Our purpose, here, is to demonstrate that many contemporary programs, concepts and rhetoric (popular slogans, shibboleths, bromides and platitudes), are inherently flawed: That the proponents or iterators have little or no perception of the factual or conceptual context of the ideas, issues or policies involved, or of the impact of their application. That they do not recognize or understand the complex contexts of conditions or events, which influence or provide a foundation for their perceptions. Nor do they understand the human and historic context of societal values, or of ideas in general.
Thus, they are unable to recognize what in the human experience is good or evil, wise or foolish; what is relative to specific circumstances, and what is general to all forms of human life. Rather they develop fixations on subjective images, sometimes illusory, which dominate their perceptions and drive their thoughts. Sometimes they do not even develop clear subjective images, but merely respond to verbal arguments--the banter of slogans, buzz words and old shibboleths, the merits of which are never subjected to even a suggestion of a critical evaluation. This all fits in very well in the political world of the 30 second sound bite. A public conditioned to respond to slogans and sweeping pronouncements, soon ceases to expect much critical analysis on political issues.
This has unfortunate implications for America's future prospects, both political and social. We have already have commented on the prevalence of those exhibiting such flawed perceptions in positions of power and influence, during what we have referred to as "the Clinton/Bush era," in our essay for April. Later, in this essay, we will again consider what appears to be an actual prejudice against rational judgment, increasingly evident under William J. Clinton & George W. Bush.
The unrealized context of perceptions and concepts is clearly a subject of immense importance to the student of philosophy, economics, political science, history or ethics. Yet we have no illusion that this will be widely read. An essay on the "context" of thoughts and ideas--even those involved in major contemporary conflicts--is not going to rivet many readers' attention. Still, it is our hope that we may be able to stir at least a little interest by a promise to explore varied, and currently unorthodox, perspectives on some recurring questions in the human experience.
Let us consider, then, such fundamental issues as war and conquest, slavery, social hierarchies, the form that governments take, and the relation of man to nature, in terms of a fuller context of factors than the reader will have found in his school books. At the outset, we might ponder to what extent the value judgments, often applied in our contemporary world, are realistic. Or stated as a more refined concept, are there such things as valid value judgments, which may be universally applied, or are all values merely relative to the persons, times and specific context of the immediate factors involved in a particular situation?
While the wide variation in long-standing social mores among the races and sub-species of humanity, both as to their specific ethics and determination of a social hierarchy, strongly suggests that ethical systems reflect individual peoples rather than any universal or Divine mandate, we do not doubt that there are universal principles, to be considered. The problem is that if one considers the full context of ideas and actions, both immediate and historic, those principles are very difficult to define. Usually, the effort is aborted to the extent that most of those, who seek to find moral absolutes, end by relying almost entirely on Faith driven ethical systems. We cannot fault that within any specific society. The problem arises when one group--one tribe, race or nation--endeavors to apply its particular moral "absolutes" to another.
Every human society applies its own moral precepts to its own people--indeed, in many instances, a social hierarchy has evolved from among those entrusted with enforcing those moral precepts. Yet extrapolating such precepts to other societies is something very different. That involves an assumed right to judge others, a prerogative which Western theology, at least, recognizes to be reserved to the Almighty. As to an assumption by adherents to other theological systems, of such a right to judge, we can only suggest, respectfully but firmly, that if they postulate the proposition that their deity or deities depend upon mortal practitioners to enforce divine judgment on unbelievers, they have seriously denigrated their deity or deities.
