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.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Preserving Liberty Through Education

"Educate & inform the whole mass of the people. . . . They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."  - Thomas Jefferson

  Click on graphic to enlarge

The above graphic prepared by Catrin Wigfall, Education Policy Fellow @ Center of the American Experiment, shows a majority of government schooled students in Minnesota can't proficiently read or do math - it is the latest example of what Jefferson warned us about over two centuries ago.  The graphic shows per pupil spending increasing with student achievement in reading & math decreasing meaning Minnesota taxpayers are not getting their money's worth.  Sixty-four percent of high school juniors can't do math & 48.5 % of sophomores can't read @ grade level in Minnesota.

Progressives all over the country have been very successful in replacing the teaching of reading, writing, & arithmetic in our schools with indoctrination of little more than kindergarten aged children learning about drag queen shows & gender identification - & it shows with terrible results like those on the above graphic.  This indoctrination has expanded, using critical race theory & the 1619 Project, from very young children to all of K-12 schools, colleges, businesses, every level of government, & even the U.S. military.

Closely related to wanting to improve America's failing academic record is parents' determination to remove sexually explicit books from school libraries.  On September 12 the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing examining what progressives call book bans, claiming that to not make the objectionable books available discriminates against homosexual, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning people.  Click here to hear Louisiana Senator John Kennedy read out loud excerpts from pornographic books "All Boys Aren't Blue& "Gender Queer"  followed by a discussion with witnesses representing the LGBTQ community.  Removing these types of books is not a case of replacing indoctrination parents don't like with indoctrination they do like, but rather is a common sense response for having their children taught this filth instead of math, reading, science, & civics.

Now banning books in a school library where a significant percentage of the students can't read seems pointless except the illiterates could still look @ the pictures or have literate students read the books to them.

Many progressives ask what harm it does to give their points of view to students so that the students can hear all sides & decide for themselves what to believe.

But we never taught that the moon is made of green cheese so why would we want to teach something equally as fallacious as the historical inaccuracies & deliberate lies of the 1619 Project.

We hear AOC's claims about climate change ending the world twelve years after she presented this theory in 2019 & yet she is not @ all concerned about the trust funds of Social Security or Medicare running out of money about the same time as her forecast for the world ending.  It won't be long before we find out if the progressives pushed the wrong problem because the trust funds shortages will have more of a negative impact on the lives of tens of millions of senior citizens than the so-called climate change emergencies ever will.

Why did BO buy a multimillion dollar ocean front property with forecasts of threats of flooding from every weatherman?  Is somebody pulling our leg?

These are not debates like the Federalists & Anti-Federalists had about ratifying the Constitution that resulted in the Bill of Rights.  The progressives' ideas more resemble the arguments made & accepted by the characters, other than the little child, in the fairy tale "The Emperor's New Clothes."

Thank heaven for educational organizations like 1) Center of the American Experiment whose mission is to build a culture of prosperity for Minnesota & the nation by championing the values of liberty & economic opportunity through unparalleled research & grassroots activism, 2) Hillsdale College who remains independent, not accepting a single penny of state or federal taxpayer funding, while presenting marvelous online courses given by their campus professors, distributing millions of copies each month of their Imprimis publications written by renowned scholars to households & businesses, & supporting K-12 schools across the country, both public charter & private, by providing an American classical curriculum free of charge of American history & civics lessons to a growing network of educators & homeschoolers through The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum, 3) Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) whose mission is to inspire college students to discover, embrace, & advance the principles & virtues that make America free & prosperous through their network of mentoring professors throughout the country that provides an education & tight community of lasting influence over & above what is expected from any particular university so that ISI's graduates become defenders of the principles of liberty & an effective advocate for timeless principles - graduates include Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito, PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, Reason magazine editor Katherine Mangu-Ward, Hillsdale College president Larry Arnn, and Heritage Foundation founder Ed Feulner, & 4) American Council Of Trustees & Alumni (ACTA) whose independent work is committed to academic freedom, excellence, & accountability @ American colleges & universitities - like their annual assessment of the core academic requirements of over 1,100 of our nation's colleges & universities entitled What Will They Learn?, an indispensable guide for starting to select a college that grades each school from A to F.

