Republican Party Est. March 20, 1854: A look back and looking forward by Bob Livingston

The following article is courtesy of Bob Livingston, Publisher of the Personal Liberty Digest. Our thanks to Bob for this insightful review of the history of the Republican Party, established one-hundred and sixty years old today.

On March 20, 1854, the Republican Party was born in Wisconsin. The party consisted of an amalgam of parties, business groups and other special interest groups, but was primarily made up of former Whigs and members of the Free Soil Party.

The Whigs believed in protectionism for industry, a national bank and currency, a large national debt, and large Federal government engaged in extensive public works. Free Soilers believed in free land and subsidies for farmers. Business leaders wanted a protectionist big government that would keep them free from competition and send them money from the Federal treasury.

Whigs favored the economic platforms of Federalist Alexander Hamilton and former Whig leader Henry Clay. These ideas formed the economic agenda of the new Republican Party. “They advocated protective tariffs for industry, a national bank, and plenty of public works and patronage,” explained the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

The Republican Party nominated its first Presidential candidate for the 1856 election. John C. Fremont won 11 of 16 Northern States. The party’s fortunes were brighter in 1860, though, with the Democrat Party divided and Southern States threatening secession if Republican candidate and railroad lawyer Abraham Lincoln won the Presidency.

As the historian Bruce Catton wrote in The Civil War, in 1860, Lincoln wanted to be the nominee of the Republican Party — a party that consisted of an amalgam of former members of the defunct Whig Party, Free Soilers (those who believed all new territories should be slave-free), business leaders who wanted a central government that would protect industry and ordinary folk who wanted a homestead act that would provide free farms in the West. “The Republican platform, however, did represent a threat to Southern interests. It embodied the political and economic program of the North — upward revision of the tariff, free farms in the West, railroad subsidies, and all the rest.”

In his book, The Constitution in Exile, Judge Andrew Napolitano wrote: “For forty years, Clay supported the creation of an American empire through measures such as corporate welfare, (which politicians like to call ‘internal improvements’); today we call them corporate tax breaks, protectionist tariffs, and a nationwide central bank. All the things that Clay favored in essence provided for a highly centralized government. And Lincoln supported them all.”

In the early 1860s, the Republican Party’s flurry of new laws, regulations and bureaucracies created by Lincoln and the northern Republicans foreshadowed Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” for volume, scope and questionable Constitutionality of its legislation.

The term “New Deal” was only co-opted by Roosevelt. It was first coined to describe Lincoln and the Republican agenda by a Raleigh, N.C., newspaper editor in 1865.

“Lincoln’s massive expansion of the federal government into the economy led Daniel Elazar to claim, ‘ . . . one could easily call Lincoln’s presidency the “New Deal” of the 1860s.’ Republicans established a much larger, more powerful, and more destructive federal government in the 1860s,” Mises explained.

Today, Republican elites try to cast themselves as the party of small government. But during the past 40 years, the party of Lincoln has done much more to grow government than reduce it. Both Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald Ford expanded the Great Society programs of Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1970, Nixon imposed wage and price controls throughout the economy, imposed a tax surcharge on all imports and removed the American dollar from the gold standard [August 1971] – hardly small-government policies.

Nixon’s policies sparked a rise in oil prices and caused the Great Inflation of the 1970s, according to Charles R. Morris, writing in his book, The Trillion Dollar Meltdown. Morris writes that Nixon was a Keynesian through and through, as were his supposedly conservative cabinet members.

President Ronald Reagan was a believer in limited government, and he took steps to reduce its size. His tax cuts stimulated the economy; but Democrats controlled the House, and he was vilified by them for his efforts to reduce domestic spending while he increased military spending. While he campaigned on balancing the budget, he did not accomplish it and deficits soared. His limited-government agenda was hijacked by the Democrats and the Council on Foreign Relations, the members of which dominated Reagan’s staff.

President George H.W. Bush was elected to continue Reagan’s policies but despite his “Read my lips. No new taxes” pledge, Bush 41 was neither a small-government guy nor a believer in Reagan’s low-tax policies or trickle-down economics. He was a true Republican. He immediately joined the Democrats and raised taxes and grew government.

The second President Bush, George W. (compassionate conservative), was simply a big-government [one-world government] promoter. He expanded the Federal reach into our children’s education with No Child Left Behind, along with Senator Edward Kennedy, expanded entitlement programs like the Medicare Drug benefit and embarked on a war strategy that helped push a teetering economy over the cliff.

More egregious than that was his USA PATRIOT Act [overrules 4th and 5th Amendments, thus far] — which, among other things, suspended habeas corpus — and other supposed terrorism-fighting provisions that intrude on the liberty and privacy of Americans and codified the expansive spying bureaucracy we only now learning the depth and scope of. And many Republicans claiming to be conservative went right along.

“I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system,” Bush 43 said, in classic Bushism fashion, as he pushed his Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

So those of you who are counting on the Republican Party elites to rein in government have embarked on a fool’s errand. The GOP remains true to its roots, planted 160 years ago, today. A very unhappy birthday to the GOP.

ABOUT BOB LIVINGSTON

More than 40 years ago Bob Livingston saw where the nation and the world were headed, and he was alarmed. He knew he had to speak up, to be the warning oracle for those who would hear and heed the alarm. Now he works to expose the lies, deceit, misinformation and disinformation being spread as the “truth” by the government, the manipulated media and the controlling elite.

In the decades since, Bob Livingston—contrarian, ultraconservative, researcher and student of history—has stood as a vigilant and sometimes lonely but always steadfast and vocal sentinel against the forces both within and without our country that seek to subvert our freedoms and control our lives for their own ends.

In doing so he has always uncovered and provided for his readers the truth on a variety of subjects such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, issues of privacy, asset protection and preservation of freedom—even when that truth is uncomfortable to accept. Bob’s actual identity is kept secret so he can move freely working as a consumer watchdog in his quest to help you preserve your freedom, improve your health, boost your wealth and protect your civil liberties

Learn more about Bob at his Personal Liberty Digest.

Cruz: ‘Defend Life’ and ‘Defend Traditional Marriage’

Joe Miller from Restoring Liberty writes, “Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a potential presidential contender in 2016, said the Republican Party needs a ‘big tent’ that embraces centuries-old ‘American values’ to succeed, adding that the GOP ‘should continue to defend life and that we should continue to defend traditional marriage.’”

Cruz made his remarks during a March 18th interview with the Des Moines Register, where he was asked about Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who recently said that for the Republican Party to grow and recruit more young people, it needed to “agree to disagree on social issues,” specifically homosexual “marriage”.

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A VERY BAD IDEA: Transferring Control of the Internet to the UN

From an intelligence standpoint, it does not make sense to turn over control of the Internet to the UN. At a time when the US Armed Forces and the intelligence community are both trying to develop our national defenses against the threats of cyber warfare, to divest the nation of control of the Internet is not in the best interest of the nation. The Pentagon, White House, and other agencies of government have been signaling the onset of cyber warfare.

Obama’s transfer of the Internet to the UN is just another illustration of how he continues to weaken the Republic, his goal seems to move the nation to a post-modern utopian world. The Obama administration has been informing the world that Putin is on the wrong side of history, that Putin is living in the 19th Century of nationalism, not in Obama’s 21st Century vision of internationalism.

Obama believes anyone espousing nationalism in the United States is backwards, uneducated, and a danger to the “change” he envision for the United States. While Obama is degrading the strength of the US military to a level that existed before WWII, and is intent on seriously damaging the economic power of the nation, as he drives the Republic into unheard of levels of debt (soon the interest on the national debt will exceed the GNP).

Obama believes that the nation-state, and sovereignty must no longer be the basis for the foundation of the international system, in Obama’s new 21st Century world, he alleges Putin doesn’t understand, he wants to eliminate the US status as the only Superpower. It is rather apparent that Putin does understand Obama’s naive vision of the 21st Century and is taking full advantage of it, and of Obama’s leadership from behind. A destabilizing transfer of control of the Internet to the UN will not be in the best interest of the American people, the US Armed Forces, or for The Free Enterprise System. If control of the Internet is transferred to the UN, the American people can expect the UN to eventually levy taxes on use its use; the American public has been fortunate that ever since the US military created the Internet, it has been free for all Americans to use free of taxes.