Ultimately--of course--a true judgment of the shifting ways of men can only be made by a Higher, all seeing Power. But we believe that there are two basic, fundamental, ethical concepts or propositions that must underlie any serious discussion of the context by which one individual may seek to rationally assess the morality of particular human conduct--if, and it is a huge "if," that individual can fully understand the context of that conduct. The essential prerequisites to any effort to fairly apply moral judgments to the ongoing dynamic of human action, are first a commitment to Truth and, secondly, a reverence for the Laws of Nature. Without that commitment to Truth, any social order will be undermined, any social system flawed beyond hope of redemption. Even one who recognizes no community, tribe, national or racial tie or obligation, undermines his own ongoing role in the Creational dynamic, if he does not revere the Truth. Indeed, even his own children will be unable to determine what is real, and what mere rationalization or lie. As for the Laws of Nature? Deny them, and you deny any real meaning to your own existence.
Without a mutual commitment to Truth, it is impossible to even discuss moral philosophy--as either party would be free to redefine reality. Without a reverence for the Laws of Nature, almost any conduct can be rationalized. For example, men have hunted throughout man's presence on earth. To hunt for food, or even for pelts, has been accepted throughout history. There is also an element of sport in the hunt; although there is a moral dichotomy as to how far one can go in pursuit of sport, at the expense of another species, without raising serious philosophic questions. There is also an historic acceptance of measures to deal with other species--such as rats, for an obvious example--that tend to thrive in urban human settings, with sometimes very adverse consequences to human life.
Man has, also, domesticated various forms of animal life, both as a food supply, ready at hand, and as beasts of burden. Clearly, most of us do not perceive a violation of Natural Law in such actions. However, their apparent legitimacy does not legitimatize every thing man may choose to do to other forms of life. In each instance, the interaction must be assessed in its own context.
Most well intentioned people, today, would agree that the vicious practice of shooting grazing buffalo from passing railroad cars, traversing the Western Plains in the second half of the 19th Century, was morally reprehensible. This totally unsportsmanlike "sport," not only killed tens of millions of a harmless species, for absolutely no benefit to man; it led to starvation among other men (Indians) who depended upon the buffalo as a source of meat. There is, moreover, an instinctive repugnance to cruelty for the sake of cruelty--although, sadly, this instinct may be lost under circumstances where familiarity with cruelty makes it seem a normal form of interaction. Yet, while better rationalized, many of us would question how far medical science should be permitted to go, today, in Mengelean experiments on helpless lab animals--not only in repugnance to the deliberately induced suffering, but also because maiming any species is an apparent affront to the Natural order. Yet, here, moral clarity alludes one.
In recognizing Truth & Natural Law as the only valid bases for human moral judgments, we do not suggest that most conflicts, ideological or other, can be resolved or explained by a simplistic analysis. Quite the contrary. Many of what have been perceived as epic struggles between "good" & "evil," are more easily understood as battles between those with different priorities. Yet, not infrequently, as in the nature of human conflict, once emotions have become sufficiently aroused; what may have started as philosophic difference, or a clash of legitimate competing interests, has ended in some form of vengeful orgy. Consider some of the terrible atrocities, committed in the name of mere doctrinal differences, in religious wars--such as in the Thirty Years War, between different branches of Christianity among fairly closely related Germanic peoples. Of course, the issues there were not just theological priorities; the context involved various, clearly temporal, dynastic ambitions, as well as clerical rivalries involving face no less than theology.
The subjects of war & conquest, are ones where contexts can become almost incredibly complex--particularly if one seeks to find all moral justification on one side, and its total absence on another. Moreover, contexts of the times, involved, have probably distorted our perceptions of the more historically distant conflicts. Thus we tend to attribute a greater malevolence to more recent aggression between nations, than to equally or even more aggressive behavior in the ancient world.
This involves not just a tendency to attribute greater importance to what is more within our immediate ken or focus. It also involves an awareness of efforts--whether effective or not--to move the nations of the world towards policies more likely to avoid war, as well as to curb some of the terrible advances in the destructive power of contemporary weapons. These really do not impact the armed forces as greatly as they do civilian populations. Men fighting to the death with swords might produce as high, or higher, a percentage of fatalities and crippled survivors in a standing army, as can modern weapons. But the rapid, collateral--and sometimes intentional--destruction of civilian populations, made possible by expanding technology, is far beyond anything ever dreamt of by even the most sadistic of ancient conquerors.