Now it's wonderful that K-12 schools have the above organizations to call on for help - but there is more.  Thanks to my friend & colleague in liberty Lawson Bader for letting me know that the state of Florida has made the decision to use the curriculum of the Prager University Foundation (known as PragerU) across all state run schools.  Like the four organizations above PragerU is an educational organization that promotes American values through creative free online videos promoting conservative viewpoints on various political, economic, & sociological topics.  Most readers of this blog are familiar with PragerU's online videos that I present from time to time, most recently featuring Candace Owens' video regarding the history of slavery.  PragerU is working on similar arrangements with other states.  Click here to hear Dennis Prager & Marissa Streit's fireside chat to discuss their new venture in Florida schools

All of the above educational organizations would make Jefferson very pleased because they each do their part to ensure the preservation of our liberty.  Jefferson believed that only educated citizens could make the American experiment in self-government succeed.  He placed education as the foundation of the self-government of the American republic & really every household's prosperity.  Sound self-government & prosperity will not exist very long in a poorly educated Society.  A tyrannical government, that can come into power only if the citizenry is uneducated, ignorant, & unsophisticated, will restrain & deprive the "whole mass of the people '' their liberties - the goal of the progressives.  The above five organizations contribute to the real education of Americans by sustaining, supporting, & defending our principles of freedom.

America was founded on the principles of limited government, personal responsibility, & free enterprise.  Progressives are transforming these principles by instituting unlimited government with no personal responsibility for anything - like releasing people of commitments such as repaying student loans or paying people not to work.  The resulting lethargy destroys free enterprise because we have less & less people making or providing services for anything of value - a sure instigator of crippling hyperinflation.  Lenin knew that debauchery of the currency was the surest way to overturn the existing basis of a stable Society when he said that "the process engages all of the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, & does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose."

This is where education & knowing a little something comes in. 

Sunday, September 10, 2023

The Real Poverty & Slavery Story

"In this world nothing can be certain, except for death & taxes." - Benjamin Franklin in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy in 1789.  Dr. Franklin was not the originator of the "death & taxes" phrase & he could have just as easily said "poverty & slavery" because, up until America's founding which started to unravel them, "poverty & slavery" too had been the way of the world since man first walked upright.  But Dr. Franklin rightly anticipated that "poverty & slavery" would be abolished by the freedoms unshackled in America &, although just as accurate a term as the "death & taxes" certainties prior to America's founding, would not have been used in the right context in the letter to his physicist colleague Le Roy - a fellow experimenter with lightning conductors.

  click on graphic to enlarge

Throughout the 6,000 years of recorded human history, prior to the founding of America, slavery had been the norm, an overwhelming fact of life in every corner of the world, including slavery practiced by the native inhabitants of America, who fought wars & enslaved & cannibalized each other long before signing the Mayflower Compact was thought to be a good idea.  Black slave masters traded live Black slave cargo for rum & trinkets with the British who in turn sold the slaves to the earliest transatlantic slave traders from Portugal & Spain - see Slave Trade Triangle graphic above.  The ancient Greeks enslaved women & children & simply slaughtered the more unruly men.  Slave trading was big business in the Roman Empire.  Roman emperors owned thousands of slaves who were worked to death mining gold & silver for the Empire.  In the early Middle Ages the Church condoned slavery – Christians, Muslims, & Jews all partook of slave trading.  In short, poverty & slavery were everywhere until the founding of America, which began the reversal of their tyranny.  Currently oppression of all sorts has mostly been eliminated except for the sickening tyranny of human trafficking including that of children. 

Today, throughout the world, over five thousand people per day are abducted by either deception or force into modern slavery.  There were ten million more people enslaved in 2021 than in 2016.  International human rights group Walk Free reports that 50 million people live in modern slavery - 28 million in forced labor & 22 million in forced marriages (1 in 4 are children & 71% of all victims of modern slavery are women & girls).  Females account for 99% of all victims of sexual exploitation, 84% of all victims of forced marriages, & 58% of all victims of forced labor.

