibly, two phone calls to the SEC’s technical support staff.
Finding the telephone number to call is also difficult. Telephone numbers at the SEC re not posted on the Home Page. Rather, it is necessary to scroll to the bottom of www.sec.gov and click “contact.” If you do that, you will see that the SEC’s phone number can be obtained by clicking “Key Telephone Numbers.” There you will find twenty telephone numbers. Of those nineteen telephone numbers, which should you choose?
The number you need to contact Technical Support staff is listed as:
SEC Toll-Free Investor Information Service: 1-800-SEC-0330
Since we are by custom used to pressing the numbers buttons on our phones, and because some phones, particularly older ones, do not readily display what numbers the letters “S” “E” “C” represent, this designation simply places an additional step on your way to calling the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
A review of SEC regulations tells you that in order to make an “Edgar” filing, you need a CIK code. If you’re curious and wonder what “CIK” stands for you must use the “Search” function. A “CIK” code is the “Central Index Key.”
Once you contact the SEC’s technical support staff they will courteously assist you in making application for a CIK code. This will require at least two phone calls to technical support to find out how to do that.
After you obtain a CIK code and attempt to become an “Edgar Filer,” you will find that no matter how hard you try, the system won’t access your CIK Code and password.
This requires two additional calls to the SEC’s Technical Support staff. I was told that only Internet Explorer 8 can be used to complete your application. That was awhile back, so I hope things have been improved But, I recommend using only Internet Explorer when filing anything with the SEC.
Even then, It took this reporter three days and eight phone calls to make a successful filing.
If your offer of non-registered securities actually leads to some financing, the filer must submit an amendment to his Form D and indicate how much financing was raised.
Like most procedures, unless you use them frequently you lose what you learned in order to complete them. Again, the SEC website isn’t helpful, so another call to Technical Support is required.
When you do that you will be told that the SEC’s Technical Support staff are not attorneys. They are trained to assist persons making their initial filing, not all the follow-up filings that may be required.. For instructions in that procedure you are given a number (202 551 3460) where the legal information needed to comply with regulation 506(c) could be obtained.
That number has a recording with two options. If you stay on the line, you may give your name and contact information and the reason for your call. The office will attempt to reply within one business day. Or, you may choose to speak to the operator. That option leads to a recording with a similar message.
Leaving a message with the operator is useless.
If you want assistance you must use the latter option, and leave a message with the SEC’s legal staff. Three attorneys responded to repeated messages that were left on the SEC’s answering machine, none of whom knew what to do at the SEC’s website.
This experience was frustrating and speaks volumes to the inattention to “customers” at the SEC and most government agencies. After all, the SEC’s mission is to enforce the law, not make it easy for entrepreneurs to comply with the SEC’s regulations.
It is clear, however, that few personnel in a responsible appointive position at the SEC has attempted to use the SEC’s website to attempt to file or submit anything required of those who must comply with SEC regulations.
And, despite the celebrity of those new Crowdfunding regulations that a Trump SEC may permit entrepreneurs to use the Internet to solicit investments from non-accredited investors, the SEC has done nothing to prepare for that eventuality.
The solution to this clear inability of government to treat taxpayers as “customers” may be the private sector.
For example, if you want to find out who is making Form D filings, the SEC website is too complicated.
But, if you go to a commercial site, http://www.formds.com, to find what Form D filings have been made, it’s very easy to find out.
No company in America would long survive, if its public websites functioned in the manner that the SEC website functions.
Is the entire leadership and professional staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission incompetent? No. They are simply not equipped for Internet communications.
If you use the Search mechanism at www.sec.gov to search for “SEC Chairman,” for example, you are taken to a page that takes you to the biography of Chairman May Jo White. Why be bashful? Place the Chairman’s picture, biography and contact information on the Home page and invite the public to contact him.
The Democrats will be back!, January 3, 2017
Democrats should practice Arnold Schwarzenneger’s line in Terminator, “I’ll be back!” Despair not, big government Left-wing policies will return and, probably, not before long. Democrats may be bereft of leaders and ideas, but they have one good idea–Democrats are against the GOP’s mistakes.
Mistakes, what mistakes?
Remember, the GOP lost control of its Party to a celebrity businessman by inaction. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell never took advantage of their majorities, first in the House and later in the Senate. They sat on their hands, never introduced Impeachment resolutions against Barack Obama. And when House conservatives revolted against Speaker Boehner, they chose Paul Ryan who accepted the position only if he didn’t have to be away from home on weekends.
Mitch McConnell is a moderate Republican who speaks loudly and carries a limp stick. If the GOP is to survive, both Ryan and Boehner should be deposed and replaced with persons who can lead the Congressional Party, even against President Trump, when he adopts the New Deal policies he so dearly likes.
Today, the first day of the new Congress, began with a proposal by Cong. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) that would diminish ethical reforms. This is the same Goodlatte who took the moral high ground in 2006 and introduced legislation blocking Internet gambling.
When faced with this highly suspect proposal, Paul Ryan did not threaten to resign, but permitted his House of Representatives to be embarrassed by public outcries and rejection by President-Elect Trump.
That was the first day. I assure you, there will be many more days like this and by 2018 Democrats will begin to call themselves Terminators.
Trump’s Conflict of Interest “Problem”, Jan 2, 2017
As the wealthiest modern President of the United States, Donald Trump’s holdings in land, resorts, golf courses and hotels present potential conflicts of interest. And, smelling blood, CNN instituted something that it calls “Conflict of Interest” watch.
Trump’s hotel in the Old Post Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC , for example, has been cited for potential conflicts of interest. As owner of the hotel, he has a conflict of interest when foreign leaders or corporations with federal contracts use the hotel, allegedly, in order to curry favor with the President of the United States.
The presence of Ivanka Trump, her husband, Gerald Kushner and brother, Donald Trump, Jr., at meetings with the Prime Minister of Japan and in a specially convened meeting with high tech, Silicon Valley, executives are indications of other potential conflicts of interest.
Most Americans will ignore these kinds of expressions of “concern” as representative of Media bias or just plain “cheap shots.” But there is a deeper issue that the new President and his family must face.
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter, succeeded in passing legislation making it a crime to bribe foreign officials. I know something about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) because. from 1989 to 1995, I engaged in financial transactions in Poland. The standard bribe was $1 million and American companies that wanted to win competitive bids on public contracts or purchase state owned companies would be asked to pay up.
I wanted to do business in Poland because I had good relations with members of Solidarity and I felt that we sold Poland down the river after the second world war and consigned Poland to subjugation by the Soviet Union.
I was an early entrant into Poland and naive about these things. But, later I realized that French, German and some American companies were bribing Polish officials and company managers and, in light of FCPA I could not compete with those practices.
How then, do American companies do business in countries where ethical standards are not as rigorous as those in the United States?
Yesterday, Rachel Maddow devoted her television program on MSNBC to imply that new Trump hotels and resorts in Indonesia were made possible by Carl Icahn’s influence in Indonesia based upon his large interest in the world’s largest copper and gold mining company.
FCPA makes it illegal for American companies and their supervisors to influence foreign officials with any personal payments or rewards, so get ready for the U.S. Senate to make this an issue when Cabinet nominees are scrutinized by the U.S.Senate.
https://dickbishirjian.com/2017/01/02/trumps-conflict-of-interest-problem/ – respond
SEPTEMBER 24, 2016
University students during the era of the Cold War were subjected to the many ideologies that roiled civil society in the 1960s and 1970s. The dominant ideology–Liberalism–assumed that traditional concepts of limited government and religious values were “overdone” and we should be open to new ideas, government policies and non-traditional lifestyles. I published an account of that experience which shaped my political philosophy and subsequent career.
I was seeking understanding of why my professors were so wrong about present and future America and after graduating I went to the University of Notre Dame where a significant percentage of my professors had emigrated to the United States to escape persecution in Nazi Germany and in, one case, communist Hungary.
I learned from their experience to reject Nazi and communist ideology and I, with many of my colleagues, took a two semester course in which we studied a great many of the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao.
Two of my colleagues became specialists in intelligence and one was hired as a researcher at the CIA. There he found that his colleagues were uninformed about communist ideology and he quickly moved to another agency. His disbelief that CIA analysts were so mistaken about the ideological motives of the Soviet Union left him shaken to his core. My other colleague published a series of books analyzing American intelligence practices and in one he argued that ” intelligence failures in the past pale in comparison with the deep malaise affecting the entire service today.”