Yet perceptions are always subjective things. And the brutal fact is that most of the ancestral homelands of peoples now extant, have at one time or another been the bloody battle grounds of clashing tribes, with contending interests for the satisfaction of their peoples' wants. While reason still directs us to seek peace with others--even apart from the terrible destructive capabilities of our weapons (and theirs)--reflection on the historic dynamic ought to put at least a bit of muzzle on excess sanctimony. This does not mean that there is no such thing as an unjust war--most wars probably are unjust. It does argue for some care in how we define one.
Applying the suggested Truth & Natural Law standard as a starting point for an effort to define an objective universal ethic, which most reasoning individuals might accept, we can perhaps begin to catalog some essential contexts for evaluating different historic, social and political phenomena. While there is no magic wand in the passage of time in determining acceptable behavior, the fact that most Western nations accepted what was defined in the Eighteenth Century as the "Law Of Nations," provides a measure of sorts. Thus, what might have been expected, if not really accepted, behavior in earlier times, has come far more to demand the attention of the rulers of nations, concerned with the perceived morality of their actions. This phenomenon may now be taken, generally, for granted in International dealings among the leaders of Governments in what we refer to as, "the First World." It is not, however, to be equally expected from all segments of humanity.
The calculated brutality, unleashed by Leftist totalitarian States in the 20th Century, led to new attempts to codify theories of moral and legal accountability--the objective, some form of universally accepted code of restraint. Derived from earlier attempts to define the "Law Of Nations" with respect to Governments, some of these theories have sought to impose concepts of accountability to those involved in atrocities, even though merely carrying out the orders of superiors, far further down the chain of command, than was ever previously the case. We address this situation, because it rapidly devolves into questions of conflicting priorities, and clearly illustrates the potential confusion in trying to define moral absolutes, without fully considering the context of human action; and because it has surfaced again in relation to the treatment of prisoners in Iraq.
We do not suggest that the issue, raised over the humiliation of prisoners in Iraq, rises to the level of a 'mole hill' in comparison with such callous savagery as the Soviet killing of perhaps 10,000,000 free hold farmers by forced starvation, in the second decade of Bolshevik Communist rule in Russia and the Ukraine; or to that of the killing fields in Cambodia, or to the systematic slaughter of vast numbers of innocent civilians in Nazi occupied Europe. But it is in rationalizations employed, with respect to venting civilized man's horror at these latter, that the dilemma arises over the comparatively mild abuse of Iraqi prisoners.
While an atrocity, which serves only to victimize the innocent, with no real benefit to the institution that inflicts that atrocity, may be fairly defined as "evil," there is a very serious problem with attributing that same "evil" to those merely carrying out orders. The duty of a soldier is, and ever has been, to carry out the orders of his superiors. It is not to pass moral judgments on those orders! However offensive to third persons, however strongly third persons may feel that their own priorities would limit their obedience in certain situations; such third party opinions can not, of themselves, make it morally wrong for one who has the traditional priorities of the soldier--i.e., to carry out, rather than analyze orders--to act according to his orders. There may, indeed, be situations where it should be obvious that one's commander has actually lost all reason, and can no longer be safely followed. Yet can one morally fault the soldier, who fails to make that determination?
The mass killing of the Kulaks went unpunished in Russia--although probably many, who had participated, came themselves to be victims in later purges, or died in the incredibly bloody German invasion, from 1941 to 1944. On the other hand, because the German and Japanese Governments fell to the victorious Allies in 1945, a quite different situation developed as to those, who in acting on behalf of the German & Japanese Governments, had also committed atrocities. In the latter instances, many individuals were put on Trial for "War Crimes"; for actions, which appeared to violate that two hundred year effort to define the Law of Nations. The obvious difference was that the Soviet Communist regime, which had perpetrated the slaughter of the Kulaks, survived another 60 years, as the culprits died off, and a sense of horror dissipated; whereas the War Crimes Trials, at Nuremberg and elsewhere, commenced while the outrage of the conquering powers was very fresh indeed.