Eventually the UN may allow certain restrictions to be imposed against certain member states that are not looked on favorably by the majority of member nations, like Israel, the United States, or any other nation the majority member states may disagree with. Internet privacy and computer security has always been protected by the United States, but can be abused by a new and unknown power structure at the UN.

The Republican leadership in the Congress that has done very little or nothing to oppose Obama’s transfer of the Internet to the UN, must take action to prevent the occupant of the Oval Office from effecting the transfer.

It appears Obama is transferring control of the Internet to the UN because he has had difficulty dealing with the open criticism of his administration on the Internet daily; that criticism, guaranteed by the freedom of speech, under provisions of the US Constitution has been difficult for him to accept.

It has been impossible for the Obama administration to control the American people’s freedom of expression, as they criticize the Obama administration’s multiple failures and scandals on Internet daily. Since the Internet would have to remain free and open if it were to remain under the control of the US Commerce Department, that must be changed. When the Obama administration turns control of the Internet over to the UN, he has full knowledge that a coalition of nations that restrict the freedom of expression of their own populations will endeavor to suppress the freedom of expression on the Internet.

Countries like China, Cuba, Iran, the Soviet Union, Syria, Sudan, Venezuela, Bolivia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Algeria, etc. will take aggressive action to change the Internet as we know it today. The American people will forced by the Obama administration to abide by new oppressive UN Internet regulations, and Americans will be forced to abide by new UN Internet restricted regulations be penalized if they do not, or even worse. The American people must be allowed to assert their freedom of expression on the Internet and their right to oppose any attempt to suppress their freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution, regardless of what any new UN Internet regulations may require.

The transfer of the Internet to UN control is not a small issue, it is about basic freedoms guaranteed to all Americans by the US Constitution, and must be opposed by any and all means possible. We encourage you to contact your Congressional representatives and demand that they take whatever action is required to prevent the transfer of Internet control to the UN.

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Russia controls Crimea, Ukraine plans joint exercises with US & UK. Anyone listening?

Masked by the media frenzy and focus on the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, Russian President Vladimir Putin is increasing his military incursion into Crimea, while Ukraine struggles to defend its sovereign nation. Faced by the Russian threat, Ukraine’s security chief announced it would hold joint military exercises with the United States and Britain.

As reported by the Associated Press, “Ukraine’s government said Wednesday it has begun drawing up plans to pull its troops from Crimea, where Russia is steadily taking formal control as its armed forces seize military installations across the disputed peninsula.” The most recent action involves masked Russian-speaking troops who seized control over Ukraine’s naval headquarters in the city of Sevastopol.

The several hundred militiamen who captured the base in Sevastopol met no resistance. The Russian-speaking troops, who arrived on the base after the storming, wore helmets, flak jackets and uniforms with no identifying insignia — a clear Geneva Convention violation. By afternoon, they were in full control of the naval headquarters.

Ukraine’s defense minister and deputy prime minister had planned to travel to Crimea on Wednesday in bid to avert an escalation in hostilities. But Sergei Aksyonov, the prime minister in Crimea, warned after the announcement of their departure that they would be turned back. And so it seems Crimea is indeed no longer a part of Ukraine — it is Russian — while the world stands by and watches. And as this video by The UK Guardian shows, for Pro-Russian separatists, Crimea is only the beginning.

Russian news agencies on Wednesday cited Constitutional Court chairman Valery Zorkin as saying the treaty signed by Putin has been ruled valid, thus formally clearing another hurdle for Moscow to annex Crimea.

In a warning to Moscow, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden declared the United States will respond to any aggression against its NATO allies, which include neighbors to Russia. “Russia cannot escape the fact that the world is changing and rejecting outright their behavior,” Biden said, after meeting in Vilnius with the presidents of Lithuania and Latvia. Ukraine’s secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said today that his country will hold maneuvers with the countries that signed the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, but he didn’t give any specifics.

The 1994 Budapest Memorandum was signed by the U.S., Britain and Russia to guarantee Ukraine’s territorial integrity when it surrendered its share of Soviet nuclear arsenals to Russia — how’s that working so far? Seems the only country holding maneuvers is indeed Russia — and not guaranteeing Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.

As well, it seems Russia is now massing forces for “military maneuvers” near the Estonian border — any ethnic Russians there? The proverbial clock is ticking and twelve F-16s are not going to send a message. I think I know a great mission for the A-10 Warthogs. Oops, I forgot, Defense Secretary Hagel wants to retire that fleet — supposedly it’s outdated and its original mission is no longer valid. Think again, Mr. Hagel.

RELATED STORY: Washington Post: Goodbye, Russia; hello again, Cold War-era Group of Seven

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com. The featured image is of a Ukrainian 9K22 Tunguska SAM during the Independence Day parade in Kiev, Ukraine in 2008.  The photo was taken by Michael and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Is Liberty on the Rise? History says yes! by Julian Adorney

Some libertarians despair at the prospect of shrinking Leviathan. How can we make meaningful change when the system is stacked against us? And how can we be freer when our political leaders only seem interested in growing government and having more control over the economy?

But the fact is that we’ve already made enormous strides. The history of the federal government since World War II tells a tale of increasing freedom and—believe it or not—decreased intervention. In the great battle of ideas between economic liberty and interventionism, liberty is slowly winning.

Let’s look at some examples.

For most of the twentieth century, wage and price controls were seen as mainstream “cures” for the excesses of capitalism. Presidents from Kennedy to Nixon sought to centrally manage the economy and to dictate prices in order to shepherd resources away from some industries and divert them into others.

During the Korean War, President Truman created the Office of Price Administration and the Wage Stabilization Board to dictate the economy’s course from Washington. Their rules mandated price freezes in some areas and allowed increases in others. The official goal was to promote production in some sectors and decrease demand in others. In the 1960s, these methods were replaced with “guideposts”: The federal government set specific wages and quotas of production, and encouraged business leaders to meet them. Meeting the guideposts was rarely mandated, but Presidents Kennedy and Johnson “jawboned” businesses into doing so.

It would be as if today, President Obama suggested that Apple sell its iPad for $600—and then twisted CEO Tim Cook’s arm to make it happen. (I am aware of the President’s complicity in distorting the health insurance and healthcare “markets,” but predecessors succeeded in distorting the entire national economy.)

Price and wage controls continued through the 1970s, especially as a “cure” for recession or inflation. To combat stagflation, President Nixon passed general price controls on everything from bread to gasoline. The predictable result—shortages, queuing, and general misery for the common American—didn’t stop him from continuing the program for four years. He also mandated that wages rise by a maximum of 5.5 percent per year.

Today, “solutions” like Nixon’s—or Kennedy’s or Johnson’s, to say nothing of the central economic planning and interventions of FDR—aren’t even considered. If Obama had proposed controlling the price of bread in response to the 2009 recession, he would have been laughed off the stage by a country that has swung pro-market since World War II.

Of course, officials are still trying to controls wages and prices today. The minimum wage erects a price floor for wages and (again) Obamacare mandates that insurance companies not raise premiums beyond certain levels. But these isolated examples are relatively tolerable compared to the extent of central planning that was being carried out in much of the twentieth century.

Tax rates are another example of liberty slowly gaining ground against government control. Obama’s latest tax hikes are cause for concern, but they are moderate compared to rates Americans faced in the 40 years before the Reagan presidency. In 1944, the highest marginal tax rate of 94 percent was applied to incomes over $200,000 (about $2.6 million in today’s dollars). That was supposed to be a wartime tax, but marginal tax rates above 90 percent stuck around through the 1950s. The highest rate gradually fell to 70 percent when Reagan took office, and even he maintained the top rate at 50 percent for several years.

But that’s just the income tax; surely taxes overall have risen? Well, when you look at federal revenue overall, the picture is still not bad. In the 1950s, tax revenue averaged 17.19 percent of GDP. That number rose to 18 percent in the 1960s and hovered there, or a little higher, through the 1990s.

But after a peak in the Clinton years, federal revenues—total federal taxation—have fallen, at least as a share of GDP. In the 2000s, revenue hovered around 17 percent of GDP. Now it’s at 15.25 percent.