Modern slavery is one of the most profitable forms of organized crime in the world.  Types of modern slavery include sex trafficking (the manipulation, coercion, or control of an adult engaging in a commercial sex act), child sex trafficking, forced labor, forced child labor, bonded labor or debt bondage, domestic servitude, & unlawful recruitment & use of child soldiers (estimated 250,000 child soldiers in the world today in @ least 20 countries of which 40% are girls taken as "wives" by male fighters).  

At the center of child sex trafficking is the cell phone.  In 2018 the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (founders John Walsh, Ernie Allen, & President Reagan) reported 18 million cyber tips of exploitation of children - 98% of the offenders were strangers.  DHS released a report that same year saying that the U.S. National Trafficking Hotline was contacted 41,088 times with 10,949 cases of human trafficking - a number that has only grown each year.  Look @ your IRS 1040 instruction booklet that is filled with missing person calls for help.

Red flags regarding children - starting to have a lot of absences in school, disappearing on weekends, they can't tell you where they have been, they look like they are malnourished or tired, they're withdrawn from peers, or if they're with someone & that person is not allowing them to speak for themselves.  These signs can escalate into the child having multiple cell phones & motel keys, & dressing in a more provocative fashion.

If you identify any of the above signs & find calling any of the national hotlines for help useless immediately go to your local police or a trusted friend or make a getaway & find such a friend.  

Because it can happen in any community & victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality.  Whether it is called "Modern Day Slavery" or "Human Trafficking" it is @ all times slavery @ its core & people obsessed with the slavery that ended in America 158 years ago could much more positively & productively spend their time working on eliminating it.

Americans don't know the true story of poverty & slavery - Americans in the twenty first century live in a world that is so good that the foolhardy take our freedoms for granted, or even discard them, thinking there is no obvious or perceptible price to pay & that the 126 welfare programs identified by the Cato Institute will be there to draw on whenever needed.  Fewer than 2% of Americans work for the minimum wage & yet someone with the earning power of a U.S. minimum wage job is above the top 85 percentile in the world income distribution.  Source - Michael Munger of the American Institute of Economic Research.

For another perspective it is important to understand that the average poor American in the bottom income quintile has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe.  These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor - a middle class person in Europe lives below the standard of living of someone in America living @ the so-called poverty level.  Many architects & engineers in Europe can only afford to rent apartments - not own their homes like we do in America.  Source – Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. 

Think of your first TV & then first color TV & even the first time you had cable TV in your house, & then the first time you air conditioned a room or maybe two – did you consider yourself living below the poverty level before or during these times?  For everyone who has travelled to Europe but not to the poverty-stricken neighborhoods of America it is hard to believe that the typical American living below the poverty level has a home fully equipped with appliances that is larger than the home of the average non poor French, German, or English family.  In an update from just last Thursday, one of my neighbors who communicates daily with work colleagues in Europe told me that the Europeans were complaining that they did not have air conditioning in the office but rather were using fans that circulated hot air.

Education is so woeful in America that we have to start teaching the real poverty & slavery story - not the 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory, or any other theory that promotes raw hatred of America or claims America is a racist country.  On page 109 of the Virtues Of Selfishness Ayn Rand writes that "The United States was the first moral society in history," so don't stand for an anti-American opportunist with a not-so-hidden agenda to tell you otherwise.  You have history on your side.  America gave everyone the freedom & opportunity for a life without oppression & no other form of government, nation, or society in human history, before America, had ever provided this to those previously oppressed.

To augment the numerous posts on this blog regarding the correct view of poverty & slavery throughout world history please click on Candace Owens' video from PragerU entitled "A Short History Of Slavery."

In addition, I include the following piece from the American Greatness blog.

Slavery, the Left, and Truth

By Dennis Prager - April 17, 2023

A generation of Americans is being raised on half-truths and lies about the history of slavery in America. They are given the impression that America was uniquely bad and that American slavery was uniquely bad. They learn nothing about slavery elsewhere.  Among the many lies they are told are that "black slaves built America" and that America is systemically racist.

Since the only mortal enemy of the Left is truth, here are some truths about slavery.

America's Slavery Compared to Slavery Everywhere Else

If you are interested in morality and committed to truth, you do not ask, "Who had slaves?" You ask, "Who ended slavery?"