The original trial at Nuremberg involved those making decisions at a very high level, as part of the German Socialist Government, during and immediately preceding the war. But a long progression of later trials followed, in which people very, very far down the chain of command, were prosecuted and punished. Although many have claimed that this progression of trials, which really involved a progression of the concept of accountability, established a new international norm by rejecting the defense that one acted merely on the orders of a superior; that proposition is far from being established; certainly not to the degree claimed. Indeed, it is sufficiently contrary to the ordinary concept of military discipline, that it would probably only be invoked by a very bold enlisted man, under very extreme circumstances. Again, short of ordering some totally insane barbarism, most military commanders, the world over, probably expect to be obeyed with the same enthusiasm and alacrity, that their counterparts would have expected in any other age.
This is not to say that there are not orders, which probably should be refused--where all experience, even the limited experience of a young recruit, might tell one that no legitimate interest of the nation is being served by what has been ordered; whereas that ordered, inflicts cruel injury on innocent persons. But, again, is it legitimate to treat a failure to refuse the order of one you are trained to obey--indeed sworn to obey--as a crime? With American youth, today, involved in sometimes controversial campaigns, this is of more than mere academic interest. Did the Nuremberg principle demonstrate more a dispassionate pursuit of justice, or a venting of vengeful rage over what the Axis leadership had ordered done to so many of the conquered innocents?
There was also an ex post facto element in the Nuremberg progression. Many were charged with crimes, that had not been previously recognized as crimes--a situation absolutely forbidden by America's written Constitution. To his credit, Ohio's famous Conservative Republican Senator of the era, Robert A. Taft, rose to make the point in a major address that brought down upon his head the undeserved aspersions of those, caught up in an almost orgasmic fury of moral righteousness. But his point was well considered. Did our outrage over what had been done by a defeated enemy, justify our own abuse of other, long established, principles of justice?
Again, these issues are not simply questions of historic interest. Every time we order young men into battle, we put them into situations, where such issues may again become relevant. The same questions--granted on a somewhat smaller scale--have been in the news, repeatedly, over the past decade. In another major war, they may take on more formidable proportions. Is there a completely satisfactory resolution among the conflicting priorities? Probably not.
Another emotionally impacted question, which is less and less--rather than more and more--considered in context, is that of human slavery. In our lifetime, the public treatment of slavery in America has changed, both in relation to the way it was treated in discussion of history in the first half of the twentieth century, and in relation to the way historic slavery in the classical European or Asian world is still treated. Obviously, the historic conditions--the realities of life in America prior to 1865, when slavery was abolished--have not changed with the lapse of another half century. The context of the actual issues, considered in their actual time frame, has not changed. We need to consider quite different phenomena to understand the changes in treatment. The problem, if there is a problem, or the changed perception, observed, is not of the past, but of the present.
Of course, one cannot understand developing contemporary attitudes, without understanding past attitudes; to know where you are or may be going, you must know whence you came. Then you can analyze how you got here, and what--if anything--can or should be done about it. After the terrible American war of 1861 to 1865--by whatever name you choose to call it--it took a full generation for passions to fully cool, for a rebirth of a common American identity, among the citizens of the States which had been involved. But in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War in 1898, the mainstream, North and South, came once again to respect one another. The terrible emotional division had finally began to heal.
With that healing, arose a gentler, more objective, approach to the historic issues that had divided--an ideologically neutral approach--which enabled those interested to rationally discuss both the Constitutional questions involved in secession and the complex social and economic phenomena involved in slavery. We learned to speak without attacks upon the motives or character of those who simply held a different point of view as to long past events. There was also, in this period, a considerable interest in recording an accurate history of individuals, still living, who had played roles in the epochal events.