In fact, these numbers undersell the argument that economic liberty is on the rise, because of the Laffer curve. Marginal tax rates of 90-plus percent reduced production, bringing in less revenue. They distorted the economy by disincentivizing production. Because marginal tax rates today are lower, they distort the economy and diminish economic liberty less than those in the 1950s, even though both rates brought in similar net revenue. Tax rates are also a good measure of economic liberty (or lack thereof). After all, taxation deprives you of the fruits of your labors. It also causes economic distortions.

Admittedly, our government has now chosen increased debt over higher taxes. Our $17 trillion debt is a ticking time bomb, and it’s difficult to predict when it will go off. Presidents Obama and Bush have increased the federal debt by trillions of dollars. This increase is certainly cause for concern, and it is the next great battleground for advocates of economic liberty. But 90 percent marginal tax rates are a political non-starter, and that indicates progress.

Even Austrian economics—the purest brand of economic liberty—is making a comeback. After FDR adopted Keynesian central planning on a vast scale to combat the Great Depression, Austrian economics fell into disfavor. Every major political figure was a Keynesian advised by Keynesians. Austrian economics became the purview of a few thinkers who had been relegated to the fringe. These men, from Friedrich Hayek to Henry Hazlitt, worried deeply about the torch of liberty being extinguished in their lifetimes. The idea that intervention might hurt an economy—a core concept in Austrian economics—was so fringe that most people didn’t even know it existed. The first Austrian conference, in the 1970s, had only 50 attendees.

Since then, Austrian economics has slowly been gaining momentum. Strangely, this momentum increased exponentially with Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign for president, in which Paul stumped regularly about Austrian economics.

Today, with the failure of Obama’s stimulus package to cure the Great Recession, Austrian economics is ascendant. Talk of the gold standard, of letting recessions play out and markets self-correct, of the role of the Federal Reserve in creating the housing bubble—these ideas are becoming mainstream. It’s just one more way the ideas of liberty are gaining strength.

Of course, Leviathan is still a force to be reckoned with. We have an activist Federal Reserve that recently launched its sixth round of quantitative easing. Widespread price controls may be a thing of the past, but in 2011 there were 169,000 pages of federal regulation affecting how we could live our lives. The Affordable Care Act is already making its presence felt in the healthcare industry.

But one can think of the century-plus struggle between interventionism and economic liberty as a football game. Our side got hammered in the first quarter. Between 1900 and 1940, we saw the creation of the Federal Reserve, the passage of an income tax, and the election of a planner’s president in FDR, who shaped economic policy for decades to come. Interventionism racked up a heck of a score in that first quarter.

But since then, economic liberty has been clawing back. We’ve beaten back price controls and high marginal tax rates. We have reintroduced Austrian economics into the mainstream discussion. Since 1940, economic liberty has staged a major resurgence in terms of federal policy. We’re still losing—that is, things having gotten worse over the last 15 years or so—but we’re rapidly gaining ground. Recent administrations have set our progress back. But they’re a blip in a long-term trend toward freer markets.

We libertarians tend to look at U.S. politics and despair. But when we look over longer timescales, our side is mounting a comeback.

ABOUT JULIAN ADORNEY

Julian Adorney is an entrepreneur and fiction writer. He has written for the Ludwig von Mises Institute and runs a libertarian blog.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock. 

Advice to Young, Unemployed Workers by Jeffrey A. Tucker

We are now in the fifth year of very choppy hiring markets for young workers. The latest unemployment numbers once again leave them out from posted gains. Not even the boom in temporary employment included them.

The United States has one of the highest rates of unemployment among 20-to-26-year-olds in the world. Nearly half of the U.S. army of unemployed is under the age of 34. As for those who are hired, there is a huge gap between wage expectations and paycheck realities, which is exactly what you would expect in a post-boom world. A survey by Accenture finds that more than 41 percent of recent U.S. college graduates are disillusioned, underemployed, and not using their college degrees in their work.

The young generation faces challenges unlike any that most people alive have seen. This situation requires new adaptive strategies.

What follows, then, is my letter of advice to young workers.

Dear Young Workers:

Even if it weren’t for the economic stagnation, you would already be facing a tough market. That’s because you are showing up at the job marketplace nearly empty-handed. Our society long ago decided it was better for you to sit in desks for 16 years than to gain any real work experience in the marketplace that is likely to hire you later.

Even if it were legal for you to work when you are capable of doing so—from the age of maybe 12 or 13—the government has imposed these wage-floor laws that price your services out of the market. Then you are told that if you stay in school, you will get a great, high-paying job right out of college. Then it turns out that employers aren’t interested in you. You are beginning to sense that employers think you have few marketable skills and have no demonstrated predisposition to produce.

Here’s the root of the problem: People have been lying to you all your life.

As a young child you were repeatedly fed slogans about the equality of everyone. The urges to compete and win were suppressed in your childhood games, while sharing and caring for others were exalted above all other values.

Then at some point—somewhere between the ages of 7 and 10—something changed. All that caring/sharing stuff ended and a world of dog-eat-dog began. You were expected to get perfect grades, to excel at math and science, to be perfectly obedient, to stay in school for as long as possible. You were told that if you did that, everything would work out for you.

It does work out for some. But only a small minority of people are disposed to both compliance and rote learning. And even for those people, not everyone gets what he’s been promised. As for the rest, there is no plan in place. Those who fall through the cracks are expected to make it on their own somehow.

How do you make it? It all comes down to remunerative work. And there’s the barrier you face right now. You have the desire and you are looking for some institution that values what you have to contribute. But you can’t find the match.

Consider: Why does any business hire an employee? It happens based on the belief that the business will make more money with the employee than without it. The business pays you, you do work, and, as a result, there are greater returns coming in than there would otherwise be.

But think through what this means. It means you have to add more value than you take out. For every dollar you earn, you have to make it possible for the business to earn a dollar plus something extra. This task is not easy. Businesses have costs to cover in addition to your salary. For example, government mandates that businesses be insured. You have to be trained. There could be healthcare costs, too. There are uncertainties to deal with. All of these add to the burden that you place on the business, which adds to the costs of hiring you.

What this means is you have to be more valuable than you think. Why are minimum wage jobs so hard? Because it’s difficult for an inexperienced worker to be worth paying that much. The employer has to extract as much value as possible from the relationship with you just to make that relationship happen at all. That can’t happen right away because odds are you are losing the company money in the first months of employment simply because you are untrained. You end up scrambling like crazy just to earn your keep.

If you already understand this rule—that you must add more value than you take out—you now know more than vast numbers of young workers. And this gives you an advantage. While everyone else is grumbling about the workload and low pay, you can know why you are having to hustle so much and be happier for it. You are producing more for the company than you take out. Doing that consistently is the way to get ahead. In fact, it’s the key to life.

But in order to get ahead, you have to be a player in the first place. It does little good to sit around and wait for the right job at the right pay. Forget all your expectations. If something, anything, comes along, you should jump on it immediately. No job is too menial, despite what you have been told. The goal is just to get in the game. Yes, you have much higher salary expectations, and those might be met someday. But not yet.

The first step is to get into the game at some wage, just something, somewhere. The fear that such work, whatever it is, is somehow beneath you is a serious source of personal undoing. Those who are willing to perform the most “menial” of jobs are the people who can make a good life for themselves. Just because you perceive the job as “menial” does not mean it is not valuable to others and especially, ultimately, to you.

You learn from every job you have. You learn how to interact with others, how a business runs, how people think, how bosses think, and how those who succeed get ahead versus those who fail. Working is a time for learning, as much as or more than school.

People’s number-one fear is that their job will somehow define their lives. Hence, they conclude that a job stocking shelves at Walmart will redefine or dumb down who they are. This notion is absolutely untrue. That job is a brick in your foundation.

In order to get any job, you have to do more than drop off a resume or file one online. You have to emerge from the pack. That means that you have to sell yourself like a commodity. You have to market yourself (and marketing is the least-appreciated and yet most-crucial feature of all commercial acts). That is not degrading; it is an opportunity. Find out everything you can about the company and its products. After you apply, you need to go back and back, meet the managers, meet the owners, all with the goal of showing them how much value you will add to their enterprise.

In this new job, success is not hard, but it requires discipline. Just follow a few simple rules. Never be late. Do first whatever your immediate supervisor tells you to do. Do it much more quickly and thoroughly than he or she expects. When that is done, do some unexpected things that add value to the environment. Never complain. Never gossip. Never partake in office politics. Be a model employee. That’s the path toward thriving.

