About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Friday, April 23, 2010

An Appeal For Insight

From time to time members of our e-mail club & blog subscribers ask for insight from the rest of us on subjects that have preyed on their minds.  I answer many of these appeals privately but believe that below is an appeal for answers to excellent questions that would be helpful for all of us to know the answers to.  Please provide your thoughts re any or all of  the four questions asked.  They provide a great example for all of us to learn.  Please participate.
---Appeal For Insight---
Doug, if you agree, can you send this to your e-mail club members - of course I agree.
Appeal to fellow members of the e-mail club:
Those amongst us who are committed to the "ideas of the American Founding" i.e. to limited government,  the rule of law, free enterprise system, defense of family, marriage, neighborhood, community and faith:
1.  What can we do to re-limit government after decades in which restraint has been cast off? 
2.  How can we convince the many Americans who have grown dependent of the welfare state to sympathize with the conservative ideals? 
3.  What do we say to non-conservatives who consider themselves pro-free enterprise and pro-constitution, but do not agree with or even recognize the conservative ideology?
4.  Finally, how can we constructively educate those who do not have the same ideals as us?
Your responses on how to promote a conservative dialogue with fellow Americans will be appreciated.


  1. I think the following regarding questions #2 & #4:

    2. How can we convince the many Americans who have grown dependent of the welfare state to sympathize with the conservative ideals?

    I believe the many Americans who have grown dependent on the welfare state will be convinced of conservative ideals when the economy gets so bad that people turn against each other as happened in "Atlas Shrugged". When this happens the welfare dependent Americans will then vote in Americans who believe in the principles of limited government, the rule of law, and free market capitalism. Hopefully conservative Americans will not have all left this country that no longer allowed them to live as free people to choose.

    4. Finally, how can we constructively educate those who do not have the same ideals as us?

    In the Sat/Sun WSJ dated 4/24-25/10 there was an article on page A3 entitled Mayor Confronts Former Union Allies. LA Mayor Villaraigosa, age 57, has been a union activist since he joined the farm-workers movement at 15 marching with Cesar Chavez. He climbed the ranks of politics in southern Cal. through big labor as an organizer for the Service Employees International Union, United Teachers Los Angeles, and the American Federation of Government Employees. He captured most of the union household votes in his election in 2005. So he is Big Labor all the way. However LA is in terrible financial condition now. He is now pressing for layoffs if union workers don't agree to wage cuts. There are 37,000 city workers, 95% are union. He said the following " I didn't campaign to reduce the size of the work force and to cut services to libraries and parks. But the business is not working. We can't sustain the size of this work force at these cost levels." In my opinion he has seen the truth by being the one responsible for LA's future; he is in the arena of ideas; and these ideas do not lie.

    Signed by a libertarian; FairTax supporter; Where is John Galt?

  2. Doug: My two cents for what it’s worth.

    Those amongst us who are committed to the "ideas of the American Founding" i.e. to limited government, the rule of law, free enterprise system, defense of family, marriage, neighborhood, community and faith:

    1. What can we do to re-limit government after decades in which restraint has been cast off?

    Elect representatives with backbone, which is no easy task as even those who start out with backbone end up being changed by Washington rather than changing Washington. Once in office, we must hold “our” elected officials accountable. The Tea Party Movement is a good step in this direction, and the Club for Growth has done a good job of holding Republicans accountable (think about Arlen Specter). Elected officials need to know there is a cost (and they must pay it) for growing government and deviating from the principles of individual and economic liberty.

    2. How can we convince the many Americans who have grown dependent of the welfare state to sympathize with the conservative ideals?

    Socialists/statists are like drug dealers; they seek to get their victims hooked, so they have a captive constituency. I think the only chance is to convince the addict that the freemarket can provide better drugs (i.e., Fed Ex is better than the USPS). Unfortunately, most can’t imagine a world without out a mortgage deduction, let alone that the mortgage deduction is a step on the road to serfdom. Complacency is hard to remedy. The overreach of the current administration is shaking some out of their complacency…a silver lining. And, the Tea Party Movement shows them that their neighbors, in similar circumstances, are in revolt. That should have some effect on those who are likely to “follow the crowd.”

    3. What do we say to non-conservatives who consider themselves pro-free enterprise and pro-constitution, but do not agree with or even recognize the conservative ideology?