A well known example of this interest was the effort by a young Georgia reporter, Margaret Mitchell, to interview as many elderly survivors from the era, as possible, before they all died off. This led to the realistic characterizations in her epic novel of the 1930s, Gone With The Wind, followed by one of the most successful movies of all time in 1939. It is significant for our point, that the Mitchell picture of the ante-bellum South, based upon laborious research into first hand sources, hailed for its accurate portrayal at the time, and considered a masterpiece for many years, is now sometimes denounced by writers, whose criticism is based upon nothing more credible than their personal subjective refusal to accept that there ever could have been good relations between the White & Negro races under slavery!
Yet truth is truth, and however it may offend the neatly wrapped stereotypes of modern fanatics, who would take up where the Abolitionists of the mid 19th Century left off; the evidence of good relations between the races, before the War, is overwhelming. Not only does common sense confirm that it would have been impossible for the able bodied White men from many Counties, where there was a Negro majority, to go off to the War if the loyalty of most of the latter had not been understood; there is a great volume of recorded testimony as to genuine affection. For example, consider the words of the leading American Negro during the last years of the 19th and early years of the 20th Century, the self-made educator Booker T. Washington. For his entire speech, at the 1895 Atlanta Exposition, see the link below. This goes directly to our point:
To those of the white race . . . . I would repeat what I say to my own race, "Cast down your bucket where you are." Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous meant the ruin of your firesides. Cast down your bucket among these people who have, without strikes and labor wars, tilled your fields, cleared your forests, builded your railroads and cities, and brought forth treasures from the bowels of the earth, and helped make possible this magnificent representation of the progress of the South. . . . .
While doing this, you can be sure in the future, as in the past, that you and your families will be surrounded by the most patient, faithful, law-abiding, and unresentful people that the world has seen. As we have proved our loyalty to you in the past, in nursing your children, watching by the sick-bed of your mothers and fathers, and often following them with tear-dimmed eyes to their graves, so in the future, in our humble way, we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can approach, ready to lay down our lives, if need be, in defense of yours, interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one. In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress. . . .
We have dealt with what has happened to race relations in America since, in other essays such as "Civil War, Reconstruction & Creating Hate In America Today," linked below. But it is obvious that the Marxist concept of class hatred, stirred to such a fury in recent years, does not reflect the historic situation in the American South. Moreover, since absolutely no one in America today, outside of an asylum, advocates establishing a new slave society (not even those "neocons" who seek more Government in Washington) the sudden preoccupation with American slavery, as some sort of defining issue, appears absolutely pathological. That is, it appears pathological at first impression. The method in the madness becomes, perhaps, a bit more evident, if we focus not on the actual rhetoric, but the practical effect--on who is most impacted, and to what end--to see if a rational purpose may be detected.
In this part of our discussion, it is necessary to inject a note of caution. One is never on the best of grounds, when forced to speculate on other peoples' unstated motives. While one can show a rational connection between an assumed intent and an observed action, not all action is rationally driven. Particularly when you delve into matters involving race, social class and the inequality of mankind, you will encounter many emotion driven people. So, while our speculation backwards from predictable results to determine intention, may be on the mark for some of the actors, it is probably not for the less rational--not for those who never really grasp the idea of cause and effect in much of anything.
It would be difficult to conceive an approach more conducive to social mischief, in the context of present day America, than one based upon continuously aspersing the character, motives, ethics and integrity of the progenitors of a significant segment of the population of any of our States. We do not think the sudden renewed fixation on the slavery issue of 145 years ago to be accidental or benign. The one clear thing about this "issue," from the standpoint of past experience, is that it is the one formula which has proven to work, if the goal is to tear America apart. It accomplished that purpose in the 1850s and 1860s. And when the would be Marxist Revolutionaries of the 20th Twentieth Century found that "class warfare," per se, did not work well in America, they adopted race as a metaphor for class and tried again, with infinitely greater success.