It’s not just about adding value to the company. It’s about adding value to yourself. The digital age has given us all amazing tools for accumulating personal capital. Get a LinkedIn account and attach your job to your personal identity. Start putting together that essential network. This network is something that will grow throughout your life, starting now and lasting until the end. It could be the most valuable commodity you have outside your own character and skills. Take possession of your work experience and make it your own.

While doing all this excellent work, you need to be thinking about two possible paths forward, each of them equally viable: advance within this one firm or move to another firm. You should go with whichever is to your best advantage. Never stop looking for your next job. This is true now and always throughout your life.

A huge mistake people make is to embed themselves emotionally in one institution. The law encourages this attitude by tying all sorts of advantages to the status-quo job you currently hold. You get health benefits, time off, scheduled raises, and it is always easier to stick with what you know. To do so is a mistake. Progress comes through disruption, and sometimes you have to disrupt yourself to make that progress happen.

To be willing to forgo the security of one job for the uncertainty of another gives you an edge. Average people around you will sacrifice every principle and every truth for the sake of security. People, with very few exceptions, fear the uncertainty of an unknown future more than the seeming security of a known status quo. They will give up every right and every bit of their souls for the promise of security (whether it be through a paycheck or an armed police officer), even to the point of personal misery or obeying a wicked despot (whether it be a boss or a dictator). You can break free of this tendency, but it takes courage, risk-taking, and a conscious act of defying convention.

You should always think of yourself as a productive unit that is always on the job market. You can go from institution to institution, always upgrading your skills and hence your wages. Never be afraid to try something new or to plunge into a new work environment.

Clever finance management here is crucial. Never live at the level that matches your income. Your standard of living, instead, should match your next-best employment opportunity, the one you have forgone or the one you might take next. If you stick with this practice—and it requires discipline—you will be free to choose where you work and to take greater risks. You will also develop a cushion should something go wrong.

At the same time, there could be advantages to sticking around one place, even as everyone else around you is moving from here to there. Even if that happens, you should still think of yourself as being on the market. You are governing yourself. Don’t let yourself be beholden to anyone, but understand also that no one owes you a living. That’s the only way to make clear judgments about your career path.

At every job, you are going to learn so much about human ethics, psychology, emotions, and behavior. Most of what you will learn will be enlightening and encouraging. Some of it, however, is not pretty and might come as a shock.

First, you will discover that people in general are extremely reluctant to admit error. People will defend an opinion or an action until the end, even if every bit of logic and evidence runs contrary. Sincere apologies and genuine admissions of error and wrongdoing are the rarest things in this world. There is no point at all in demanding apologies or in becoming resentful when they fail to appear. Just move on. Neither should you expect to always be rewarded for being right. On the contrary, people will often resent you and try to take you down.

How do you deal with this problem? Don’t get frustrated. Don’t seek justice. Accept the reality for what it is. If a job isn’t working out, move on. If you get fired, don’t seek vengeance. Anger and resentment accomplish absolutely nothing. Keep your eye on the goal of personal and professional advancement, and think of anything that interrupts your path as a diversion and a distraction.

Second, we all want to believe that doing a great job and becoming excellent at something will lead to personal reward. This is not always or even often true. Excellence makes you a target of envy from those around you who have failed by comparison. Excellence can often harm your prospects for success. Meritocracy exists, and even prevails, but it is realized through your own initiative, and it is never just granted freely by some individual or institution. All personal and social progress comes about because you alone push through the attempts of everyone around you to stop it.

Third, people tend to possess a status-quo bias and prefer to follow orders and instructions; most people cannot imagine how the world around them might be different through initiative and change. If you can train yourself to imagine a world that doesn’t yet exist—to exercise the use of imagination and creativity in a commercial framework—you can become the most valuable person around. You might be among those who can be real entrepreneurs. You might even change the world.

As you develop and use these talents, and as they become ever more valuable to those around you, remember that you are not infallible. The commercial marketplace punishes pride and arrogance and it rewards humility and the teachable spirit. Be happy for your successes, but never stop learning. There is always more to know because the world is ever-changing, and none of us can know all things. The key to thriving in this life is to be prepared to not only change with it but to get in front of the change and drive it.

From where you are now, unemployed with few seeming prospects, your future might look hopeless. This perception is not true. There are barriers, to be sure, but they are there to be overcome by you and you alone. The world does not work like you were told it works when you were a kid. Deal with it and start engaging the reality around you right now just as it is, using intelligence, cunning, and charm. You are the decision-maker, and whether you succeed or fail ultimately depends on the decisions you make.

In many ways, you are a victim of a system that has conspired against you. But you get nowhere by acting like a victim. You don’t need to be a victim. You have free will and the capacity for self-governance; indeed, you possess the human right to choose. Today is the day to start exercising it.

Find a Portuguese translation of this article here.

20121129_JeffreyTuckeravatar (1)ABOUT JEFFREY A. TUCKER

Jeffrey Tucker is a distinguished fellow at FEE, CEO of the startup Liberty.me, and publisher at Laissez Faire Books. He will be speaking at the FEE summer seminar “Making Innovation Possible: The Role of Economics in Scientific Progress.”

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Common Core’s End Game: Redistributing Grades

Ending inequities in academic outcomes drives much of the decision-making for bureaucrats who run our schools. Ultimately, the education bureaucrats, who are beholden to Washington, express much anxiety over losing federal aid. The message from Washington is that outcomes will be equalized.  It’s in the President’s proposed education budget and new guidelines to eliminate “disparate punishment” on the basis of race. Merit and fairness are cast aside, as both rewards and punishments are redistributed.

When I teach college English, the topic of communism comes up because many writers, such as Richard Wright, were at one time communists. But I inevitably get students who think redistribution of wealth is nice-sounding.  Karl Marx’s dictum, “To each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” resonates with young adults who have been raised on tolerance and social justice.  But then I challenge them on the reality of this precept.  Would you share your cars, I ask.  How about your electronics?  How about your grades?  What if I redistribute the grades, so everyone gets the class average?  That’s when there is an objection!

Of course, they mind. It turns out that there is some resentment about similar efforts at redistribution they had been forced into when they did group projects in school.  Inevitably, there were one or two students in the group who did most of the work.  But the slackers still got the benefit in terms of their grade.

The Common Core standards are intended to replicate such redistribution on a national scale.

The main impetus behind Common Core is closing the achievement gap because it’s the main objective of school boards, superintendents, principals, and many teachers.  The way to close the achievement gap is by redistributing grades.

This may sound far-fetched or conspiratorial.  But the language is there even in the many reports produced by commissions and committees promoting Common Core. For example, the report by the Gordon Commission, “To Assess, to Teach, to Learn: A Vision for the Future of Assessment,” calls for recognizing “collective knowledge” in the Common Core assessments for the “21st century.” This report, authored by 30 “scholars, policymakers, and practitioners” (including Bill Ayers ally Linda Darling-Hammond who is in charge of one of two national Common Core tests) and 50 consultants, was commissioned by the Educational Testing Service, the company that puts out the SAT, which was changed on March 5, 2014, to align with Common Core.

Common Core redistributes grades in three ways, primarily:

  1. By lowering standards.
  2. By assigning points for behaviors and attitudes instead of academics.
  3. By grading students as a group instead of individually.

It does this in the areas of Math, English, and Science.

Lowering Standards in Math

Algebra is delayed until ninth grade (from eighth grade).  Here in Atlanta, the president of Georgia Institute of Technology said a student who had not had algebra in eighth grade and calculus by senior year wouldn’t be qualified for admission.

As in the other disciplines, Common Core math emphasizes “process.”  So, those students who arrive at the correct answer through the straightforward old-fashioned methods suffer when they fail to explain the process through convoluted diagrams, drawings, and explanations.  A student who comes up with the wrong answer but performs the required task of demonstrating process may get more points than the student who arrives at the correct answer.  But if we really look at the boxes and visual representations of math problems, we see that Common Core math speaks to those who do not grasp the concepts abstractly, but need visual representations.  It’s like using fingers and toes to do calculations.  Those who are able to memorize, work the calculations, or even do the math in their heads, will be punished.  Those who need the pictures will be rewarded.

