American Essentials

July, 2010 Feature--Truth Based Logic


Synopsis
Two essential threads to any defense of American tradition, values & future: Government limited by strictures of compact & Natural Law. Progress based upon individual initiative, responsibility & accumulated achievement. What is morally right & what actually works.

The strongest argument is always that which cuts to the essential fundament of any issue; that which answers the basic questions; that most consistent with both the facts & concepts involved in defining what is cause and what effect in the context of such issue. In the past century of almost unremitting challenge to traditional American values, almost all issues--indeed virtually every subject of serious ideological confrontation (as opposed to mere dispute as to the best implementation of an agreed policy, program or pursuit) could have been better addressed on two distinct, yet completely complementary fronts:

1. By analysis of the nature (and basis) for the exercise of political power--specifically, in any given case, an exploration of the legitimacy (Constitutionality) of the exercise of political power in the particular situation.

2. By analysis of reasonably anticipated consequences from the exercise of such power as is proposed, among those segments of the population upon which some effect may be expected; in brief, the net effect of what is proposed on the social & economic well being of all in any way involved.

Unfortunately, very little of the public discourse in America since World War I has been so framed. We do not suggest that no one has discussed the Constitutionality of proposed Legislation; only that such discussion has been limited, both by the disinclination of speakers to analyze anything very deeply, and by an abysmal lack of reference to the actual context of quoted clauses. In recent decades, almost no one has even attempted to put the document--the sole basis for the Federal Government to act legally, with any moral authority--in the broader, but clarifying, context of a once well understood tradition from Magna Carta, down through the Declaration of Independence, to the profound social & political insights of the Founding Fathers.

Nor, certainly, would we deny that many have challenged the claimed consequences for political innovations over the past three generations. The problem is that most of those challenges have reflected the particular myopia of individual speakers; a clumsy inability to tap into the wider experience of their listeners, to paint a clear picture of why mostly bad things must be expected from any Government subsidy of misdirected behavior; from Governmental pandering to human jealousy; from Governmental promotion of fantasy in pursuit of a non-existent--an easily demonstrated non-existent--equality of human potential. All too often, the approach was only narrow "nit-picking"; basically an attempt to set one particular interest against another. What was lost was an opportunity to actually wake the public to the real danger & damage from Socialist thinking, while only trivializing the real threat from the immediate innovation.

The purpose of this web site is to provide the arguments that should have been employed; arguments for which Leftists--from Jacobin days to today's Marxist influenced pseudo-intellectual poseurs ("Mipips")--have no answer. Readers are invited to browse the offerings on a wide variety of subjects to find approaches which best fit their own preferences. But we will illustrate how the two proposed approaches work with respect to two subjects--and how the dual approach to each subject, not only cuts to the essence of that subject, but complements the effectiveness of a similar approach to the other, with positive cumulative effect.

Federal Interference In Local Education

In Chapter 28 of the Conservative Debate Handbook, we discussed issues relevant to Federal involvement in local education in some depth. There is relevant discussion elsewhere in the Handbook, particularly Chapters 5 & Last, all of which may be instantly linked from the menu below. Therefore, we will only summarize essential points.

For anyone who understands how completely the enjoyment of basic liberty depends upon the Rule of Law, upon recognized and enforced limitations on the power of Government--the power of those in office at any moment to force their whims, fancies and will upon others--it should not be necessary to belabor the point. If you have a Government created by a written document (the Constitution), framed as reflection of a social & political tradition, already at least 572 years old from Magna Carta, at the time the Constitution was even proposed; a document reflecting the framers firm belief that the proper relationship of man or woman to Government must be governed by Natural Law; a document growing out of a successful Revolution, motivated by a sense that the then central Government was exceeding its proper authority, both under Natural Law & a previous social compact; there is no way one can rationalize the sort of legal anarchy by which temporary office holders are allowed to exceed their carefully defined authority.

Nor can one argue that it was purely accidental that the Constitution did not give the Federal Government an ongoing role in local education in the several States. The very year that the Constitution was so carefully drafted, conferring distinct and carefully defined functions on the Federal Government, the existing Congress under the Articles of Confederation that preceded the Federal Union, had specifically addressed education in Article III of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, as an ordained responsibility of the territorial administration of the territory intended to be formed into new States to rank equally, in time, with the existing States:

Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.

There was no need to go further, or even repeat that mantra in the Federal Constitution. The execution of such declared purpose fell upon the parents of American children, and beyond them, the local communities. Indeed, for the next two generations, there was little, if any, public (even local Government) role in the avowed process of promoting religion, morality and knowledge through education. The idea of an overreaching Federal Government, seeking to meddle in the inherently personal, interactive need for such education, would have been seen as a surrender of what had been won in the rebellion against overreaching central power that had been the crowning achievement of the Founding Fathers.