The agitation against the South was renewed by Socialist forces in the early days of the Twentieth Century; stepped up by actual Communists in the 1920s and 1930s, and embraced by "Liberals" seeking a cause in the late 1940s, '50s and '60s. We feel it a serious mistake to imagine that it is being stirred again, today, merely by misguided "Liberals." Reason suggests, and suggests very strongly, that what is afoot is a deliberate, orchestrated, effort to undermine the America we love. That does not mean that most of the players are part of a great plot. Indeed, most are mere puppets of those who manipulate emotions.
Consider the context of another ongoing and recurring issue: The question of which form of Government is best for any particular nation. Should the form and function of each Government reflect a response to the unique qualities of its constituent people, or is one form of Government suitable for all peoples? Not since President Wilson launched misleading banter about making "the World safe for Democracy," during the First World War, has there been so much hyperbole written about the supposed merits of "Democracy" as a system of universal fairness and applicability. Is it?
In previous essays, we have expressed skepticism towards the suitability of Democracy for many of the peoples of this earth; asserting that it works well in Switzerland and in a New England Town Meeting because of factors, if not unique to those situations, nevertheless essential to that success, and quite clearly not present everywhere. Stated simplistically, "Democracy," whether understood as a means for choosing leaders, or settling issues, ordinarily requires the following factors, before it can function satisfactorily:
1. You must have a population with a general level of intelligence sufficient that a substantial majority have the ability to understand sometimes complex abstract concepts, which go into the formulation of public policy. It is simply not rational to trust your public affairs to those who cannot comprehend the concepts that are involved in such formulations.
2. Beyond that intelligence level, it is essential that an electorate be familiar with the functions and purpose of Government--familiar in a practical sense, not awe-struck with notions of some sort of mystique. Such familiarization may come as well from family conversations as from some more formal form of education. Indeed, in many situations, it would be better if it came from one's parents. Yet it must be real, providing the in depth comprehension, both of Government and its relation to the enduring values of the particular nation, so as to enable intelligent voting.
3. There must also be a sufficient degree of material comfort in the society, to enable times for reflection and an analysis of the political process. People desperately concerned with the origin of their next meal, are not too apt to carefully weigh the long term aspects of their political choices.
4. Finally, Democracy in any political society depends upon a considerable degree of homogeneity, else it can rapidly devolve into something very ugly. The sort of ethnic politics, seen so often in recent elections in the United States, are only a very, very mild, though still developing, example of this tendency. What happened to the Tutsi in Ruanda or the Whites in Rhodesia, perhaps better illustrates the potential.
Yet these are only broad basic prerequisites. The successful application of principles of universal suffrage, in any particular situation, will depend upon many far more subtle aspects of the human personality. These principally concern questions relating to the sociability of the various peoples involved; sociability in many differing nuances. Some of the aspects are more obvious than others. For instance, taking sociability in a broad sense, there may be questions of how to best effectuate political involvement among the less sociable. Yet as these are more likely to be reflective on issues, such questions are more easily resolved than the problems posed by the more sociable, who may, in many manifestations, have a compulsion to agree with what they perceive to be the "popular" (or group) opinion on any political candidate or issue.
There are, if one reflects on the multitude of personality types, many other ways, based neither upon reason nor any clear conception of the social or ethnic values of the particular society involved, that personality traits may influence political decision making. Such factors are not so significant as those described as "basic," but at the very least, they magnify the importance of the latter, if achieving a rational electorate or electoral process is the objective. On the other hand, the very idea of one people imposing, or even encouraging, a particular formula for choosing Government on another, under the totality of actual circumstances and phenomena involved--whether recognized or not--involves the height of hubris.