Lowering Standards in English Language Arts (ELA)

Reading experts, like Maryanne Wolf, describe various levels of literacy or reading ability.  Beginning readers “decode” words, moving along slowly on the page.  “Fluent” readers read effortlessly and quickly.  They read with such ease that they are able to spend most of their mental energy analyzing what they are reading, bringing in prior knowledge, and adding new ideas.  Fluent readers read with pleasure; decoding readers struggle.

Under the pretext of “close reading” of short excerpts, Common Core forces the fluent readers to stay on a short passage until the entire class or group understands the content.

Section B of the Publishers Criteria reinforces reading as decoding by demanding that “All students (including those who are behind) have extensive opportunities to encounter grade-level complex text.”

Curiously, this section insists that rather than improving their own reading skills, struggling students be pulled along: “Far too often, students who have fallen behind are only given less complex texts rather than the support they need to read texts at the appropriate level of complexity.”  More opportunities for catch-up are embedded in the charge to “build progressions of texts of increasing complexity within grade-level bands that overlap to a limited degree with earlier bands (e.g., grades 4-5 and grades 6-8).”

Common Core discourages teachers from using any information beyond the text at hand.  For example, the sample teaching instructions for the Gettysburg Address bewildered teachers who were told to teach this seminal, historically and literarily important document “cold.”  Students in such class discussion are discouraged from bringing in outside information to the class discussion so as to level the playing field.

Common Core’s emphasis on “visual literacy” and speaking and listening skills also redistributes grades from fluent readers to struggling readers.  Students up through grade 12 are evaluated on “Speaking and Listening Standards” – abilities formerly mastered by first grade. Under Common Core, 11th and 12th graders have to demonstrate their ability to “Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions . . . with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics.  . . .”

So, much of class time is spent on group reading of very short passages, watching videos, playing educational computer games, and then having discussions among groups of students.  Students are graded on their ability to collaborate and accept diverse views. Thus, we jump ahead to another means of redistributing grades: rewarding compliant behavior.

Assessments Based on Attitudes and Behaviors

Another lengthy report, on assessments, sponsored by the Department of Education and titled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century” on new assessments, encourages following the KIPP charter school character report card, where students are graded on behaviors and attitudes. Sample measurements go beyond the simple “citizenship” segment of report cards of yore. Teachers evaluate the student on 24 characteristics, under the categories of “Zest,” (“Invigorates others”) “Grit,” “Self Control – School Work,” “Self Control Interpersonal,” “Optimism” (e.g., “Believes that effort will improve his or her future”), “Gratitude,” “Social Intelligence” (e.g., “Knows when and how to include others”), and “Curiosity.” The report also encourages the use of biometric computer measurements.

The evaluation of such “noncognitive” skills indicates a violation of personal boundaries between teachers and students, and between data companies and students.  And why should a student be graded on his ability to “invigorate others”?  This places the burden of other students’ performance on the student.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):

NGSS are not technically Common Core standards, but they are standards developed by the same group, Achieve, a consortium of corporations and some governors, that developed the other Common Core standards.  Many, however, fear that they are the next phase in the imposition of federal standards.  Ten states have already adopted them.

During a March 5, 2014, hearing on Georgia SB 167, an anti-Common Core bill, opponents objected to the fact that the bill precludes the implementation of NGSS.

As in the standards for ELA and math, the NGSS are intended to be transformative, or as Appendix A states, “to reflect a new vision for American science education.”  They call for new “performance expectations” that “focus on understanding and applications as opposed to memorization of facts devoid of context.”

It is precisely such short shrift to knowledge (dismissively referred to as “memorization”) to which science professors Lawrence S. Lerner and Paul Gross object.  Writing at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation blog, they charge that standards “slight” essential math skills and effectively eliminate high school physics.  They claim that the “practices” strategy of NGSS is an extension of the failing “inquiry learning” of the early 1990s.

As in ELA and math, “knowledge” in NGSS is shirked, while attitude is assigned high importance.  Students are given ideological lessons on such things as “Human impacts on Earth systems.” According to section ESS3.C, in grades K-2, students should understand, “Things people do can affect the environment but they can make choices to reduce their impact.” In grades 3 through 5, students should learn “Societal activities have had major effects on the land, ocean, atmosphere, and even outer space. Societal activities can also help protect Earth’s resources and environments.”

As I learned from attending the hearing on SB 167, ending inequities in academic outcomes drives much of the decision-making for bureaucrats who run our schools.  Philip Lanoue, superintendant of Clarke County Schools, one of the many state employees testifying against the Common Core withdrawal bill, praised Common Core for “equaling the playing field” and “closing the achievement gap.” Principals, teachers, and superintendants spoke about how Common Core “engages” students and involves “critical thinking.” (Teachers opposed to Common Core risk their jobs if they speak out.)

Sure, students are engaged when they work on fun projects.  Most would rather do that than read, write, or solve math problems.   Pretending to be pundits, or “critical thinkers,” as they repeat politically correct pieties, appeals to students’ vanity.  Common Core makes lagging students feel good about themselves, and it makes administrators look good.

Ultimately, the education bureaucrats are beholden to Washington.  Much anxiety was expressed at the hearing about losing federal aid were SB 167 to pass.

The message from Washington is that outcomes will be equalized.  It’s in the President’s proposed education budget and new guidelines to eliminate “disparate punishment” on the basis of race.  Merit and fairness are cast aside, as both rewards and punishments are redistributed.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research.

What is going on in the Virginia state legislature?

Something is terribly wrong with the Virginia state legislature.

On Wednesday, March 5th, in House Joint Resolution 484, the elected representatives of the people of Virginia commended the notorious, terror-tied Dar al Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church.

Dar al Hijrah has a history of ties to multiple known and convicted terrorists, led by its former Imam, Anwar al-Awlaki, who became head of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, before he was killed in a US air strike in 2011.

It was this institution that the Virginia House and Senate agreed to commend by voice vote.

This amounts to an official government endorsement of an entity whose members and employees have been tied to Jihad for many years.

In addition to the fact that an Imam at Dar al Hijrah mosque from 2001-2002 was Anwar al-Awlaki, not just an Al Qaeda terrorist, but the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the mosque has a macabre history and other Imams that have preached there have expressed violent extremist views as recently as 2013:

Other Imams at Dar al-Hijrah have expressed extremist views as well:

• Imam Sheik Shaker Elsayed of Dar al-Hijrah called for armed jihad in a speech at a high school in Alexandria, Virginia in February 2013.

Dar al-Hijrah is affiliated with three Muslim Brotherhood front groups (The Muslim Brotherhood has been designated a terrorist organization by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.) in the United States:

• The Muslim American Society

• The Islamic Society of North America

• The North American Islamic Trust

All three of these organizations were named as unindicted co-conspirators in the largest successful terrorism financing prosecution in US history: the US v the Holy Land Foundation.

This hardly seems like the type of organization that any governmental body in the United States—on any level—should be praising.

The members of the Virginia legislature—especially the leadership in both the House and Senate—should be ashamed. They should move right away to rescind the unjustified honor that they bestowed on Dar al-Hijrah and replace it with a resolution condemning the mosque’s numerous ties to terrorists and extremists.

All Charges dropped for arrest at “Impeach Obama Rally” in Gainesville, FL

“I want to thank you for looking into the injustice that happened to me on the overpass in Gainesville, FL. This is an issue that is bigger than me. American citizens all over the U.S. are having their rights violated by Peace Officers every day for filming them or peacefully assembling and protesting. These are God given rights, not rights granted by the government. We have to assert our rights & fight back with the courts to show that this kind of behavior by all Law Enforcement Officers will NOT be tolerated by Americans anymore. We have to shame these acts publicly and shift things back toward Constitutional law & order. We need to unite around the Constitution & Bill of Rights, NOT around political parties,” wrote Kyle Young, Alachua County Oath Keeper Chapter Founder and Leader, in an email to supporters.

In his email Young laid out what actually happened. It is provided to our readers and Floridians for their information and protection against unlawful arrest in Florida. Young states, “I was also NEVER read my Miranda rights by ANY officer while in custody.”