    It’s best to talk about principles. Pretenders will be exposed, and some who dislike labels but agree will join our cause. Labels only work when there is a true understanding and consensus as to their meaning. Both sides use labels and ignorance about them as a weapon. (Think about it, the Tea Partiers are the true “liberals” in the classic sense of the word.)

    4. Finally, how can we constructively educate those who do not have the same ideals as us?

    Some may be convinced if our principles are calmly and respectfully introduced in plain language, but others will always be more interested in what’s “fair.” And, they’ll never understand that coercively taking money from one to give to another is NOT fair. Arthur Brooks, President of AEI, is coming out with a book looking at the data that show 70% of the country shares our principles. Don’t believe the mainstream media, friends of liberty are the majority. We just have to rid the echelons of power of the 30 percenters.

  3. Aaaww Jeez Doug....

    Are you sure you want a response from me?
    I think I should start by giving you a bit of history. I cut my Libertarian teeth as a student during the Spring '70 riots at Ohio State. I've been called a 'conservative curmudgeon' and 'radical revolutionary' in the same breath. I think both are appropriate. Keep that in mind while I answer your questions...

    1. What can we do to re-limit government after decades in which restraint has been cast off?

    A. I honestly don't think the 'We the people' have the guts to do it. Too many entrenched interests competing for more government and more government intervention. The thirty-somethings and many of the forty-somethings have grown up during this time and know nothing else. All they know of politics is what John Stewart says. IF you could elect people who try to re-limit government, the left will take to the streets, like they always do, until they get their way.

    2. How can we convince the many Americans who have grown dependent of the welfare state to sympathize with the conservative ideals?

    A. You cut off their goodies. Let them know the party is over and it is time for them to get back to work. Tell them they can easily make more being a productive member of society than on the government teat. Again, they will take to the streets....

    3. What do we say to non-conservatives who consider themselves pro-free enterprise and pro-constitution, but do not agree with or even recognize the conservative ideology?

    A. This is a toughie. All but the most radical Marxists firmly believe they are pro free enterprise (with lots of regulation from the government - to protect the minions, of course) and pro Constitution (as long as they get THEIR perceived rights). They think it is the evil nasty conservatives who are planning on taking away their rights. I have talked myself blue in the face about this to my leftist friends. They simply cannot comprehend our fears and concerns. Never will.

    4. Finally, how can we constructively educate those who do not have the same ideals as us?

    A. I don't think forcing them to listen to Rush would go over very well, but it would do the trick. The vast majority of them don't care. As long as their lives go on relatively unaffected (at least perceived that way) by big government, they will let it ride. Most do not understand the fuss when their life is not directly affected. Besides, they think they are just as right as we do.

    When this stuff starts crashing down, as I think it will - it has to, we could be in for some very 'interesting' times. (I have long predicted this kind of thing but it has never quite panned out that way.) The conservative mind set has a better chance of survival in revolutionary times because of the necessity of survival. Relying on the government for survival just won't cut it. But, then again, they have the big guns. If they win, I think we will be heading toward a command economy fairly quickly. As Reagan warned, there is no place else to go. May be we can have an 'Atlas Shrugged' type of revolt. Either way, it ain't gonna be pretty, just 'interesting' for political junkies.

    "You say you want a revolution...?"

    See, I told you you didn't really want to know

  4. Hi Doug:

    I will respond but I am starting to sound like a broken record. In the past, I have tried to say the same thing in a different way, more creative, hoping not to fatigue the reader with my redundancy.

    GET INVOLVED. Editorializing from the sidelines does not produce change. To effect change & get their attention you must challenge the incumbents in the primary. The difference between those you complain on paper and those you challenge in the voting booth is courage. When you put yourself out there you will make a lot of enemies and run the risk of being ostracized form your own political party but you will also make a lot of good friends.

    Again, there were no challengers to the Bridgewater-Raritan School board races. That tells me the entire community is completely satisfied with the Bridgewater-Raritan BOE.

    Again, There are no challengers to Congressman Frelinghuysen he must be doing an outstanding job.

  5. Dear Doug,

    It is always a pleasure to hear from you. I'm happy to offer my best responses to your friend's questions as well as my own view of the source of the problem.

    1. We must reduce government spending. One approach to this can be to encourage the transfer of federal functions to state governments, which are generally (albeit not universally) more responsible in spending tax dollars.