While in the Reagan Administration and later when working in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, I learned that if I wanted an informed interpretation of events, I should avoid U.S. Embassy personnel and the CIA.
Three days ago, I came across a report that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, has revealed that he was admitted to service as a young CIA research analyst even though he admitted that he had voted for Gus Hall, the Communist Party candidate for President, in 1976.
That was about the time that my colleague was so upset by the views of his CIA colleagues that he had to transfer to another agency because he simply did not fit in with other CIA officers who did not have a similar understanding of Marxism-Leninism.
China Horse Club
AUGUST 26, 2018
Thoroughbred racing season at Saratoga race course in Saratoga Springs, New York is a wonderful place to get away from Manhattan and watch the best trainers, horses and jockeys in American horseracing.
Taking the train from Grand Central for a race day or two in Saratoga Springs is one of the best summer entertainment venues in the Northeast.
It is also a place to observe the curious entry into American horseracing by the China Horse Club, an organization originating in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
That raises questions of involvement of a foreign government in American entertainment and could lead to inclusion of the China Horse Club in the Trump Administration’s trade policies toward the PRC.
On Saturday I watched races 6, 7 and 8 at Saratoga and was somewhat disconcerted.
In race 6, two horses trained by Dale Romans came in 1 and 2. It is highly unusual for a trainer to enter two horses in the same race and for both to place is unheard of. Romans, also, is known not to hold anti-drugging rules in high regard.
In race 7, a horse entered by China Horse Club and ridden by Mike Smith came in first. Mike Smith clearly fouled the number two horse, but was not disqualified.
Smith’s fowl was a bush league act more common at 3rd tier racecourses in New Mexico, not in a premier event at Saratoga.
In Race 8, a $500,000 race on dirt for 7 furlongs, Mike Smith was riding a horse trained by Bob Baffert and Jose Ortiz was on a horse trained by Chad Brown. Mike Smith won again and Ortiz was third. A horse entered by the China Horse Club did not place.
Possible drugging, a foul that did not lead to a disqualification and PRC-based entries are causes to wonder how deeply compromised is the New York Racing Association.
My Pick for the Kentucky Derby
MAY 1, 2016
American thoroughbred racing has a long tradition going back to our own Colonial era. And every year the Kentucky Derby calls attention to the Triple Crown. This year’s Kentucky Derby will be held on Saturday, May 7, at Churchill Downs.
There are some very good horses in this year’s Derby and Nyquist is one of the best. Bu I like a 50-1 shot whose name is Toms Ready.
Toms Ready represents some breeding lines that include Broad Brush and Ack Ack, two of my favorite American thoroughbred horses.
Why? Horses out of Broad Brush have the knack of coming in second most of the time and horses whose pedigree can be traced to Ack Ack consistently win. That pedigree is the equivalent of an energy drink and at 50-1 Broad Brush should be included in Exacta wagers and in Win, Place, Show wagers.
Leftist-bias at Yahoo.news
AUGUST 18, 2018
Yahoo headquartered in Sunnyvale, California was founded in 1994 by Stanford University graduate students in electrical engineering. The founders, Jerry Yang and David Filo, with Yang as CEO, managed the company for six years until Yang was replaced in 2009.
The company went through a series of CEOs until 2017 when Yahoo was acquired by Verizon Communications through its subsidiary, Oath Inc. Oath manages Yahoo!, AOL.com, AOL Mail CompuServe, HuffPost, MapQuest, Netscape, and at least five other Internet properties, including Verizon Digital Media Services.
If you have a free Yahoo e-mail account, you access Yahoo.news in order to access Yahoo.mail. I have found that Yahoo.news is decidedly more “Left-leaning” than Google.news. You might wonder why Verizon allows media bias to enter this company’s news reports and the answer appears to lead back to Yahoo’s beginnings and its willingness to adhere to restrictions placed on companies in the People’s Republic of China.
Human Rights Watch published a report titled “Race to the Bottom–Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship” and in 2008 PCmag published a report examining Cisco, Yahoo and Google’s operations in the PRC.
Doing business in totalitarian countries requires compromises that major corporations are willing to make in order to gain access to markets. But, why is Yahoo.news slanted to the Left?
Bannon’s Political Party
AUGUST 16, 2018
No sooner did I call for formation of a national Conservative Party than Steve Bannon announced formation of Citizens of the American Republic. This new political action committee will be accompanied by a feature film to be released in early September. The film calls for citizens to fight a war on behalf of the Trump Presidency.
We should be thankful for small favors. Bannon could have announced his candidacy for the Presidency.
Bannon, is a former hedge fund executive with no experience in government and an interest in film and documentaries. He is very much like Leni Reifenstahl, promoter of the Nazi Party whose “Triumph of the Will” is a classic of political propaganda.
A fundamental purpose of politics is the resolution of conflict. Anyone in the political arena in any era, Adolph Hitler is a prime example, who intentionally creates conflict, whether racial (George Wallace), economic (Earl Browder), political (Steve Bannon) or religious (Fr. Charles Coughlin) is a danger to the peace and justice of the political order.
Let us hope that Bannon’s Citizens of the American Republic goes the way of the Dixiecrats, the International Workers of the World, the Bolsheviks and other political movements that abhorred politics and instead wanted to wage war.
A National Conservative Party
AUGUST 16, 2018
Those of us living during the next two years in America will see a possible Impeachment of the President of the United States, the weakness of our Two-Party system of government will be exposed and some very bad actors will roil our politics by seeking the GOP and Democrat nominations for the Office of President of the United States in 2020.
A realignment of the two Party system is underway and now is the time for political, social and economic conservatives to create a national Conservative Party and compete with a “Trump Party,” the Internationalist wing of the GOP led by Mitt Romney and John Kasich, and the Democrat Party.
I’m a believer in the common sense of the American people and in the durable character of our laws, the Constitution of the United States and the fundamental freedoms that define the American way of life. So I think we’ll make it safely through the next two years.
That came home to me about 22 years ago when I went to a “Superman” movie in the Mall of America in Minneapolis. When Superman, Clark Kent, affirms his belief in “truth, justice and the American way,” the audience vociferously clapped their approval!
Our political parties, and particularly the Republican Party, have been weakened by a decision by some of our best and brightest Americans not to seek political careers. Many would like to serve their country, but they don’t want to subject themselves to attacks by our reporting class of “Journalists” who are driven to destroy anyone who asserts that he believes, like Clark Kent, in “truth, justice and the American way.”
Yet, I venture to say that most Americans share that belief and are seeking one or maybe two leaders who affirm what they believe. Unfortunately, the 21st century’s problems are the result of the disruption of Europe in the 20th century by a series of wars. We were drawn into the first “World War,” and our politics today have been shaped ever since, by the spirit of the President who took us into a War in order, he said, “to destroy balance of power politics.”
Woodrow Wilson’s belief in international law, brought into existence by force of arms, and the collective action of what he called a “League of Nations” were principles of a religious belief in “Internationalism.” That political religion identified a series of American Presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama. In fact, this year all the living “Internationalist” Presidents had their picture taken with Lady GaGa!
From Belleau Wood to Iraq, Americans have died in wars dedicated to a quasi-religious commitment to Internationalism. Donald Trump saw the falsehoods in that and called for a policy favoring the American nation–first. Trump’s challenge to the GOP that Trump captured in what Newt Gingrich called a “hostile takeover” is not going to permit “Internationalism” to die. As a consequence, the GOP will not survive in its present form. President Trump will be challenged in 2020 by the Internationalist Mitt Romney, that is “if” the President survives Impeachment.
Nazis Under the Bed
AUGUST 14, 2018
There’s a lot of interest in parallels between Donald Trump and Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The President’s autocratic rhetoric leaves him open to such comparisons, but better than calling him a Nazi or Fascist, we should ask if President Trump has “totalitarian” tendencies.
Totalitarians are prepared to destroy real people, cultures–reality itself—in order to bring about a better reality.
I’m not seeing that in President Trump, so why all these criticisms of Trump as a Nazi or Fascist?
One of my colleagues who was a television producer used to refer to the History Channel as the “Hitler Channel.” My mother’s family got out of Germany before WW I, so I’ve not been personally touched by the actions of Hitler’s Germany. But there is an abundance of German newsreels from that era to remind me of what happened after they left.
My life was more affected by the Soviet Union, Castro’s communist Cuba, the Cuban missile crisis and Ronald Reagan’s decision to invade Grenada. Given all that, why isn’t there much about the former Soviet Union and the atrocities of Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev in documentary and feature films. That there isn’t is too bad since the Gulag Archipelago was larger than the death camps in Nazi Germany and crushed more lives.