FACTS:

A Florida Highway Patrol officer decided to arrest me on Sunday, March 9th, 2014 for exercising my First Amendment right on a public sidewalk in Gainesville, FL on the overpass over I-75 & HWY 222. The protest was organized around the premise of a peaceful assembly & a redress of grievances with the U.S. federal government for President Obama’s impeachment for usurping the Constitution countless times, which I summed up to the arresting officer. All three of us protesting were ordered to leave the public sidewalk on the overpass by the arresting officer. The signs posted on the highway were painted yellow, with black letters, which read in this order, “HONK 2 IMPEACH OBAMA” “2 END TYRANNY” “CALL CONGRESS NOW”

Most Important Part of Incident Video Transcript (from 0:00-2:24):

Kyle Young: How’s it going sir?
Officer Michael J. Todd: Alright. Ya’ll are gonna have to get off the overpass.
Kyle: Sorry, sir. What’s that? We’re exercising our First Amendment right.
Officer Michael J. Todd: Yes sir, you can protest (inaudible.)
Kyle: Here’s a notice. Here’s a public notice. We can protest using our First Amendment right.
Officer Michael J. Todd: Yes sir, you can.
Kyle: To hold a sign up on the overpass, a public sidewalk. Correct?
Officer Michael J. Todd: Yes sir. (Inaudible) overpass.
Kyle: Is this a public overpass?
Officer Michael J. Todd: Yes it is sir, a state bridge.
Kyle: Am I. I’m a Florida citizen.
Officer Michael J. Todd: Yes sir.
Kyle: So do I have a right to hold a sign up? That says…
Officer Michael J. Todd: (Inaudible.) [Officer radios in using codes.]
Kyle: Just to let you know this is being recorded live.
Officer Michael J. Todd: I understand that sir.
Kyle: It’s online right now. We are simply exercising our First Amendment right. Is this correct or is this incorrect?
Officer Michael J. Todd: (Inaudible.)
Kyle: I’m trying to express my First Amendment rights. To exercise holding a sign in a peaceful protest.
Officer Michael J. Todd: (Inaudible…) yes or no?
Kyle: No. I am not going to refuse to leave.
Officer Michael J. Todd: You are under arrest. You are under arrest.
Kyle: I am not, I am not. I am not doing anything illegal right now.
Officer Michael J. Todd: Yes you are. You are under arrest.
Kyle: I am not doing anything wrong sir.
Officer Michael J. Todd: He is under arrest.
Kyle: For what? What have I violated?
Officer Michael J. Todd: [Officer radios in using codes.]
Kyle: What have I violated?
Officer Michael J. Todd: I got several others up here. [Officer speaks into radio.]
Kyle: I have not violated anything wrong. Sir, I have not done anything wrong. What have I done wrong?
Officer Michael J. Todd: Okay.
Kyle: I’m not doing anything wrong. What am I doing wrong?
Officer Michael J. Todd: You are under arrest.
[Officer screams at Carolyn Smith]: Get back! Over there!
Carolyn: What has he done wrong?
Kyle: What have I done wrong sir? What am I being arrested for?
Officer Michael J. Todd: I told you to exit (inaudible) the overpass.
Kyle: I said that I am not going to refuse to cooperate. I’m leaving. I’m leaving the overpass.
Officer Michael J. Todd: Do you have any weapons on you?
Kyle: I do have a knife in my pocket. I have a wallet. Excuse me, you have no right to search me. Stop searching me. You have no right to search me. What am I being arrested for? What have I done wrong?
Officer Michael J. Todd: Failing to obey a lawful order.
Kyle: I said I would leave the overpass. Do not touch me. Quit touching me. This is all live right now.
Officer Michael J. Todd: I would hope so. Because mine is recorded also.
Kyle: Excellent. I will be getting that data & I will be personally suing you. So if you would stop, it would go a lot better.
Officer Michael J. Todd: Yes sir.
Carolyn Smith: What did he do?
Kyle: I have done nothing wrong.
Officer Michael J. Todd: (Inaudible.)
Kyle: Stop touching me. Stop touching me. Stop making me hurt. You are bruising my wrist. And its hurting my circulation right now.
Officer Michael J. Todd: Yes sir.
Kyle: Why are you doing that?
Officer Michael J. Todd: Because you are under arrest.
Kyle: For what? What have I done wrong?

In the end, I was charged with the following:
Charge #1
316.072.3
PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES: FAIL TO OBEY POLICE OR FIRE DEPARTMENT

Charge #2
810.11
TRESPASSING: PLACE SIGNS ADJACENT TO HIGHWAY

Charge #3
843.02
RESIST OFFICER: OBSTRUCT WO VIOLENCE

First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Video documenting arrest linked below:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/z773IOcYlVU[/youtube]

 

Young asks, “If anyone thinks this officer acted illegally/violated Kyle Young’s God given rights protected under the Constitution, just as they are for all Americans, then you are urged to call the Florida Highway Patrol Troop B at (352) 955-1960 to express your thoughts. The arresting officers name is Michael J. Todd Badge #2171.”

CIVIL LAWSUIT FUND INFORMATION, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A DONATION IN SUPPORT OF KYLE YOUNG:

Go to PayPal.com, click “SEND” at the top left of page, enter my email (KyleYoung510@Gmail.com), enter donation amount, enter currency (i.e. USD), check the box for “This is to friends or family,” pick form of payment, finally submit payment. If there is an excess of donations that can’t be used for the case, then a partial or full refund will be issued when possible. Thank you for any contribution you can make in the fight for freedom!

Thoughts from the latrine: Liberal crap about jobs Americans won’t do

I am flying to Knoxville to speak tonight and my frequent flyer miles are with US Airways, so my flight itinerary took me from West Palm Beach to Charlotte.

As always, after a flight I had to “hit the latrine” and if y’all out there are familiar with Charlotte you know they have restroom attendants. These fellas are always kind and courteous and take immense pride in their respective duty. Today, since it is SEC Men’s basketball tournament semifinals with my Tennessee Vols taking on top ranked Florida, I have on my orange hat with the big “T” on it. The restroom attendant, Centario, a professed Clemson fan, began talking to me about SEC sports, today’s games, and football. A few others joined in — there was even a Florida Gator in the mix. I tipped Centario, a squared-away clean cut black man, and bade him farewell.

As I walked to the E Concourse it hit me. We always hear the constant droning message that there are jobs Americans will not do. It is a line progressive socialists want to sell in order to expand the welfare nanny-state. when the reign of Obama began, unemployment benefits went for 26 weeks. Obama, with the nefarious complicity of henchmen Pelosi and Reid, extended it to 99 weeks, and of course they now demand more extensions.

Recently, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported that Obamacare would result in the loss of 2.5 million jobs, which we discussed here. Liberal progressives joined together harping that it was their goal to liberate Americans from being “trapped by a job” and that they would have more time to stay at home and get a government subsidy check.

The truth is so obvious: liberal progressives, such as Obama Rex, do not want to inspire the American work ethic. They are doing everything possible to erode that special sense of pride, like you see in the restroom attendants here who work and earn their own. The manipulative ploys of “income inequality” and the insidious minimum wage and overtime executive orders are just more of their political tricks and gimmicks. And I know the liberal socialist media and political operatives will misconstrue my words, but that just demonstrates their lack of moral character.

Americans will work, they want to provide for themselves and their families. As my Mom, Snooks West instructed me, self-esteem comes from doing “esteemable” things. Sitting and waiting for a government pittance, a measly subsistence is not the basis of esteem. It is not a part of the exceptional American genetic code. Tax and regulatory policies that create and expand opportunity, in the private sector, especially for small businesses, are what is needed. Obama and his acolytes offer economic servitude, and that has always been the end result of socialism: shared misery.

Rise up America and do not allow yourselves to be tricked and shackled by the charlatans of liberal progressivism. Stand, stand this day, Men of the West, for yourselves, for your families, for liberty, for America.

And God bless the restroom attendants of Charlotte-Douglas international Airport.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com. The featured photo is by Heather Hutchinson from Edmonton, Canada. The photo has been edited. The original may be view here. This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Bill Gates Dined with 80 Senators on March 13, 2014

Bill Gates has too much power. The following announcement, dated March 13, 2014, is from Politico:

DINNER WITH GATES – About 80 senators are expected to attend a dinner discussion at the Capitol tonight with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the NYT’s David Brooks. The 6:45 p.m. dinner, according to an invitation obtained by Huddle, is sponsored by the No Labels Foundation, and one of that group’s honorary co-chairs, Sen. Joe Manchin, will make opening remarks. So what’s the No Labels-Microsoft connection? No Labels co-founder Nancy Jacobson is married to longtime pollster Mark Penn, executive vice president and chief strategy officer at Microsoft, said a source who will be attending the event. [Emphasis added.]