    2. Few people really want to live on welfare because the standard of living is terribly low. Most people want more and know they need a more substantial income to get more, but they don't make the connection personally between a healthy economy and their individual circumstance. People need to be shown how business growth will benefit them -- not just, as the mainstream media would have it -- the heads of corporations.

    3. One way that the Left has consistently outmaneuvered the Right is in their willingness to build coalitions with groups that do not share their opinions in their entirety. What we should emphasize are the commonalities, looking for issues that unite broad groups. For example, when doing my radio show, I found one issue that resonated with listeners across the political spectrum was property rights/eminent domain. People instinctively 'get it.' Another issue is government intrusion into private life -- for exa

  6. 4. Conservatives need take a page from the leaf of the Roman philosopher Horace, who asserted that, for anyone to learn what you wish to teach them, you must formulate your lesson to be utile et dulce -- that is, useful and pleasant. We must show others how our ideals are actually in their interests, and not just ours -- there's the utile. As for the dulce -- long ago, the left realized that the surest way to persuade public opinion was to dominate the entertainment media. They were right.

    There's no reason we can't do the same, producing entertaining radio, television, film, and online media. (Print media is not going to sway mass audiences, as the collapse of the newspaper industry tells us. The WSJ is an exception, but there you'll influence the elite rather than the masses.) Love 'em or hate 'em, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, for example, have done an exemplary job of blending education and entertainment. Consider Beck's recent work on the Founding and on Progressivism. As for online media, Pajamas Media is also doing some interesting and very promising things. Re: film, Evan Coyne Maloney's film Indoctrinate U is a brilliant, funny expose of political correctness on university campuses. The best, most moving documentary about freedom -- one that teaches the values we hold dear -- is THE SINGING REVOLUTION, about Estonia, a great and brave people who seem more American than many Americans these days. This film (produced by a friend of mine) was a hit at the Green Mountain Film Festival, hardly a conservative audience. What's important is to plant the ideas and not worry about the label.

    Will the above be enough to achieve our goals? I don't think so. We must, to borrow a phrase from our friends on the Left, identify the "root cause" of the problem -- the pervasive ignorance of many Americans about our country's history, Constitution, and economic system. As we labor to give new life to the ideals of the Founding, we would do well to reflect on where we learned about these ideals ourselves. For most of us, the answer is our public schools. It was our teachers and the textbooks they used that provided us with the compelling account of our nation's founding. The teachers themselves had studied history (not "social studies") in college, and had a solid knowledge base to communicate to us. The textbooks envisioned history not in terms of vast movements of faceless masses, but as the labor and sacrifice of individuals, and these stories were written compellingly, with tales about great men and women, written by real historians. We were well prepared for a world in which competition is very real because we competed against each other from the first day we dipped our fingers in the fingerpaint in Kindergarten through the day we found out who'd be Valedictorian at our high school graduation.

    continued next

  7. Compare that kind of teacher preparation with the typical background of a teacher today. If she was born in 1970, she's 40 now. The public school classes she attended stressed self-esteem rather than the acquisition of factual knowledge; she was 'taught' via group work, rather than to puzzle things out on her own. Competition was demonized and cooperation lauded by her teachers. When she played sports, everyone got a trophy, and at her high school graduation, there were 9 valedictorians. Along the way, she learned about America in the context of "social studies," with America being just one of many nations, each of which had some good ideas and some bad ideas. College served only to solidify these prejudices and misconceptions. The tenured radicals who taught her preached how awful and unfair capitalism is and America is, and how Marxism, despite some problems in implementation, was, somehow, a kinder, more humane form of government. All the intellectuals she met for 4 years shared these views. There were no conservative professors or religious professors, of course, because her professors universally, or nearly so, told her conservatives and religious people were either stupid or evil.

    She knows nothing about the pilgrims (much less their fascinating and failed attempt at communal ownership, as recounted in "Tragedy of the Commons") or about the Founders, other than that they owned slaves, and much of what she thinks she knows is factually incorrect. She has never had an economics class, but she is certain that capitalism is greedy and exploitative and unfair. After all, these are the views in the textbooks the state has ordered for her class.

    This teacher, and those like her, are the primary disseminators of knowledge of and attitudes toward the Founding. Those attitudes -- mainly cynicism and skepticism -- are not naturally arising but have been taught to children. This teacher, it is important to note, does not intend to do ill to the children -- much the contrary -- nor see herself as a propagandist. Having never been exposed to a thoughtful, informed presentation of any views other than those inculcated in her since childhood, she sincerely believes that what she reads in student textbooks and what she teaches is the truth.

