OUR FOUNDERING NATION: A BRIEF HISTORY of POLITICAL ETHICS (OR NOT…)
Parts I and II of this brief series described (briefly) how we got into our present situation. Parts III and IV will cover where we are and suggest where we’re going from here (hint: eliminating the distinction between the individual and the group will hasten the end of our Constitutional rights unless we are very careful).
To review: Progressivism, a broad-based reformist movement born of societal changes that reached its height early in the 20th century by embracing a technical and cultural elite of professionals and highly-paid bureaucrats. It developed as a response to the vast changes brought by industrialization, the growth of large corporations and fears of political corruption but in the 21st century has come to advocate peace, human rights, civil rights and liberties, social and economic justice, a preserved environment, gun control and nonviolence. Their ideological basis (agenda) is ‘big government’ that serves virtually every special interest group no matter how small (collectively these represent a very large voting bloc) while stripping the individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution. This requires the adjustment of constitutional law as society evolves.
The Progressive ethic is well on its way to becoming the American standard because of the public’s propensity for consuming distinctly liberal media rather than actively participating in affairs of state, and the resulting increasingly-depersonalized mode of interaction and lessening of vitality in the public sphere (read: public apathy). Too, political correctness is changing the dictionary and our behavior as well—one must be cautious so as not to offend the feelings of anyone, especially activist minority groups. There is even a professor (Lawrence Torcello at the Rochester Institute of Technology: email@example.com) who would declare those who disagree with him on the global warming issue ‘criminally negligent’—elitism to the max. The Frankfurt School has taken its toll, and most of us never saw it coming.
The Constitution still protects the individual from government, but the movement is afoot to change all that via the Courts. Congress alone is empowered to pass laws but the Executive branch is bypassing Congress in violation of the Constitution via Executive Order. But while the Constitution seems to be becoming less relevant, it remains the law of the land.
We’ve seen how individual rights have been eroded since the Frankfurt School’s assault on liberty in the early 20th Century. http://www.extremeethics.org/?p=576 Its appeal to emotion and feelings spawned PC and fueled the Progressive movement which, because of the widespread apathy of the electorate (that’s us), has gained considerable power. Conservatives have tended to not take the Progressive threat seriously because the Constitution—the law of the land—is on their side and they generally believe that it will protect individual rights. At least that was the original intent…
But the concept of the ‘living Constitution’ which holds that times have changed, and that the document must be interpreted in light of the present situation, fuels the Progressive movement. The typical methodology for promoting this agenda may be summarized as follows: ‘By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or…completely fabricating someone (else)’s argument, it’s much easier to present your own position as being reasonable…’’ (www.yourlogicalfallacyis.com)
This brand of dishonesty undermines honest rational (ethical) debate simply because it is neither honest nor rational. It is empirical. www.extremeethics.org/?p=1649
The Progressive agenda includes fostering a large collection of diverse factions. (Key word: faction)
Every individual is a unique being with his own mind, body, feelings and thoughts, the very life-source of the world we live in. But this creates a problem with regard to government; it is easier to regulate a group of similar individuals than it is to try to control a diverse collection of individual beings. So those in favor of government, especially BIG government, prefer to encourage groups, and the bigger the better. It is the group, that ubiquitous but non-vital entity, that is the source of problems that we must solve in order to live right. (This subject—and others—is covered in detail in To Tell The Truth…see sidebar.)
One individual can accomplish just so much, so to make things easier on himself he forms a group. The group combines the talents of many to get something done. And in its arrogance to remake the world in its own image, the group forges ahead. No matter that things are progressing in their own way and will continue to do so despite our efforts, some want to make the world the way they believe it should be, and the sooner the better, using what they think is state-of-the-art technology (but really is only limited knowledge), so they form their groups and crash on into the future. Of course, those who control the group can influence the direction it takes…
Not being a vital entity, the group must get its creative juices from its individual members. But to achieve solidarity, they must pull together in pursuit of their common cause, so they lose a portion of their individuality. Big government likes this (see above). It can exert more control over more people with less effort.