No one imposed, advised or played any significant part in the evolution of Democracy in Switzerland, but the Swiss. It works there, because the prerequisites are in place, and the formulae developed flow directly from the personalities involved. "Democracy" has been a farce in Zimbabwe, because it was forced on what was formerly Rhodesia by international Socialists and meddlesome Americans, caught up in a previous bout of sanctimony, which we addressed in part in our Debate Handbook Chapters XVIII & XXV, with no consideration, whatsoever, for the absence of essential prerequisites. The result has been the total destruction of minority rights as well as the economy, in what was once a rich land, exporting food to its less favored neighbors, but now facing near starvation.
Of course, Zimbabwe is but one of a legion of examples, in various degrees of deterioration from the same disease. What is both revealing and ironic, however, is that some of the Bantu tribes in the region actually had a form of Democracy in their traditional tribal cultures; cultures now undermined by newer political entities, promoted and encouraged by overseas internationalists of one hue or another. It was called "Indaba"; and, from what we have read of the institution, it worked a bit like the New England town meeting, modified to reflect the greater sociability of the Bantu. Yet, whether it worked well or ill, it was their institution and deserved respect as such. Unfortunately, respect is not a concept even understood by many of the self-anointed apostles of such new "enlightenment." For our part, it is difficult to accord much respect to that not so delightful coalition of mischief makers and context blind "do gooders," who advocate imposing Democracy on others.
In the pursuit of nonsensical ideas that will not scan, ideological fanatics have destroyed the cultural achievements of generations, even centuries, while patting themselves on the back in praise of their own "idealism." In this they have ignored the context of history, the very concept of the nation and much of what has been observed of human idiosyncrasy.
Is there a prejudice against rational judgment, even beyond what might be termed "the laziness factor," or the strictures from a decline in the general level of intelligence in America? We think there may be. What started out being ridiculed as "politically correct" has, without the label, become increasingly the mantra of the media and academia. There is an effective social taboo against even acknowledging that there is a context to any subject, involving significant or measurable differences in intellectual characteristics, between definable groups--even to the point of demanding rationalizations to explain away those factors that are too visible to be simply overlooked. The scientific community has not seen the like since the long past effort to prove a geocentric universe by suppressing any dissent.
Our April essay, on false assumptions common to the Clinton & present Bush Administrations, certainly dealt with some aspects of these strictures. We particularly discussed the academic stultification, reflected in those assumptions. In understanding the actual context of social and political issues, we have the means to challenge both the flawed political and social "sciences" in Academia, and the ill conceived initiatives, so obviously headed for expensive failure, which flow forth from the political sloganeers in Washington. We deal with many issues in the Debate Handbook (now also in print), where we point out the flaws and likely results of some of the more popular programs. In virtually every instance, the mistakes, made, flow directly from a focus on the individual 'trees rather than the forest'--from a failure to consider the relevant contexts of ideas and actions.
For example, none of the actually relevant factors in the context of Federal involvement in local education get much shrift, in the public gobbling of the Washington political establishment. What is relevant to any educational program, are the innate qualities of those involved and how to maximize the time and resources available. Mandating additional layers of bureaucracy, while ignoring the vast differences in student aptitudes and motivations, and imposing macro check lists, where individual variation is essential to meet the needs of each very unique being, comes about as close as is possible to achieving the precise opposite to anything likely to improve the quality of American education. Whether the gobblers ignore the context of their subject out of stupidity or a politically correct fear of having to acknowledge the differences in human talent, may be subjects for speculation. But the certain failure of their much ballyhooed approach is not.
Uncritical acceptance of collectivist egalitarian assumptions, once limited to certain factions on the far Left, has become the norm in American political life since the start of the era, we addressed in our April, 2005 essay. Those assumptions were the orthodoxy for a generation or more in Academia before then. They have become the virtual norm, also, in Western Europe. We have repeatedly demonstrated their failure, before the bar of reason, in numerous essays. We believe that any rational person, with even average intelligence, who understands the context both of phenomena and ideas, can demonstrate the absurdity of the tangential path on which America & much of the West has embarked; the profound fallacies in a path that truly imperils the Western future. But we need young men & women with the integrity & courage to make such an effort.
Our hope is that we can count on you!