    Who is to blame for this state of affairs? Who taught this teacher? Where is the root cause of our citizenry's ignorance of and cynicism regarding the Founding and its ideals?

    It's America's universities. While the temptation is to blame the College of Education at Ole State U, the blame lies equally across the subject fields that conspire to keep America's teachers ignorant. There is plenty of blame to go around, for anti-individualist, anti-free market, anti-religious vision epidemic on American campuses.

    And until we solve that problem, we may win battle after battle, but we will never win the war.

  8. Doug,

    Jim has been writing letters to the editor in response to far left letters...it is amazing how many people have given him positive reinforcement and encouragement to continue pounding away at the "ideas of the American Founding". Also, we have joined a 9-12 grassroots group where WE are educated, and advised as to what we can do to help get our country back on track. We also enjoyed participating in the "Tea Party Express" rally when it was in Springfield IL. These are some ideas in response to question no. 4.

  9. 1. What can we do to re-limit government after decades in which restraint has been cast off?

    Nothing much to except at the voting ballot each cycle,,, and keep talking and not be silent any longer.

    2. How can we convince the many Americans who have grown dependent of the welfare state to sympathize with the conservative ideals?

    Convincing people is tough,, edge there thoughts' they will convince them selves away from you as not to be embarrassed Example:

    If everything is free who will go to work and make things we buy,,, will you work for free so I can have the same thing even though I set home.

    3. What do we say to non-conservatives who consider themselves pro-free enterprise and pro-constitution, but do not agree with or even recognize the conservative ideology?

    They are lying to you and them selves,,, ask them "howdy neighbor how is that hope and change going for ya"

    4. Finally, how can we constructively educate those who do not have the same ideals as us?

    It is always Bush's fault, yes Bush spent to much so if that was bad how can you condone tripling the spending by BO

    ask the to watch five shows of Glen Beck,,, if you really want to change minds look up the history from our founders that is a big chore

    but easy to understand if someone teaches it to you. Is why I ask to watch Glen Beck. If nothing else learn how to decipher the words spoken

    by the slippery tongues of the Progressive. Show your friends who BO is surrounded by his hand picked staff, learn who they are. It will
    show the inside of BO's heart and direction he is going.

  10. Hi Doug,

    Hope all is well. my responses would be;

    1) Change the tax code and disincentivize (not sure if it is a word) the government. Force members of government become guinea pigs. For instance Congress wants to raise tax rate. Have the tax rate increased for members of Congress for 2-4 years and see how well it works. By making them "eat their own cooking", there would be less, but more thoughtful legislation.

    2. Show people how the government has enslaved them into being wards or at least dependent on the state. This is everyone from welfare recipients to doctors in the Medicare program and farmers and big corporations taking subsidies and bailouts. Show how this is not Capitalism but protectionism, etc. Since "everyone" is now beholden to the government there is no benefit to being in the governments web. To illustrate, government raises minimum wage but their policies create inflation. Results? Less people working and those that are employed do not have real gains as their purchasing power has declined, all thanks to bad economic policy. this has to be done every day. liberals understand this and have been at it for 40 plus years. We need to do the same. it is a long term project.

    3.If they claim to be pro-enterprise and pro constitution test them. Speak to them about some "injustice" and see if they start saying, "there ought to be a law". Then start the process of getting them to understand that some law is what probably caused the problem in the first place, and if true free market and limited government as provided for in the Constitution was followed, the "injustice" would probably be minimized or eliminated.

    4. I find by talking to those who sincerely say their ideals are different then ours but are thoughtful people. Hard core liberals (meaning today's liberal- not the "classical liberal" that Milton Friedman spoke of) we are not going to reach until they come to grips with the hypocrisy of their beliefs. But I have spoken to others who consider themselves Liberal and have had many comment, "I can't believe this, but I agree with much of what you say." Most of the time they get hung up on labels, which quite frankly, conservatives do as well. The key is that once they realize we are not talking mouthpieces for a talk show host but have real depth and understanding on the subject matter, we get them.

    Hope this helps

  11. Maybe you would like to add this to the questioner on how to talk to unbelievers

    Dear Editor:

    I suspect that those who lambast the Tea Party have never actually attended a Tea Party and the critic’s description of one sounds much like a regurgitation of the nightly network news, whose reporters work diligently to discredit the Tea Party movement.