Who had slaves?

Every civilization throughout history had slaves: Asian societies, Africans, Native Americans and other Indigenous peoples around the world, and the Muslim/Arab world, which may have had the most slaves of all.

Who ended slavery?

There was only one thing unique about slavery in the West: It raised the issue of the morality of slavery, ferociously debated it and finally abolished it there, before it was abolished in any other civilization. If you care about moral truth rather than, for example, promoting America-hatred, you must recognize — and you must teach — that America was one of the first slave-holding societies to abolish slavery. This even includes Africa. Cornell professor Sandra Greene, a black scholar of African history, notes, "Slavery in the United States ended in 1865, but in West Africa it was not legally ended until 1875, and then it stretched on unofficially until almost World War I."

The Numbers of Slaves

According to the authoritative SlaveVoyages.org, the total number of black slaves imported from Africa into America was 305,326. The number of black slaves other countries imported from Africa into the rest of the New World — i.e., into the Caribbean and South America—was 12,521,337. In other words, other countries imported 41 times the number of black slaves into the Western Hemisphere than the United States did including the years before American independence. Yet, the American Left never mentions this important moral point—because the Left-controlled education system suppresses facts it finds inconvenient, and the Left is not interested in morality or truth, but in vilifying America.

And then there is Arab/Muslim enslavement of blacks. Professor Paul Lovejoy, in his "Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa" (Cambridge University Press, 2012), reveals that from the beginning of Islam in the 7th century through the year 1600, the estimated number of Africans enslaved by Muslims was about 7 million. After 1600, it was about a million per year. Do American students ever learn about the Arab/Muslim slave trade? How many know, for example, that a great percentage of the African male slaves were castrated so that they could not have families?

Black Slaves Built America

This is another lie of the Left.

Those who make this argument point to the lucrative cotton manufacturing and trade in the 19th-century — the industry in which black slaves were primarily used in the American South.

But University of Illinois professor of Economics, Deirdre McCloskey, answered this:

"Growing cotton, unlike sugar or rice, never required slavery. By 1870, freedmen and whites produced as much cotton as the South produced in the slave time of 1860. Cotton was not a slave crop in India or in southwest China, where it was grown in bulk… That slaves produced cotton does not imply that they were essential or causal in the production…

"The United States and the United Kingdom and the rest would have become just as rich without the 250 years of unrequited toil. They have remained rich, observe, even after the peculiar institution was abolished, because their riches did not depend on its sinfulness."

But one need not know anything about cotton to understand how false "Black slaves built America" is. All you need is common sense.

First, even if slavery accounted for much of the wealth of the South, the Civil War that brought slavery to an end in the United States wiped out nearly all of that wealth and cost the Union billions (in today's dollars).

Second, if slavery built the American economy, the most robust economy in world history, why didn't Brazil become an economic superpower? Brazil imported four million black slaves, about 12 times as many as America. Why did the slave-owning American South lag so far behind the North economically? Why did England, which, though it played a major role in the transatlantic slave trade until the beginning of the 19th century, had almost no slaves, become the most advanced economy of the 19th century?

"Black slaves built America" is left-wing propaganda to vilify America and to discredit capitalism.

America is Systemically Racist

This is the Great Left Lie.

Four million black people have emigrated to the United States since the 1960s—and tens of millions more would if they could. Are they all fools? Why would anyone move to a country that is systemically bigoted against them? Did any Jews emigrate to Germany in the 1930s?

Blacks have emigrated to the United States because they know what Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the black woman who fled her homeland of Somalia and who now writes and lectures in America, knows:

"What the media do not tell you is that America is the best place on the planet to be black, female, gay, trans or what have you."

Blacks emigrating to America know what Algerian writer Kamel Daoud, writing in Le Monde and Le Point, knows:

"It is forbidden to say that the West is also the place to which we flee when we want to escape the injustice of our country of origin, dictatorship, war, hunger, or simply boredom. It is fashionable to say that the West is guilty of everything."

As regards American slavery and everything else, always remember this: Truth is a liberal value, and truth is a conservative value. It is not a left-wing value.