Why can’t our film producers delve into that history, go to Russia and buy up films of that era and conduct interviews with survivors of the Gulag? Or, better yet, go to the People’s Republic of China and attempt to produce a documentary on Mao Tse-tung?
The reason, I fear, is that our journalists, documentary and film producers, were indoctrinated in Progressive Left ideas when in college and are just plain ignorant of this other evidence of man’s inhumanity to man. Before there were penalties for “hate speech,” we would call these journalists “stupid.”
Russia’s Takeover of Georgia
AUGUST 14, 2018
I caught an interview on Fox with House Intelligence committee chairman, Devin Nunes, outlining the aggressive buildup of Russian military in Georgia. This is an important issue so, in order to learn more, I turned to a podcast recorded on August 10 of John Batchelor’s radio program.
There, John Batchelor, in an interview with former Deputy Assistant to President Trump, Sebastian Gorka. delved into this problem in greater detail. Gorka resigned his appointment about the time Steve Bannon departed the White House staff. Gorka’s and Bannon’s absence left a gap in Trump’s foreign policy team that was buttressed only by appointment of National Security Advisor, John Bolton. Such changes in staff should not materially affect a nation’s foreign policy, but this Administration’s foreign policies are never certain.
Russian aggression in Georgia and Ukraine is the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s attempt to rebuild the Russian Empire. President Trump’s lack of a foreign policy directed at Putin’s ambitions is a threat to stable relations between our two countries.
A Second Civil War
AUGUST 13, 2018
After the election results in the November 1964 Presidential election were tallied, we young conservatives–fresh out of college–had to decide what to do next. Many of us were intellectuals who were captivated by Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, Russell Kirk’s Conservative Mind and Eric Voegelin’s New Science of Politics. We figured that if we could earn a Ph.D. we could obtain employment as a college teacher and adjust to a socialist America and Soviet dominated Europe and Asia. If we became attorneys we could make a good living and maybe run for political office. Many of us hunkered down and joined the family business.
After half a century, we still got a quasi-Socialist American economy, but the seventy-five year domination of Russia and Eastern Europe by a Marxist-Leninist Communist Party ended in 1991.
That was twenty-seven years ago and what do we have to show for it?
Something happened to “us.”
If we remained political or economic conservatives–even with PhDs–employment was blocked except at third and fourth tier colleges. If we were theologically inclined Protestants, our religious denominations were more interested in salvation in this life.
Few of us who were Catholics were inclined to the Catholic priesthood because the rules of obedience and celibacy are just too much to ask in a Church that is committed to “Social Justice.”
But, we still are looking at a coming collapse of the American economy from Entitlement programs, and spending to which we cannot say “No.”
Beyond our shores, a renascent Russian government is engaged in recovering the Russian Empire.
Western Europe no longer is tethered to the philosophic and theological principles of the Christian West.
Here at home, our system of education, public and private, is corrupting our youth.
As we look ahead two years to the November 2020 Presidential election we can see only possible calamity–dissolution of even the strongest political Party bonds–and a high likelihood that what the Framers of our Constitution hoped would become our future will be discarded in a likely military solution.
We went through a similar period in the years leading up to our first Civil War. But, that war was between States. The coming Civil War will be between “us” and “them.”
May God help us as we face the next two years of self-government.
AUGUST 11, 2018
Over many years, I’ve encountered a variety of forms of racism. The most alarming was a vicious anti-Semitism expressed in the New York City “rug market” by a Syrian merchant. A lesser type of anti-Semitic racism took form by referring to Jews as “Kikes.”
At a wedding I attended as the guest of a high school buddy who is now a Reform Rabbi, someone threw a hub cap into our dining area. The other guests who were Jewish took something like that for granted. But, I was outraged since anti-Christian acts were not anything I had experienced. I probably should have remembered what my grandfather and grandmother experienced during the Armenian genocide.
Growing up in Pittsburgh, I heard hundreds of racial epithets aimed at African-Americans. That was Pittsburgh in the 1960s through 1980s. At a Pitt/Notre Dame football game, I heard Pitt fans say “Look at that little monkey go” when Notre Dame’s Raghib “Rocket” Ismail ran for a touchdown. And baseball’s Jackie Robinson endured terrible harassing for breaking the color barrier in professional baseball.
Gender epithets were aimed at women who were called “Sluts,” and Poles were called “Pollocks” and “Hunkies,” Irish were called “Micks,” and Italians “Dagos” or “Botchagaloop.”
Today the epithet “Racist” is directed at Donald Trump for some rough language he has used and because he appeals to a form of ethnic nationalism first used effectively in the late 1960s by the British MP, Enoch Powell.
One of my former consultants was an Egyptian Christian who endured anti-Christian attitudes by Muslim citizens of Egypt.
That type of racism is quite obvious, but there is a less obvious form that might be called “Reverse Racism.” So much is made of President Trump’s alleged racism that one wonders if those throwing that label at Trump are not themselves “Racist.” MSNBC and CNN are the worst examples of that, so concentrated is their “anti-racism.” If I were an African-American, I’d begin to ask– “down deep, are they racists?”
I’ve noticed that some men who are super-Feminists actually hate women, as if they are overcompensating for deep animosity they feel toward their mothers or ex-wives.
What’s the bottom line? People like being around people like themselves. That’s the origin of ethnic, religious and even political tribalism. So, be careful whom you call a Racist, that bell tolls for thee.
Enoch Powell, Nietzsche and Donald Trump
MAY 4, 2018
In American politics, Donald Trump is unique, but if we look to England of forty years ago, we’ll find someone very much like “The Donald.”
In the mid-1960s, a British member of Parliament, Enoch Powell, commanded the attention of the British public by his stance against immigration and the British Labor Party’s Race Relations Bill.
Collapse of Britain’s empire after World War II generated a flood of immigrants from British India and other Dominions that threatened the racial makeup of England.
By the late 1960s, Indian Sikh’s were visible on British transit as bus drivers and Council Housing that had served a largely white British working class was roiled by the admission of non-white immigrants from the Dominions.
Enoch Powell’s stand against immigration attracted the support of British workers who had never supported Conservative politicians, but felt threatened by the influx of immigrants. When the Conservative Party won the 1970 general election, Powell’s supporters claimed that Powell’s stance on immigration guaranteed the Conservative victory.
Powell, unlike Trump, was an academic, a classicist and student of philosophy who early in his career was fascinated with the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. Will to power is a strong impulse in all politicians, but Enoch Powell’s identification with Nietzsche went beyond the pale of English politics and raised concerns that Powell had not learned lessons from Britain’s battle with Nazi Germany.
Opponents of Trump express concern about his frequent verbal slights against women (the weaker sex), his failure to search for specialists in public policy who might inform and enrich his views, his self-confidence and absolute belief in his own intuition and judgment.
Those characteristics are compatible with Nietzsche’s concept of the Superman or Übermensch.
Trump’s appeal to strength against weakness is not necessarily Nietzchean, but we should not be surprised, therefore, that a businessman, seemingly unprepared for public office, has found approval with Republicans after years of expansionist American foreign policies.
They should beware assuming that Trump will reverse the consequences of George W. Bush’s democratic religion. Trump ran against the expansionist foreign policy decisions of George W. Bush, but politicians motivated in the belief of their own superiority are not likely to retreat from using force in any confrontation.
AUGUST 9, 2018
One of the causes shaping the election of a Celebrity President is a fundamental reality:
American political culture is in decline.
We see that in the low public opinion of Congress whose members are so “ordinary,” lack of interest in political careers by our “best and brightest,” “journalists” who believe they are citizens of the world, and an essential materialism that infuses American society.
American political culture is on a “downer” unlike in any other, more exuberant, eras that defined the American people.
After the French and Indian War, American colonists became conscious of shared interests independent from the British Crown. From that came the “Spirit of ’76.”
Other positive eras were similarly defined: World War I (the Roaring Twenties) and World War II (anti-Communism). In 1991 the “Evil Empire” collapsed releasing the energies of formally “captive nations,” but in the United States American political leaders were defined by peripheral impulses, not central virtues.
Jimmy Carter’s impious moralism, George H.W. Bush’s Kennebunkport “Internationalism,” Bill Clinton’s rapacious sexual appetite, George W. Bush’s recovery from addiction and, of course, Donald J. Trump’s “Celebrity.”