I find Gates’ access to 80 senators very disturbing. There’s more.

The No Labels Foundation has Andrew Tisch on its legal board (also listed as a co-founder). Andrew Tisch is the brother-in-law of the controversial, test-happy New York Chancellor Merryl Tisch.

No Labels bills former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a mayor “who solves problems.” In reality, Bloomberg was nothing less than the scourge of New York City education.

Bloomberg and Tisch promote punitive education agendas that complement Gates’ “educational purge” viewpoint of the test score as the public education colon cleanse. (Just because Bloomberg is no longer NYC mayor, do not believe that his destructive view on public education cannot cause future damage elsewhere.)

Yet here is how No Labels bills itself:

No Labels is a citizens’ movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to a new politics of problem solving. The constituency for this movement existed for years before it had a name -– built by Americans frustrated by watching Washington spend more time on politics than common-sense problem solving. …Today, No Labels is building a voice for Americans, whatever their political ideology, to ensure our leaders in government will work across the aisle to solve problems. We’re rebuilding the infrastructure for cooperation among our leaders. And we know that together, we can move our nation forward once again.

This “unity among political parties” provides a creepy complement to the “bipartisan” push for the privatization of public education– a Bill Gates specialty.

To date, there is no record of Gates’ directly supporting No Labels. However, such does not preclude indirect contributions (i.e., Gates money to other organizations to which No Labels members belong).

Gates money is more deeply rooted than one might think.

On March 17, 2014, the North Denver News revealed that Gates spending on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is not likely mere millions, but billions:

Research by Jack Hassard, Professor Emeritus at Georgia State, shows compelling evidence that Gates has spent $2.3 billion pushing the Common Core. More than 1800 grants to organizations running from  teachers unions to state departments of education to  political groups like the National Governor’s Association have pushed the Common Core into 45 states, with little transparency and next to no public review. [Emphasis added.]

Bill Gates hanging with former President Bill Clinton. Too much power.

Here are good questions: Is Gates aiming for the White House? Or is he content to puppet the White House? Can he buy his way in?

A better question, America: Can we extract Gates from the influence he has already (and obviously) purchased?

Folks, we need to Stop. This. Train.

NOTE: A comment from Sarah Littman: Mercedes, it wasn’t just senators. My Congressman, Jim Himes (CT-4) was tweeting from this dinner as well.

RELATED STORIES: 

Bill Gates loves Common Core for your kids, BUT NOT HIS

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The First International Symposium on Liberty and Islam, Melbourne, Australia

Here is video of my remarks at the SION/Q Society at the First International Symposium on Liberty and Islam, which was held in Melbourne, Australia on March 9, 2014.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/dnFF90zhkvo[/youtube]

RELATED STORIES:

Robert Spencer in PJ Lifestyle: 5 Intriguing Things This American Observed on His Australia Trips

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California: National Guardsman, convert to Islam, plotted to bomb LA subway, arrested for trying to aid al Qaeda

Virginia State Legislature commends mosque with jihad terror links

Michigan: Muslim arrested for plotting to join jihad terrorists of Hizballah in Syria

 

Enemy of the State, Friend of Liberty by Lawrence W. Reed

Question: If you could go back in time and spend one hour in conversation with 10 people—each one separately and privately—whom would you choose?

173px-Thorvaldsen_Cicero

Cicero

My list isn’t exactly the same from one day to the next, but at least a couple of the same names are always on it, without fail. One of them is Marcus Tullius Cicero. He was the greatest citizen of the greatest ancient civilization, Rome. He was its most eloquent orator and its most distinguished man of letters. He was elected to its highest office as well as most of the lesser ones that were of any importance. More than anyone else, he introduced to Rome the best ideas of the Greeks. More of his written and spoken work survives to this day—including hundreds of speeches and letters—than that of any other historical figure before 1000 A.D. Most importantly, he gave his life for peace and liberty as the greatest defender of the Roman Republic before it plunged into the darkness of a welfare-warfare state.

Cato Institute scholar Jim Powell opened his remarkable book The Triumph of Liberty: A 2,000-Year History, Told Through the Lives of Freedom’s Greatest Champions (Free Press, 2000) with a chapter on this Roman hero—a chapter he closed with this fitting tribute: “Cicero urged people to reason together. He championed decency and peace, and he gave the modern world some of the most fundamental ideas of liberty. At a time when speaking freely was dangerous, he courageously denounced tyranny. He helped keep the torch of liberty burning bright for more than two thousand years.”

Who wouldn’t want to have an hour with this man?

Cicero was born in 106 B.C. in the small town of Arpinum, about 60 miles southeast of Rome. He began practicing law in his early 20s. His most celebrated case, which he won, required him to defend a man accused of murdering his father. He secured an acquittal by convincing the jury that the real murderers were closely aligned to the highest public officials in Rome. It was the first but not the last time that he put himself in grave danger for what he believed to be right.

In 70 B.C, 10 years after his victory in that celebrated murder trial, Cicero assumed a role uncommon for him—that of prosecutor. It was a corruption case involving Gaius Verres, the politically powerful former governor of Sicily. Aggrieved Sicilians accused Verres of abuse of power, extortion, and embezzlement. The evidence Cicero gathered appeared overwhelming, but Verres was confident he could escape conviction. His brilliant defense lawyer, Hortensius, was regarded as Cicero’s equal. Both Verres and Hortensius believed they could delay the trial a few months until a close ally became the new judge of the extortion court. But Cicero outmaneuvered them at every turn. Verres, all but admitting his guilt, fled into exile. Cicero’s speeches against him, In Verrem, are still read in some law schools today.

Roman voters rewarded Cicero with victory in one office after another as he worked his way up the ladder of government. Along the way, the patrician nobility of Rome never quite embraced him because he hailed from a slightly more humble class, the so-called equestrian order. He reached the pinnacle of office in 63 B.C. when, at age 43, Romans elected him co-consul.

The consulship was the republic’s highest office, though authority under the Roman Constitution was shared between two coequal consuls. One could veto the decisions of the other and both were limited to a single one-year term. Cicero’s co-consul, Gaius Antonius Hybrida, was so overshadowed by his colleague’s eloquence and magnetism that he’s but a footnote today. In contrast, Cicero emerged as the savior of the republic amid a spectacular plot to snuff it out.

The ringleader of the vast conspiracy was a senator named Lucius Sergius Cataline. This disgruntled, power-hungry Roman assembled an extensive network of fellow travelers, including some fellow senators. The plan was to ignite a general insurrection across Italy, march on Rome with the aid of mercenaries, assassinate Cicero and his co-consul, seize power, and crush all opposition. Cicero learned of the plot and quietly conducted his own investigations. Then in a series of four powerful orations before the Senate, with Cataline himself present for the first, he cut loose. The great orator mesmerized the Senate with these opening lines and the blistering indictment that followed:

How long, O Catiline, will you abuse our patience? And for how long will that madness of yours mock us? To what end will your unbridled audacity hurl itself?

Before Cicero was finished, Cataline fled the Senate. He rallied his dwindling army but was ultimately killed in battle. Other top conspirators were exposed and executed. Cicero, on whom the Senate had conferred emergency power, walked away from that power and restored the republic. He was given the honorary title of Pater Patriae (Father of the Country).

But Rome at the time of the Catilinarian conspiracy was not the Rome of two or three centuries before, when honor, virtue, and character were the watchwords of Roman life. By Cicero’s time, the place was rife with corruption and power lust. The outward appearances of a republic were undermined daily by civil strife and a growing welfare-warfare state. Many who gave lip service in public to republican values were privately conniving to secure power or wealth through political connections. Others were corrupted or bribed into silence by government handouts. The republic was on life support and Cicero’s voice was soon to be drowned out by a rising tide of political intrigue, violence, and popular apathy.