The second prong of our approach is also clearly applicable. There is no conceivable benefit, if one understands the actual dynamics of an educational process, in having layers of bureaucracy involved in making decisions; in diverting attention from the individual needs of individual children, interacting with individual teachers in local classrooms, by forcing participants to limit approaches to such individual needs, in order to satisfy arbitrary mandates, decreed by far off committees, substituting academic theories for "hands-on" interaction, unique to each child. No reader ever sat in a class room where all children had equal potential, equal aptitudes, the same problems, the same personalities, needs, incentives, enjoyments, fears, or frustrations.

Federal Efforts To Redistribute Wealth Or Promote Social Diversity

Of course, the same arguments apply to Federal efforts to redistribute wealth or promote social diversity in local communities. And in such parallel application, each iteration of an argument strengthens those made previously.

Specifically, the Constitution not only confers no functional role on the Federal Government to equalize human circumstances. Even a cursory reading of Article I, Section 9, which provides (inter alia) that there be no direct tax on the citizen except in proportion to the census--in other words, no higher tax on the rich, to redistribute the fruits of labor, than on the poor--should give a clear idea of the framers' intention as to use of Government as a social or economic leveler.

As for the deliberate promotion of social diversity--Federal Legislation against ethnic or religious preferences in housing, or an immigration policy that since 1965 has actually favored third world immigration as opposed to that from Nations that contributed most heavily to the original settlement of the America we know? Not only is there no suggestion of such a goal in the Constitution. Even a rudimentary knowledge of American history will demonstrate the total absurdity. The plain truth is that many of the original Colonies, that became the States that established our Constitutional Union, were settled by folk who wanted specific communities of like types. Those who settled Virginia & Massachusetts, as prime examples, had been killing each other in England, before migrating to congenial destinations. They came together with common purpose in the Revolution; but no part of that purpose was to force involuntary associations between diverse groups. That was hardly the dispensation they fought for! (And note the discussion of the Constitution in "Return to Ground," linked below.)

The consequences of a redistribution of wealth--the fruits of other people's labor--as the pursuit of "diversity," "multi-culturalism." etc., have all been entirely predictable--both here & overseas. If you subsidize failure, or unfortunate behavior, you can obviously expect to get more of it. If you tax success to subsidize poor conduct, you also destroy some of the incentives for success--a compounding of stupidity. (An effective opposite to trying to teach those who fail, to emulate the conduct of those who succeed, to the extent they are able--one way to actually help the former. To emulate is to assume personal responsibility, a rejection of the cult of dependency, based upon a culture of envy & resentment, offered by the Left.)

The consequences of a frenetic pursuit of "diversity" have been yet more dramatic. But they have been equally predictable, even if conveniently overlooked in most analysis of cause & effect. The problem, here, is that few in Academia want to acknowledge the importance of social cohesion, of clear identification with a specific population, with specific values, developed through a common history, common struggle, common achievement. Throughout human history, the trend towards the cosmopolitan, while intriguing in many ways, has tended to break down traditional mores, the defined moral codes of established nations.

Thus the effect of the pursuit of "diversity" on American family structures, has escaped much notice outside circles on the Right. But whether you look at one or another community; whether you assess the phenomenon by locality or race, there has been a consistent pattern, characterized not only by a gross shortening of the duration of marriages, but by an explosion of births out of wedlock (during a period when contraception was more readily available than ever before), almost in direct proportion to the extent those in any subject group embraced or accepted "diversity" or "multi-culturalism," by any name, as a proper goal. To the extent that girls, White, Black, Hispanic, Indian, Asian, North, South, East or West, learned to disrespect their Grandmother's advice, drawn from ancestral family values as to how one should behave, the continuity of their families broke down. The long term consequences are almost incalculable. But there is no way they can be anything but destructive to the social well-being of all involved.

There is no benefit to any group in losing the motivations that induce constructive behavior, or long-term, multi-generational purpose. That is what the traditional family was all about. The breakdown is what destroys civilization.

Conclusion

The astute reader will recognize that both illustrations really address the same Mipip fantasy--the compulsion driven need to seek or pretend a non-existent equality of human potential; a pretense that we are all interchangeable, that one dispensation suits all, equally well; the lunacy that drove the Jacobins to murder & pillage; that led to the Marxist ravages of the 20th Century. There is neither coincidence nor subterfuge involved. Virtually all of the antics of the Left since the French atrocity, remembered now as the "Reign Of Terror," have involved some aspect of the same insane pursuit. Any Conservative, still unwilling to challenge the fantasy driven premises, remains part of the problem. To argue secondary issues, rather than go directly to expose the basic underlying fallacy, is to surrender not only the greatest, most obvious, tactical advantage, but the moral high ground--the pursuit of truth, as first priority--to the fantasy seekers who would destroy our way of life.

William Flax





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