    Go to a Tea Party and you will find Americans who understand that the current administration has a plan to move the United States toward Socialism. President Obama has expressed his desire to “spread the wealth around,” and he will do so by taking money from citizens by the only legal means available: taxation. Politicians are clever to reduce the payroll tax to the extent that 47 percent of citizens pay no income tax at all, lulling folks into thinking all is well and assuring that person’s vote in the next election. In the meantime, plans are underway for the VAT, a federal sales tax that will generate untold revenue for the government to “redistribute.” Cap and trade is another means of taxing a commodity that most people need: energy.

    The Tea Party-er is rightfully concerned about the debt we are incurring by spending borrowed money, and the personal impact that healthcare reform will have. He is concerned that we have a president who apologizes for this nation abroad and openly mocks the citizen who disagrees with his policies. Thomas Jefferson said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” Don’t be silent….go to a Tea Party.

    Sandra McDowell
    Rising Sun, MD

  12. #1 - My own view - if spending continues - economy will face Deflation (not inflaton) and interest rates will zoom up,as foreign
    countries will not want to buy U S bonds, without a higher rate of return for those countries.

  13. Doug,

    After some study on the subject of unions I can offer an insight into the problem of #1 on the person’s list and he can decide what to do about it from there:

    One of the main reasons our government has been expanding over the years is because politicians owe their political lives to government union bosses and cannot say "no" to them. The politicians depend on their contributions of manpower, cold cash, and "in-kind" election help. In the 1992 congressional campaign 2 of the top 4 political action committees (PACs) belonged to unions .. the Teamsters union and the NEA. Government unions represent a huge block of voters and money! Money in the form of forced union dues from members. In a non Right to Work government union, members are forced to join (if they want the job) and then forced to pay union dues.

    These PACS are important, but union bosses spend about 10 times as much money from forced dues on political capmaigns .( almost 1.8 million dollars the NJEA spent on a campaign against NJ gov Chris Christie.) Where did they get that enormous war chest? From forced dues from the thousands of NJ teachers. Most of them have no idea what their dues are actually being used for.( By law dues are only to be used for collective bargaining.)

    Government union demands go beyond traditional employment issues. Union bosses demand more government spending, push for outrageous featherbedding, and skew services for their benefit rather than that of the taxpayer.

    Citizen control of local government in many cities and counties is largely an illusion! One probable reason for this is the diffusion of a large number of governmental jobs at the local level; another is the proximity of local officials to unions …. and therefore their vulnerability to political pressure.

    The U.S. Constitution places sovereignty with the people to vote for elected officials; but the people do not vote on whether union bosses should control government services.

    Around contract renewal time comes the threat of a strike, and each new contract puts more money into the coffers of union bosses. Government budgets fall into the red. Taxes are raised. Businesses, losing money, lay off employees. Inflation rises. Families take home less money. People and businesses move out of the state or local jurisdiction. Tax revenue falls. And then the union bosses demand that politicians raise taxes again! And the next union contract will introduce more of the same! Union bosses are virtually unaccountable to the public. They are not elected by the public, nor can they be fired by a public official. Thus service goes down and costs go up.

    As this treadmill goes on, Government union bosses strengthen their grip on workers and politicians. The citizens lose control of their government.

  14. Doug

    Sorry this took so long --- been busy with First communion students, getting thrown off the line in my run for Republican county committee, finding out who's lying about whether or not David Larsen is still running, supporting Anna Little in between all this.

    Doug, what your friend's friends need is EDUCATION, not INDOCTRINATION. They need to be brought step by step through the thought process. this takes time.

    one method to educate is to "bribe" young people with scholarships --- www.theforgottenman.org project does just that. they require studentst to read The 5000 Year Leap and then write a response to some essay questions to earn their $$$. Similar programs are offered by The American Legion etc. but often there is no veteran member working on that project for them. Why do younger veterans not join their VFWs DAVs and ALs?

    Anyway. Another way to make them realize --- tell them to get a job or start a business --- and then see how the govt takes away the money they earned in taxes. That'll teach them better than anything we say or do.

    that's about when most conservatives got wised up.

    As to how to relimit govt after the genie has been let out of the bottle -- VOTE THE BUMS OUT. and you have to do that before November, even before the Primary


    Here's why (Eagle Forum) ....


    and How (9/12ers Florida Precinct Project)....


    Hope that helps.

    God bless you,