We would not be Americans, if we didn’t ask “What next?”
That question reveals some difficult problems. The ranks of Congressional leaders are composed of the lackluster, Paul Ryan, the cunning, Marco Rubio, the zealots, Ted Cruz, and socialists Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. None exists to give confidence that after Trump we’ll find anything better.
There is a solution: change the culture. How can we do that?
Remove the Progressive Left from dominance in American higher education. Institute tough libel and slander laws and constrain the citizens of the world who make up our ranks of “Journalists,” and recover civic education as a component of our high schools and colleges.
Do that and Jesse Watters’ “World” will feature interviews with sensible, knowledgeable citizens not unlike those who fought a war to establish the independence of the American colonies.
Female “Conservative” Impersonators
AUGUST 6, 2018
How many times have you seen the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin described as “conservative.” Perhaps that word describes Rubin’s hatred for conservatives, but not one of her columns or television appearances at MSNBC has commented positively on conservatives.
Rubin is a female conservative impersonator.
Another conservative impersonator is MSNBC’s Elise Jordan who has been described as a former “staffer” to Sen. Rand Paul, Republican strategist and NR contributor along with other “conservative” roles she has performed. Jordan, too, is a Leftist, impersonator, and parrots the MSNBC line for the newly packaged Liberal centrist, Joe Scarborough.
Another is former communications director for George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain’s campaign for President, Nicolle Wallace, In that role she undercut McCain’s VP running-mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, presumably in order to curry favor with NBC’s Katie Couric. Wallace now has a regular program each afternoon at MSNBC.
And then there’s Andrea Mitchell who parlayed her marriage to former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, into access to GOP circles, but never utters a favorable word about the GOP on her MSNBC program.
There are, of course, some terrific women conservatives in media and various think tanks, but none makes it into the Leftist precincts of MSNBC owned by Liberal Democrat partisan Brian L. Roberts. I’m inclined to believe that Roberts and AT&T that owns Warner Media manager of CNN need to put a couple of real female conservatives on their programs or risk having their wings clipped.
Whom should they consider?
How about Susan Ferrechio or the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway.
There would be more women media persons to consider, but you need a “break” to get started. If you study “Journalism” at a major Journalism school you’ll be indoctrinated in PC ideology. Stan Evans ran a Journalism Center for conservatives who wanted to crack into journalism, but Stan died in 2015. Here’s a link to alumni of Stan’s school. Young America’s Foundation continues Stan’s program, but there are very few conservatives like Stan who believe in education and YAF’s focus is on high school age students.
Paul Weyrich did something special when he founded National Empowerment Television. Bright young college educated conservatives were employed at NET and learned video programming, production, and the many skills that support television programming. Today, there is no track like that that to guarantee a job in media; you have to create your own. One way to do that is to become active in your college’s radio station and parlay that experience into an entry level job at a local radio or TV station. Other than that, good luck–and don’t let potential employers know that you like Susan Ferrechio or Mollie Hemingway.
AUGUST 5, 2018
If you read the transcript of the press conference in Helsinki on July 16 you will see one responsible national leader and another who is outclassed. Apparently the American electorate came to the same conclusion and the Trump White House has played “Defense” for four weeks.
Read Putin’s statement carefully because he came prepared and touched on topics vital to the national interest of Russia:
- the conflict between the US and Russia is no longer “ideological”;
- absence of “mechanisms” for resolving conflict;
- economic problems;
- environmental issues;
- nonproliferation on weapons of mass destruction;
- extension of the Strategic Offensive Arms Limitation Treaty;
- American anti-missile defenses;
- INF treaty;
- Weapons in outer space;
- mutual cooperation of intelligence services;
- North Korea;
- JCPOA and Iran
- Russian interference in the 2016 election;
- expansion of business and cultural contacts; AUGUST 4, 2018If we discount Russia as a threat to internal stability of American politics and properly assess Russia’s severely strained economic condition, we should conclude that Russia can be a threat to Western Europe, only if it can regain Ukraine and grow its economy back to health. Russia’s nuclear armaments are a threat, but only if Russia intends to use them offensively.The PRC wants to dominate the Republic of China, South Korea and Japan and will grow its economy and military toward that end. North Korea wants to remain the private domain of Kim Jon-Un.But, both Russia and the PRC can be restrained by economic policies that reward or punish both countries for good or bad economic and political behavior. Were I the CEO of a company with ambitions to grow sales in the Chinese market, I would immediately change course. Tariffs and trade restrictions will roil trade with China for many years and lay even the best laid marketing plans to waste.Trump Needs a Roy CohnPresident Donald Trump selected Jeff Sessions to serve as U.S. Attorney General at his strongest and weakest moment. Virtually alone among Republican Senators, Sessions, had supported Trump’s candidacy from the beginning and was rewarded for that loyalty. If the President were more experienced in politics, he would have known that Jeff Sessions wasn’t a good choice for Attorney General.Dartmouth conservative, Dr. Jeffrey Hart, once observed that Roy Cohn was the most evil person he had ever known. But Roy Cohn had a history as a political warrior going as far back as his time working for U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) who brought to light infiltration by members of the Communist Party into the U.S. State Department. His hearings targeted Alger Hiss as a spy for the Soviet Union and Cohn himself was famous for attempting to remove Leftist books from U.S. Libraries maintained abroad by the USIA.Where Roy Cohn fought the Liberal Establishment that failed to understand the nature of Communism and was motivated to deny the Establishment of power over his clients, Jeff Sessions was the epitome of a southern Establishment, a true southern gentleman, a man of personal and public virtue. That very virtue denies him the skills President Donald Trump needs when the Establishment wages attacks against his Administration.Perhaps duplicity is a characteristic of all successful politicians and that character flaw is what President Trump needs in his Attorney General when facing an indictment as “co-conspirator” in a conspiracy to obtain stolen information about Hillary Clinton from Russia’s Vladimir Putin.Trump ran his Trump Organization in the belief that niceties of the law are for losers, not winners, and Trump was running for office because he believed, correctly, that he could return the GOP to favor, if he could win a majority of white voters with a combination of New Deal, New Right and anti-immigration policies that no Republican had advocated since Richard Nixon.Roy Cohn was that man, but there are others in American politics, successful, “respectable,” lawyers and lobbyists who don’t care about the niceties of the law, only their client’s desire to stay out of prison. JULY 29, 2018I’ve tried to suggest the names of several conservative specialists in national security and foreign policy who would help develop a foreign policy for this Administration. And in the field of education I’ve been critical of appointments made by this Administration at the U.S. Department of Education and failure to reform higher education regulations to benefit long-suffering education consumers. Conservative scholars who could assist to turn this around by appointing them to the Department are:Historians (Mark G. Malvasi; Carey M. Roberts; Larry E. Schweikart)Art Historians (Arthur Pontynen)Literary Critics (Mitchell Kalpakgian; John A. Arnold)These scholars have no government experience. EXACTLY! They are quick learners and will seize the initiative immediately!Larry Kudlow is a standout appointment in Economics, John Bolton less so at the National Security Council and Peter Navarro’s crazy economic theories and the presence of the President’s daughter and husband at the White House are disgraceful. Occasionally, I’m surprised by an appointment or two which I attribute to the influence of Newt Gingrich, but they are few and far between. I must conclude that there is no silk purse in this sow’s ear of a Presidency.Trump’s Popularity ExplainedPresident Trump’s popularity with working class citizens who have been the electoral base of the Democrats since 1932 is related to race.The President’s popularity is similar to political developments in the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland and Hungary. Those nations are racially homogeneous and are challenged today by immigration by non-Europeans. Their citizens are responding to politicians who oppose Muslim immigration.This is a problem in political philosophy that can be explained by a political religion that promotes “Dreams vs. Reality.Those events led to political turmoil in civil society during the 1960s and early 1970s and domination today by the Left of the centralized “Deep State,” religious denominations and hierarchies, charities and philanthropic institutions, universities and popular film and media.America’s Authoritarian “New Class”Vietnam veteran, and seventy-seven year old Judge, T.S. Ellis II, has been around the block several times and not inclined to accept the goals of the Mueller investigation..Like the “industrial, military complex” that President Eisenhower warned against in 1961, the new complex raises the stakes by painting anyone who disagrees as deplorable.