In 60 B.C., Julius Caesar (then a senator and military general with boundless ambition) tried to get Cicero to join a powerful partnership that became known as the First Triumvirate, but Cicero’s republican sentiments prompted him to reject the offer. Two years later and barely five years after crushing Cataline’s conspiracy, Cicero found himself on the wrong side of senatorial intrigue. Political opponents connived to thwart his influence, resulting in a brief exile to northern Greece.

He returned to a hero’s welcome but retired to his writing. Over the next decade or so, he gifted the world with impressive literary and philosophical work, one of my favorites being De Officiis (“On Duties”). In it he wrote, “The chief purpose in the establishment of states and constitutional orders was that individual property rights might be secured . . . It is the peculiar function of state and city to guarantee to every man the free and undisturbed control of his own property.”

Politics, however, wouldn’t leave Cicero alone. Rivalry between Caesar and another leading political figure and general, Pompey, exploded into civil war. Cicero reluctantly sided with the latter, whom he regarded as the lesser of two evils and less dangerous to the republic. But Caesar triumphed over Pompey, who was killed in Egypt, and then cowed the Senate into naming him dictator for life. A month later, Caesar was assassinated in the Senate by pro-republican forces. When Mark Antony attempted to succeed Caesar as dictator, Cicero spearheaded the republican cause once again, delivering a series of 14 powerful speeches known in history as the Phillippics.

Cicero’s oratory never soared higher. With the remnants of the republic hanging by a thread, he threw the scroll at Antony. The would-be dictator, Cicero declared, was nothing but a bloodthirsty tyrant-in-waiting. “I fought for the republic when I was young,” he asserted. “I shall not abandon her in my old age. I scorned the daggers of Catiline; I shall not tremble before yours. Rather, I would willingly expose my body to them, if by my death the liberty of the nation could be recovered and the agony of the Roman people could at last bring to birth that with which it has been so long in labor.”

Antony and his fellow conspirators named Cicero an enemy of the state and sent the assassin Herennius to take him out. On December 7, 43 B.C., the killer found his target. The great statesman bared his neck and faced his assailant with these last words: “There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly.”

With one sword stroke to the neck, the life of the last major obstacle to dictatorship was extinguished. At that moment, the 500-year-old republic expired, too, to be replaced by an imperial autocracy. Roman liberty was gone. On the orders of Antony, Cicero’s hands were severed and nailed along with his head to the speaker’s platform in the Roman Forum. Antony’s wife personally pulled out Cicero’s tongue, and in a rage against his oratory, stabbed it repeatedly with her hairpin.

Powell reports in The Triumph of Liberty that a century after the ghastly deed, the Roman writer Quintilian declared that Cicero was “the name not of a man but of eloquence itself.” Thirteen centuries later, when the printing press was invented, the first book it produced was the Gutenberg Bible, but the second was Cicero’s De Officiis. Three more centuries after that, Thomas Jefferson called Cicero “the first master of the world.” And John Adams proclaimed, “All the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher” than Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Some might say Cicero’s labors to save the Roman Republic were, at least in hindsight, a waste of time. He gave his life for an ideal that he was able to extend tenuously for maybe a couple of decades.

But if I had an hour with Cicero, I would thank him. I would want him to know of the inspiration he remains to lovers of liberty everywhere, more than two millennia after he lived. I would share with him one of my favorite remarks about heroism, from the screenwriter and film producer Joss Whedon: “The thing about a hero, is even when it doesn’t look like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, he’s going to keep digging, he’s going to keep trying to do right and make up for what’s gone before, just because that’s who he is.”

And that is exactly who Cicero was.

RELATED VIDEO: The Fall of Rome and Modern Parallels | Lawrence Reed. Lawrence Reed speaks about the parallels between the fall of Rome and the modern United States. This talk was delivered at FreedomFest in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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ABOUT LAWRENCE W. REED

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of a fresco titled Cicero Denounces Catiline located on the Palazzo Madama, Rome.

Hillary Clinton: Abortion Needed for Equality and Human Development?

Restoring Liberty reports, “Twenty years after the Clintons failed to get countries to declare a right to abortion, Mrs. Clinton told a posh UN crowd that humanity cannot advance without reproductive rights. ‘You cannot make progress on gender equality or broader human development without safeguarding women’s reproductive health or rights,’ she declared. Clinton is adamant that reproductive health includes abortion.”

“The undisputed leader in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination was the highlight of International Women’s Day at UN headquarters last Friday [March 14th], drawing thunderous applause from a well-heeled audience as she decried how women’s equality remains “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” notes the editors of Restoring Liberty.

In the below video of UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka eerily echoes Clinton when she states “progress for women is progress for all.” Celebrating progress already made for women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality, she further urged women, men, youth, and leaders of nations, communities, religion and commerce to recommit to making gender equality a global reality.

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So why is abortion needed for gender equality and human development? We have heard similar words before from Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood:

“More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief aim of birth control.” – Birth Control Review, May 1919, p. 12

Are men less fit than women? Is it necessary to abort more males than females? It is also interesting to note that Mlambo-Ngcuka is black. Margaret Sanger wrote on blacks, immigrants and indigents:

“…human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born.”  – Pivot of Civilization, referring to immigrants and poor people.

Linda Gordon, in Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America,”We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

Today we read stories that there are more black abortions than births in New York City and a 73% black abortion rate in Mississippi. Some have labeled this national birth control effort “Black Genocide. ”Several years ago, when 17,000 aborted babies were found in a dumpster outside a pathology laboratory in Los, Angeles, California, some 12-15,000 were observed to be black,” noted Erma Clardy Craven (deceased) Social Worker and Civil Rights Leader.

Edwin Black, author of War Against The Weak, writes, “The global effort to help women make independent choices about their own pregnancies was dominated by one woman: Margaret Sanger… Motherhood was to most civilizations a sacred role. Sanger, however, wanted women to have a choice in that sacred role, specifically if, when and how often to become pregnant.”

Black notes, “… Sanger vigorously opposed charitable efforts to uplift the downtrodden and deprived, and argued extensively that it was better that the cold and hungry be left without help, so that the eugenically superior strains could multiply without competition from ‘the unfit.’ She repeatedly referred to the lower classes and the unfit as ‘human waste’ not worthy of assistance, and proudly quoted the extreme eugenic view that  human ‘weeds’ should be ‘exterminated.’ Moreover, for both political and genuine ideological reasons, Sanger associated closely with some of some of America’s most fanatical eugenic racists.” Sanger stated, “My criticism, therefore, is not directed at the ‘failure’ of philanthropy, but rather at its success.”

VIDEO OF UN WOMEN’S DAY PANEL WITH HILLARY CLINTON:

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is courtesy of United States Mission Geneva. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

On the road to Fascism in America?

144px-George_Santayana

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana.

George Santayana, philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist, wrote:

American life is a powerful solvent. As it stamps the immigrant, almost before he can speak English, with an unmistakable muscular tension, cheery self-confidence and habitual challenge in the voice and eyes, so it seems to neutralize every intellectual element, however tough and alien it may be, and to fuse it in the native good-will, complacency, thoughtlessness, and optimism. All his life he [the American] jumps into the train after it has started and jumps out before it has stopped; and he never once gets left behind, or breaks a leg.”

Question: Are liberal democrats resurrecting the principles of Nazi Germany?

I ask some probing questions.

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EDITORS NOTE: The edited featured photo is by Adam Jones, Ph.D. and of the Auschwitz II-Birkenau – Death Camp – Processing Center – of Jewish Couple with Star of David Armbands – Oswiecim – Poland. The original image may be viewed here. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Auschwitz II-Birkenau was the largest of the more than 40 camps and subcamps that made up the Auschwitz complex. During its three years of operation, it had a range of functions. When construction began in October 1941, it was supposed to be a camp for 125 thousand prisoners of war. It opened as a branch of Auschwitz in March 1942, and served at the same time as a center for the extermination of the Jews. In its final phase, from 1944, it also became a place where prisoners were concentrated before being transferred to labor in German industry in the depths of the Third Reich.

The majority—probably about 90%—of the victims of Auschwitz Concentration Camp died in Birkenau. This means approximately a million people. The majority, more than nine out of every ten, were Jews. A large proportion of the more than 70 thousand Poles who died or were killed in the Auschwitz complex perished in Birkenau. So did approximately 20 thousand Gypsies, in addition to Soviet POWs and prisoners of other nationalities.