“This investigation that had led to this indictment… has nothing to do with Russia or the campaign,” said Ellis. “We said this is what our investigation is about, but we’re not bound by it, and we were lying. You care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you that could lead to Mr. Trump.”Fortunately, there is one sound mind in authority to rebuke the new class.Enoch Powell, Nietzsche and Donald TrumpIn American politics, Donald Trump is unique, but if we look to England of forty years ago, we’ll find someone very much like “The Donald.”Collapse of Britain’s empire after World War II generated a flood of immigrants from British India and other Dominions that threatened the racial makeup of England.Enoch Powell’s stand against immigration attracted the support of British workers who had never supported Conservative politicians, but felt threatened by the influx of immigrants. When the Conservative Party won the 1970 general election, Powell’s supporters claimed that Powell’s stance on immigration guaranteed the Conservative victory.Opponents of Trump express concern about his frequent verbal slights against women (the weaker sex), his failure to search for specialists in public policy who might inform and enrich his views, his self-confidence and absolute belief in his own intuition and judgment.Trump’s appeal to strength against weakness is not necessarily Nietzchean, but we should not be surprised, therefore, that a businessman, seemingly unprepared for public office, has found approval with Republicans after years of expansionist American foreign policies. MAY 3, 2018That means I’ll have to review other Starbuck’s blends, but the passing of Morning Joe and Starbuck’s Gold Coast coffee is significant.At first, the show was fresh and Scarborough’s GOP affiliations were occasionally visible. Balanced by the daughter of Carter Administration National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and partnered with a former sport journalist and Duke University graduate, Willie Geist, Morning Joe was Left-of-center, but informative.Joe Scarborough himself has abandoned the GOP and gone Left in attitude and is mean-spirited with personal attacks on President Trump.What’s that? That’s a form of speaking by making a statement and repeating it four or five times. That is so annoying that, like Starbuck’s, I’m abandoning Morning Joe.“The Good, Bad and the Ugly,” 2018 The Good: Not a reader, the celebrity remembers conversations with his father who felt that we should not have turned American involvement in Korea to the UN, hated Nixon for turning his back on Chiang Kai-shek’s China and his own dislike of George W. Bush and “W’s” unnecessary invasion of Iraq.The Ugly: Jared Kushner, Scott Pruitt, Gen. Michael Flynn, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, Office of Presidential PersonnelMilitarization of “the Deep State”President Trump’s harangues against the “Deep State” are contradicted by the militarization of his Administration. C-SPAN provided a video and commentary on last night’s State dinner for the President of France that reveals the intrusion of military ritual into the conduct of White House ceremonies. C-SPAN’s lengthy interview with Capricia Marshall, Chief of Protocol for the Clinton Administration, is a witless revelation of how deep is the “Deep State” in the rituals of Presidential state dinners. APRIL 24, 2018At least Dan Quayle read about great “leaders.” President Trump’s reading ability is limited and what he remembers about France and the United States is wrapped in Independence Day oratory that extolled the French during our War of Independence and the victory at Yorktown made possible by the French Navy that blocked the British fleet under Cornwallis from escaping.With that “bad France” we have nothing in common.Growth of the Welfare StateGrowth of the Welfare State was once a concern of conservative Republicans. A topic that will surely be discussed by the President of France and President Donald Trump will be the burden of welfare. President Macron of France, unlike President Trump, is engaged in regaining control of government spending. In the United States, only former Sen. Bob Kerry (D-NE) has consistently protested the expansion of the welfare state. This issue will not go away and perhaps President Macron can give President Trump a “head’s up.”Barbara Bush, RIPPolitics is a hard and tough business and requires exceptional skills, insight and luck. The best gift of Lady Luck is money and the Bush family had that in sufficient supply to pursue business and political interests.The first “Gothic” cathedral hearkens back to the 12th century at Cluny and represented changes from “Old Europe” to what we call the “Middle Ages.” Many of these magnificent buildings house the Anglican Christian faithful, some of whom are traditional families quite different from those who went to tent meetings and still meet in non-descript Baptist churches.Barbara Bush was symbolic of an old, elegant, order that we’ll not see again. May she Rest in Peace.APRIL 20, 2018Those airports are not alone.Twenty-two years ago, Republican Allegheny County Commissioner, Larry Dunn, successfully gained control of Allegheny County government after sixty years of uninterrupted Democratic Party control of the County and began to change how County government was managed.Larry Dunn, literally “a new man” like the “New Man” that Tom Payne believed his times called for, brought new ideas, professional expertise, knowledge of government and a commitment to free enterprise economics to a dormant, ineffective, Allegheny County government.From those two meetings came passage of historic legislation permitting five municipalities from across the United States to privatize their airports–without being required to reimburse the Federal Government funding they had received throughout years of operation.Preparing for legislation to privatize County Airport, I looked into how many U.S. airports had been privatized and found that only Teterboro had successfully freed itself from government control. “Why and how,” I asked a Teterboro official, did they get that approved? His answer: “This is Jersey!”That is not the case with Pittsburgh International Airport Authority where Christina Cassotis, is CEO of the authority governing PIT. Ms. Cassotis has, according to a report in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, doubled the number of destinations serviced by PIT and has attracted new airlines and more flights, in part backed by millions of dollars in incentives. She has also signed an agreement with Carnegie Mellon University to transform PIT into a technologically “smart” airport.If the goal is to secure air travel from terrorism, it makes sense to use off-site terminals independent of airports themselves. In other words, a goal should be to secure passenger boarding, takeoff areas and travel in the air before landing by separating baggage security from passenger travel.Homeland Security regulations impede ease of travel by restricting access to passenger departure areas to ticketed passengers, and few airports have designed ways to ease moving passenger baggage from passengers to security personnel. In my home airport, after completing ticketing, I am required to carry my baggage to security personnel–a distance of about 20 feet. No “moving walkway” services passengers in the area servicing Southwest and some other airlines. At most airports, long steel tables are in place where passengers lift their own baggage, remove their shoes, belts and place wallets, cell phones, coins and pens into tubs. APRIL 17, 2018The OptimistThe EnthusiastA RealistWhen realignment occurs, our Two Party system will feature four parties:
- The “Two Party” system inaugurated in 1800 when Vice President Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican Party defeated incumbent President John Adams of the Federalist Party will be subject to realignment. There are signs that the United States will experience a multi-party system:
- Donald Trump rescued the Republican Party from its capture by the Establishment – especially corporate America which is overtly and explicitly pro-business but protectionist and, essentially, hostile to freedom of enterprise. Had Trump not prevailed in the GOP primary, any other GOP nominee would have lost, and Clinton would now by finishing the job Obama started, effectively destroying freedom in America. Instead, freedom is rising.
- There is lots of decay — moral, muscular, and otherwise — in and around the party, but there is nothing new about that. A Reagan moment is a Brigadoon phenomenon; it mysteriously appears once every hundred years or so and a few very great things happen; and, then, the country coasts for decades on the strength of that spiritual energy while the craven and the ignorant carry on with business as usual. The most important features of our permanent political system are Mr. Madison’s checks and balances and our Anglo-Saxon habit of taking the rule of law seriously. There is much deep doo-doo affecting American politics, but, as Ronald Reagan’s favorite joke had it, there must be a pony in there somewhere.
- Conservative Republicans are of three minds about the GOP:
- Future of the GOP–Three Views
- There has got to be a better way, and that may require separating the process of boarding from baggage security by moving baggage security into areas separated from the main terminal. In the case of PIT, that would require building another terminal cum mall and securing access to the main terminal for ticketed passengers only. That would make PIT not only “smart,” but safe.
- PIT’s terminal was built in 1992 and was a mall cum airport facility managed by a private British company where high end shops, restaurants and services were offered to travelers and non-travelers alike–at off airport prices. Then came 9/11, restrictions on access to airports, and USAir’s merger with American Airlines and departure from PIT.
- That may be the plan, but much depends on post-9/11 security procedures that limit access to passenger areas of terminals. Few, if any airports, have adjusted by placing baggage security in areas outside airport terminals thus making airport terminals themselves targets of terrorists.
- That’s not the way it works in most other States, nor Allegheny County. Management of American airports is conducted by “Authorities” composed of local worthies who relish free airport parking, but turn their back on privatization. For that reason, it is not unusual to find escalators or walkways in American airports that are not working, workmen who disrupt passenger movement–in the middle of the day—and jacked up prices for water, coffee and hot dogs! All that is representative of how federal, state and local government agencies are managed and the reason that U.S. airports remain third class facilities and a laughingstock.
- With legislation clearing the way for sale of the County’s civil aviation airport in West Mifflin, and a successful bidding process underway, the other two Commissioners suddenly wanted nothing to do with the sale of the airport. They rejected the agreement the County had negotiated with a California aviation corporation that was planning to move their headquarters, and jobs, to Pittsburgh.
- I had just returned from development of privatization projects in Eastern Europe and was invited by Commissioner Dunn to bring my understanding of privatization to privatization of County government services. In addition to serving on a commission reviewing Allegheny County Community College (I recommended that it be privatized), I traveled with Commissioner Dunn to Washington, DC where he met with Sen. Arlen Specter and the House Transportation Committee chairman, Bud Shuster.
- A graduate of Duquesne University, and a minority commissioner on the Allegheny County Board of Commissioners, Larry Dunn is a post W.W. II generation Pittsburgher in a city with so many streets named after World War II battles that one wag asked if that War was fought in Pittsburgh.
- Midway terminal in Chicago is located in a slum, LAX has an improvement plan that is larger than the budgets of some small nations, and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) was never widened for large jets in use today. Arriving passengers at PHL spend more time waiting for “slots” where airplanes may park than they do in the air. And passengers wanting to check-in must wait in lines that are sometimes a mile long.
- On Monday, February 12, the Trump Administration proposed the sale of Dulles and Reagan airports. Heads of major corporations–with loud voices heard in Washington–travel via New York airports to Chicago, Los Angeles and other major cities. But, La Guardia and JFK airports are a disgrace.
- Making Pittsburgh’s Airport Safe & Smart
- Once when driving four hundred miles across Virginia from Norfolk to Abington, I visited Liberty University. The money that went into Liberty University wasn’t put into fancy buildings. Jerry Fallwell had more important things on his mind. One hundred years from now it may be different, but not then–nor now.
- Watching the news coverage of the funeral for Barbara Bush brings all of that to light and heightens the contrast between Bush 41 and Bush 43 and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. These two were seated in the same aisle at the Episcopal Cathedral in Houston where Mrs. Bush’s funeral was held.
- APRIL 21, 2018
- APRIL 23, 2018
- President Macron of France knows that and is aware that President Trump hasn’t a clue. So this French politician will attempt to “con” one of the great con artists of American history. We’ll have to wait until President Macron is wished “Bon voyage” to find out whether the France of 1793 or 1781 dominates.
- That was 1781, but we forget the Terror of the French Revolution and execution of Louis XVI in 1793, Napoleon’s capture of the Revolutionary government of France, such as it was, and the Napoleonic wars that disrupted Europe in the 19th century. But, especially, we forget the corruption of the intellectual culture of America by revolutionary ideologies.
- Former Vice President Dan Quayle, boning up on leadership, came to admire Napoleon. We sometimes forget the destructive force of the French Revolution, the utopian ideas of the philosophes that so entranced intellectuals in the West that were carried into Europe by the invading French armies by Napoleon.
- Bad France
- This militarization of every-day American life and the American Presidency began with the Civil War, was exacerbated by our intervention in WWI and the many wars of the 20th and 21st century. This may be seen in color guards, military regalia, and marching bands that are very much a part of American life from 4th of July Parades, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and public schools in every American community.
- APRIL 25, 2018
- The Bad: Unable to read policy papers, the celebrity watches cable news and loves Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News. With no previous government experience, the celebrity believes he can run the U.S. government like his family business.
- Plot: A publicity seeking celebrity joins the Republican Party as candidate for President in an uneasy alliance against a Democrat Party led by a female, former Secretary of State, who makes Scott Pruitt look good.
- APRIL 27, 2018
- Never a disciplined thinker, Scarborough shows up at 6:00 AM Eastern and harangues his viewers with Congressman-type rhetoric.
- No longer.
- Joe Scarborough is a former GOP Congressman from Florida’s Panhandle who left Congress to pursue a career as a TV commentator. Scarborough, who slightly resembles John Wayne, was a fresh voice and I’ve been watching “Morning Joe” on MSNBC since the program’s inception ten years ago.
- Starbuck’s coffee in 2009 announced that it would enrich its “Morning Joe” coffee with a new bland called Gold Coast. The partnership with Joe Scarborough’s MSNBC news and opinion program proved too controversial and Starbuck’s dropped the “Morning Joe” blend. Starbucks kept Gold Coast coffee until this year.
- Abandoning Joe Scarborough
- They should beware assuming that Trump will reverse the consequences of George W. Bush’s democratic religion. Trump ran against the expansionist foreign policy decisions of George W. Bush, but politicians motivated in the belief of their own superiority are not likely to retreat from using force in any confrontation.
- Those characteristics are compatible with Nietzsche’s concept of the Superman or Übermensch.
- Powell, unlike Trump, was an academic, a classicist and student of philosophy who early in his career was fascinated with the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. Will to power is a strong impulse in all politicians, but Enoch Powell’s identification with Nietzsche went beyond the pale of English politics and raised concerns that Powell had not learned lessons from Britain’s battle with Nazi Germany.
- By the late 1960s, Indian Sikh’s were visible on British transit as bus drivers and Council Housing that had served a largely white British working class was roiled by the admission of non-white immigrants from the Dominions.
- In the mid-1960s, a British member of Parliament, Enoch Powell, commanded the attention of the British public by his stance against immigration and the British Labor Party’s Race Relations Bill.
- MAY 4, 2018
- “We don’t want anyone with unfettered power. It’s unlikely you are going to persuade me the special counsel has unlimited power. The American people feel very strongly about anyone having unfettered power.”
- “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud … You really care about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment,” Judge Ellis said.
- In a hearing in his federal courtroom in Virginia yesterday, Judge Ellis raised questions that shocked reporters, Michael Dreeben, the deputy solicitor general who was arguing on behalf of the Mueller investigation and the “new class’ of attorneys that make up the legal, university and media complex.
- MAY 4, 2018
- Political developments that made the election of Donald Trump possible have been long coming and are related to the growth of the “Progressive” movement beginning in the late 1880s, the domination by Progressives of intellectual culture as a consequence of loss of faith in Christianity that began with Darwin and was exacerbated by the American Civil War and the Great Depression.
- I’ve touched on this three times: in November of last year, January and Mayof this year. And my colleague, Dr. Angelo Codevilla, writes of this in an essay published in the neo-conservative publication “American Greatness,” titled “Trump Risks Debasing American Citizenship.”
- I don’t mean that the President is a racist.
- JULY 28, 2018
- But, the President believes that the U.S. government employs too many people, has little knowledge of the conservative movement and the scholars and intellectuals who made the GOP the party of ideas. So, because he doesn’t know better, he makes little effort to identify them and offer them appointments.
- Political Scientists (Linda C. Raeder; Jason C. Ross and Clarence F. Sills, Jr.)
- Classicists (David D. Mulroy; E. Christian Kopff)
- Philosophers: (F. Eugene Heath; John Lachs)
- On CNN this morning, Sunday, July 29, Supply-side Economist, Larry Kudlow, defended President Trump’s policies on tariffs. Kudlow did well and made a good case for tariffs to address the abuse of trade by the People’s Republic of China. Clearly, China ‘s trade with the United States and outright intellectual piracy ought to be controlled. And we should credit Larry Kudlow for doing something to bring order and consistency to erratic trade and foreign policy decisions of President Trump.
- A Silk Purse or a Sow’s Ear?
- Gentleman Jeff Session is not that man.
- Once elected, if now-President-Elect Trump thought through whom he had beaten and the animosity of the Progressive Establishment to all that Trump represented, he should have known that he needed evil to fight evil.
- But, what did Trump and his rag-tag team of conspirators know about campaign laws?
- I met Roy Cohn once, in his office in New York, where I went to return a donation he made to a not-for-profit media organization I had organized shortly after I left the Reagan Administration. That donation was made as a favor to someone in the Reagan Administration with whom Cohn wanted to be on good terms, and had written that person’s name in a note on the check. Cohn admitted he was currying favor with that person, but wanted me to know that he agreed with me.
- Jeff Sessions, now age 72, was born and raised in Alabama where he earned a law degree, practiced law and served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. When nominated to serve as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in 1986, he was denied confirmation. That rebuke on grounds that Sessions was not sympathetic to the rights of racial minorities stung him badly. A southern gentleman to the core, the remainder of Sessions’ career was dedicated to redressing the injustice of that rebuke.
- Given the President’s tendency to get into deep doo-doo, he really needed an Attorney General like Roy Cohn, a person loyal not to the law, but to whomever needed his services.
- AUGUST 2, 2018
- So, who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Mitt Romney and the Democrats, but not President Trump.
- Russia wants Ukraine and as many of the former Soviet satellite nations as can be cowed into submission including any that demonstrate a desire to adopt free market economic principles. That includes Georgia, Estonia, and Poland. Expansion of Russian hegemony is a threat to the national interests of the United States. And the Mullah’s in Tehran should remember that Iran was once ruled by Imperial Russia.
- Russia does not. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) does not. North Korea does not and neither does Pakistan, Israel, or Iran. These weapons of mass destruction are maintained in order to deter attack, to preserve these regimes, while they pursue long term interests.
- When Mitt Romney ran for President against Barack Obama in 2012 (and lost), he declared that Russia was the greatest external threat to the United States. The claim didn’t ring true then and it really doesn’t ring true today even given all the claims that Russia attempted to affect the vote count in the 2016 election. Using social media to place false stories is more sinister, but even that is not a threat to America’s national interest. Hacking e-mail of the Democrat candidate for President is more serious, but Hillary Clinton opened herself to hackers by using a server installed in her home. For that, she violated State Department regulations and should have been prosecuted before the election.
- Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
- President Trump’s response indicates that he came unprepared to the Helsinki Summit and no preparatory meetings of any depth were conducted by sub-Cabinet executives at State, Defense, CIA, DNA or the U,S. Treasury. That is dangerous to the American national interests and Trump needs to compensate for his inexperience and general incompetence by developing a team that meets with their Russian counterparts before the next “Summit.”
- The “New“ Democrats—aligned with Neoconservatives and some Trump working class Democrats. Look for Bill Kristol and Neoconservatives to take the lead.
- Progressive Democrats–pursuing gender, racial and immigrant voters.
- A traditional GOP aligned with East Coast internationalists, Chamber of Commerce businesses, some Neoconservatives and Liberal Republicans who think fondly of Nelson Rockefeller and G. W. H. Bush.
- A new National Conservative PartyWar DrumsThe sound of War Drums can be heard in Washington, DC signaling a need to attack the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.President Trump has expressed concern because the use of chemical weapons is a “red line” that required a U.S. response in April 2017 in the form of launch of cruise missiles against a Syrian airbase.There are a number of aspects to this current development that should be noticed:2) Ambassador Bolton is a man who should not be permitted to play with firecrackers, not to mention cruise missiles, so we wait in horror for what this advocate of imperial warfare will recommend to a President besieged by a raid on the office and residences of his personal attorney by his own Justice Department.4) American messianism demands that the nation to do what is right, not what is in the national interest of the United States. Thus, Sen. Chris Coons (D-CT) is calling for a military response to make things right. No doubt Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and little Marco Rubio (R-FL) will repeat the demands of MSNBC’s favorite U.S. Senator.It is not in the national interest to respond to the immoral actions of other nations. Though the use of chemical weapons are deplorable and sanctioned by international agreements, they should concern the United States only when they are directed at American forces.We should ask what the United States should do to counter the foreign policy of Russia? That is the question that should occupy the minds of John Bolton and President Trump. The absence of a strategy directed at aggressive moves by Russia has raised concerns that the President has been compromised by Soviet intelligence. If true, the President needs to “come clean” and move immediately to state what policies he recommends for responding to Russia and other countries that present challenges to the national interest.The Next Conservative Leader?In a country as large as the United States, why place a question mark after the phrase, “The next conservative leader”?That is what once was called the “$64,000 Question.” Back when that phrase first entered the American vocabulary in 1955, the United States was getting used to its peacetime obligations as “the” world power. The President of the United States was a proven war hero, former Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, his opponent in the 1952 presidential nomination contest, Sen. Robert Taft (R-Ohio) longtime leader of Republican conservatives was dead. It would be close to thirty years before a new leader came forward and successfully waged a campaign for President of the United States.Why the delay?When Ronald Reagan attended Eureka College, Keynesian economics had not been created and we must assume that even though Ronald Reagan was a “C” student, he earned a degree in economics when it represented the classical liberalism of Adam Smith and David Ricardo.And where will you learn that the national interest should govern American foreign and national security policy?A teenage indiscretion or brush with the law will be dragged up when you surface as an aspiring conservative politician. Your ex-wife will be encouraged to tell why she divorced you, and God help you if you cheated on your wife or were arrested for DUI.So, under those circumstances, do we really need to ask, “Where is that conservative leader who will wear the shoes of Bob Taft or Ronald Reagan?”Terrorism in Muenster Then and NowYet another terrorist attack was perpetrated today. This time the target is the German city of Muenster.Last week we saw a revival of the 1212 Children’s Crusade and today we remember the revolution in the city of Muenster from 1534 to 1545. APRIL 7, 2018Here’s a link to that institution.Remedying that decline in higher education is not easy.Starting a new college or university–and we need fifty good new ones in the next twenty-five years–requires money and skill. Believe me, I’ve prospected for wealthy conservatives to fund the startup of a solely Internet institution and they can be found.Dr. Wood was formerly a Provost at a Christian college and he looked for faculty in Europe because they were less likely to be infected by Political Correctness. Then you must understand new technologies that are effective for disseminating courses for degree credit.We are now fifty years from the time that there was a viable cohort of conservative faculty. Many are deceased, ready for retirement, too old, or struggling in backwater colleges and community colleges.Death of the Conservative “Movement”Part OneAs a young college student finishing my first year of college, I was one of them. I found a home among fellow conservatives who became my friends and shared a belief in free markets, a Constitution rooted in a philosophy of limited government, and firm conviction that we must defend our freedom and “the West” from the Soviet Union. Anti-communism was part of the package that we accepted when we joined the “Conservative Movement.”Those were heady days made even more exciting by the arousal from slumber of Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians who were attracted to Barry Goldwater. When Goldwater went down to defeat, they retreated to their churches until 1979 when Jerry Falwell organized the “moral majority” with Paul Weyrich. Though we voted for Richard Nixon against Hubert Humphrey, that did not compensate for more deaths of American combatants in Vietnam than occurred under LBJ.Today, unfortunately, close to sixty years later, the “Conservative Movement” itself gives every impression that it too is exhausted and what remains of a “community” of conservatives that revitalized American politics for more than a quarter century–from Russell Kirk (1955) and Bill Buckley to Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan (1988)–blended into the general population.Instead, we must ask “Is the great American Conservative Movement is dead?”President George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush were criticized by a minority of old stalwarts like Richard Viguerie and the Libertarian Cato Institute, but not many more.Conservative donors, also, were part of the problem, and wanted to go to events with elected “leaders” more than they wanted to defend our country from bad conservatives.
- Even when George W. Bush’s deficit spending and imperial wars destroyed the Republican brand, nary a word in criticism could be heard from Washington “Think Tanks.” Their leaders either liked “W,” or held their breath while continuing to benefit from GOP control of the White House. Even I voted for “W”–twice.
- One answer, surely, is that “Conservatism,” with a capital “C” became a very good “business” when conservatives were in opposition to Democrats when they were in power. But, when Republicans governed, we trimmed our sails. Conservative policy organizations that rebuked Liberal majorities in Congress, or Democrat Presidents in the White House, found that they could make good business by not attacking Republicans when the GOP controlled Congress or elected a Republican President.
- Those Americans in utter desperation who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, now watch with concern as he defines what for the general public is “conservative.” As for us who read Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, Whitaker Chambers’ Witness, Eric Voegelin’s Order and History or the hundreds of books imaginative conservatives devoured, we know what “conservatism” is and we wonder if the GOP will ever generate a new leadership that had read some of those books.
- By the end of President Lyndon Johnson’s Administration, Liberalism as a political force was exhausted and its fervor–developed during the New Deal–had become mired in the grasping for government “pork” in the form of welfare programs that benefited Liberal activists and Democrat Party operatives.
- Conservatives grew organizations that supported these ideas–Bill Baroody, Sr. at the American Enterprise Institute, Don Lipsett at the Philadelphia Society, E. Victor Milione at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Bill Buckley at National Review and Young Americans for Freedom–and we modern conservatives were also readers. We devoured Buckley’s National Review, Leonard Reed’s The Freeman, James Wick and Frank Hanninghen’s Human Events and ISI’s Intercollegiate Review and Modern Age (the latter founded by Russell Kirk) and books published by Henry Regnery. In fact, during two summers I worked for Henry Regnery standing guard at the Regnery booth at the first “conservative political action” conferences held at the Mayflower Hotel in 1961 and 1962 hosted by Human Events. That conference blossomed into the CPACs of today.
- During the 1960s and early 1970s, the Conservative “Movement” was the most exciting place to be in American public life. Feeling “rejected and afflicted” by the Establishment in every aspect of American life–politics, education, religion–Conservatives threw caution to the wind and attacked the Republican Establishment. They didn’t care because, as supporters of Barry Goldwater said, “In our hearts we knew we were right.”
- JULY 7, 2018
- In another twenty-five years, there will be none to hire. That’s the greatest problem.
- Having wealth is not an indication that you’ll be interested in higher education, nor that you’ll know how to build a new college. I know of only two others with the knowledge needed to develop effective courses using those new technologies and who have mastered the regulatory thicket of this business.
- But, managing a university requires knowledge of a crazy regulatory system, begun in 1885, that makes it extremely difficult to become accredited. Not only must you know and be committed to a “mission,” you must find instructors and administrators who believe in that mission. Very few wealthy conservatives know how to staff a new institution.
- Dr. Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars and I conducted a seminar on that topic on December 5. And I’m writing a new book that explains what is required to recover from that decline of civic culture.
- Working here in United States in the field of higher education has been a struggle. American higher education has been affected by a crisis in civilization that began in Europe in 1848, was enhanced by our Civil War, America’s entry into World War I and the secularization of American culture that ensued. Few wealthy Americans in the 20th century founded new universities, and the old ones became secular, undefined in mission, and in the case of many religious colleges–faithless.
- On Tuesday I’ll have lunch with a friend from my undergraduate days at Pitt who has been active in the Christian ministry in Uganda. His current project is a new university in Uganda, Uganda Christian University, that was founded in 1997.
- Higher Education in the 21st Century
- Norman Cohn’s classic study, Pursuit of the Millennium, demonstrates that apocalyptic expectations have been aspects of the Christian West for a thousand years. You can read about them in a chapter on Modern Political Religionsfrom my history of political theory., published forty years ago.
- Students of radical millennial movements will remember the Muenster Anabaptist rebellion of the 16th century.
- APRIL 7, 2018
- In other words, unless you are hardened by adversity or are callous and don’t care that your reputation will be shaped by enemies, you will not seek public office. And you may not even study American history, economics or American foreign policy. After all, what has that got to do with being a responsible citizen?
- Moreover, why would you even consider a career in elective politics? The First Amendment protects the media, now dominated by “journalists” who are what we used to call “anti-American.” Oh, I know they aren’t communists or agents of a foreign power, but today’s journalists represent the ideology of the professors who dominate “the Left University.” University of Missouri communication professor, Melissa Click, is an example of what you’ll learn in Departments of Communication.
- Today, if you study Economics in most colleges, you’ll be taught the “demand” side of economics, not about “Supply-side Economics.” If you are an aspiring conservative leader, in order to learn about tax cuts and limited government, you better not study Economics or Political Science in College.
- American politics and culture have changed. Disruptions caused by the anti-Vietnam War movement led to emasculation of American college curricula. “Cafeteria style” education became the rule and for more than 40 years, American college students have not been required to study the history of Western civilization, American government and history, economics, religion, nor what is required to sustain a self-governing Republic.
- Ronald Reagan left office in 1989–again, close to 30 years ago–and we await another conservative Republican like Ronald Reagan.
- What constitutes “Conservative” is commitment to national security, commitment to free enterprise and commitment to limited government. If there is no argument about these “Big Three” commitments, why has no “leader” arisen who symbolizes all three principles?
- APRIL 10, 2018
- Bombing Syria is not one of those policies.
- The strategy of Russia’s Vladmir Putin is the problem, not the Syrian government.
- That is the setting in which this counter to the War Drums should be heard:
- 3) The Assad government is, or is close to being, a surrogate of Russia. Assad has loyalties only to himself, but with no allies in the world except for the rogue Russian government of Vladimir Putin, President Assad must do the bidding of Russia.
- 1) Calls for response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its own people come to the day that that John Bolton took formal command of the office of the National Security advisor.
- Why that triggered a military response by a President who pledged not to engage in the imperial warfare practices of former Presidential Administration is cause for concern.
- The Assad government–or Russian military forces operating in Syria–used chemical weapons to attack a hospital in a rebel held city.
- APRIL 11, 2018
Death of the Conservative “Movement”
JULY 9, 2018
The transformation of the “Movement” from being zealous in defense of principle to becoming Republican Party cheer leaders began when Ronald Reagan became President. The former conservative movement expanded from a small elite who stood by Ronald Reagan when he sought the GOP nomination three times into an immense cheering section of persons who, the day before Reagan’s election, had given not a thought to conservative ideas, had not read an important conservative book, nor ever thought they might work for a Reagan Presidential Administration. I stopped going to Reagan Alumni reunions when more faux conservatives showed up than had worked for President Reagan.
I’m afraid that during the thirty-six years between 1980 and 2017, the worst that could happen did happen: the “Movement” changed and became a “business.” Policy organizations hedged their criticism, even when the Reagan White House staff, National Security Council and Department of State were co-opted by Nixon/Ford Republicans. Though President Reagan read Human Events, the wise guys in the White House struggled to keep copies from reaching the President’s desk.
There were other anomalies in the President’s behavior: he defended SDI against Gorbachev, but not his own Party. Today, we have no space-based ballistic missile defense systems.
And, we ’60s era conservatives have aged.
Bill Buckley, inattentive to his own mortality, ignored choosing a conservative successor as editor of National Review. Irving Kristol is dead and politically astute “Neocons” are taking Neoconservatism Leftward. John Podhoretz is a panelist on MSNBC, a radical Leftist cable “news” television network controlled by Brian L. Roberts. One wonders why Podhoretz gives cover to MSNBC when the better approach is to rein in the fake news that is MSNBC’s regular fare?
For a time, Fox News under the assertive leadership of Roger Ailes, played an important role and introduced a refreshing form of Rightist advocacy journalism. But, the dynasty of Rupert Murdoch is now in transition to his sons, James and Lachlan Murdoch, who instinctively bow to the claims of sexism by feminists and race discrimination by Black Lives Matter. While the mainline, Leftist, media is invigorated by opposition to Trump, Sinclair Broadcasting merely thinks about going toe to toe with MSNBC and CNN, while Newsmax plays around with Internet-based television and commentators like Mike Levin, Michelle Malkin and others have launched their own Web-based video service. The problem with that is that Americans watch television on TVs in their homes, not on computer monitors.
Too many policy organizations–given the ludicrous name of “Think Tanks,” as if there was any thinking conducted in their well-appointed HQs–fall over themselves to find ways not to jeopardize their income streams. Other organizations that movement conservatives depended on to hold the feet of the powerful to the flames of principle fall very short.
Even today, many conservative leaders act as if George W. Bush was a conservative President. Only Rand Paul and Donald Trump knew better.
“Successful” conservatives are now known for fundraising, not conservative ideas.
One of the most important and oldest organizations supporting students on liberal campuses–ISI–believed that President George W. Bush was “conservative,” ran into financial difficulties, cut programs, and abandoned or dumbed-down publication of intellectual journals (Intercollegiate Review, Continuity, Political Science Reviewer). As a long term supporter of ISI, I criticized them privately, but it did no good. As a result, efforts that started in the 1950s by a libertarian, Frank Chodorov, to sustain young conservatives on college campuses–now firmly dominated by a “Left university” system–are neglected.
And, last, but not least, even though Grove City and Hillsdale College do their best in a sea of Liberals in control of academia, only two or three recent attempts were made to create new ones including Shimer College, Yorktown University and Wyoming Catholic.
The one launch of a conservative law school (Delaware School of Law) in the 1970s had difficulty attaining ABA accreditation, merged with Widener University and became much less principled, ultimately firing its founder, Alvin Avins.
The loss of Shimer, Yorktown University and Delaware School of Law was representative of lackluster efforts by conservatives to educate their own and was a sign that what had begun in the 1950s as an intellectual “movement,” by 2016, was very weakened and now appears to be on its deathbed.
That is to be regretted because “movements” that can affect the course of nations by challenging corrupt elites occur very infrequently and, after their demise, they cannot be revived.
Perhaps that explains why the populism of Steve Bannon took front and center place only for a short time, but was a sign, nevertheless, that conservatives are still a social force. None, however, has answered the call to form a national conservative party to replace–or contest–a somnolent GOP.
What will follow the Trump Administration?
Nothing good comes to mind and, in fact, we may want to think about purchasing some of those dry foods now being advertised that can last twenty-five years.