What does all this have to do with Progressivism? Well, progressives favor big government and special interests. In that effort they have come to support peace, human rights, civil rights and liberties, social and economic justice, a preserved environment, and nonviolence, so they create factions–activist groups–to achieve these ends. More often than not progressive groups are composed of extremists intent upon accomplishing their goals now to serve a particular special interest. How this is done will be covered in the concluding Part (IV) of this series.
ISLAM: AN IMMEDIATE THREAT
You must realize that our American Way of life is under a siege protected by political correctness. Terrorists have been attacking us on our soil for years. September 11, 2001 may have been the worst assault, but aggression began years before. The attacks at the Boston Marathon and the San Jose (CA) power station on April 16, 2013 are more recent examples. Our embassy in Benghazi was attacked by terrorists, killing four Americans including our Ambassador. This is, by any name, warfare. Our nation is at war, however politically-incorrect it is to admit.
Most of these attacks have been made by Islamists—Muslims by another name—and it is likely that all were in fact the work of Islamic terrorists. Why? Because in spite of how politically-incorrect it is to say, it is the stated aim of Islam to eradicate all other religions. One need only read the Quran to know this—it’s there in plain language for anyone to see. The fact is that Islam is more than a religion—it is an unethical 7th Century culture, a way of life in total opposition to ours. Sharia Law directly opposes our own law as specified in our Constitution; the two are incompatible. There is no question about it.
Our rule of law does not discriminate between religions. Sharia law does—Islam alone is permitted, and it is the duty of Muslims abiding by their Quran to achieve a Muslim world by any means. These facts are clearly stated in the Quran for all to read—perhaps not politically correct, but fact nonetheless. Ignoring or hiding from them is no protection.
The Constitution: Our Rule of Law
Islamists in our country are protected by our rule of law so long as we consider Islam a religion only. It is not. Islam is committed to Sharia law, which cannot be followed under our own rule of law. So long as we consider Islam to be a religion only, we are held powerless by our own law to oppose it. This need not be a dilemma. All one has to do is read the Quran to understand the situation and take steps to protect our nation and way of life from the very real threat before our very eyes.
Political correctness is a curse promulgated by those who would destroy our way of life, a fact documented in the work of the Frankfurt School of the earlier 20th Century. Only minimal research will prove this fact.
A strong America under strong leadership is needed to protect our God-given way of life that has made us the strongest and most advanced nation on earth. Sure—I know that mentioning the Creator is not PC, but you can bet that Muslims employ God in their own work. Perhaps we should appreciate ours more…
Don’t like this? As always, comments are invited and appreciated, but please have your facts straight…
PROGRESSIVISM – NOT THE WAY TO GO
Today’s liberal ethic is rooted in the cultural revolution of the 18thCentury Enlightenment (and Modernism, ‘the culture of rational discourse’). “Enlightened” intellectuals rejected the reason and traditions of the past, especially its entrenched historical religious authority, embracing instead a secular ethic of natural reason—conclusions based solely on evidence—pioneered by Descartes’s largely mechanistic approach to the world. Although the Enlightenment originated within the purview of Christianity, its secular liberalism would limit the influence of religion by driving all religious thinking from traditional philosophy, replacing it with scientific-technical humanistic values. That reason had survived at least 2500-years of human development prior to the Enlightenment was of no matter—feelings would replace fact as the criterion for progress.
Liberal science remains technological and mechanistic in its attempt to be values-free. As such it is incomplete (failing to recognize anything beyond the physical), and amoral.
The foundation of modern Liberalism lies in Critical Theory, an early-1900s product of Germany’s Frankfurt School. Based on Marxist conjecture and underlying thesis that “all history is about which groups have power over which other groups,” its goal was to combine social theory, philosophy, economics and cultural criticism, and eliminate the distinction between the individual and the group—in other words, Communism. The movement migrated to the US via New York in 1920 and California in 1930, firmly ensconcing itself at the University of Wisconsin along the way. Eventually critical theory abandoned its German idealistic roots and morphed into American pragmatism and, finally, Political Correctness.
Progressivism is a broad-based secular reformist movement espousing a technical and cultural elite of professionals and highly-paid bureaucrats. Its ideological basis (agenda) is big government, eliminating individual rights, and removing all evidence of religiosity from public places. Progressives would limit the free exercise and influence of religion in public life generally, and would have the establishment disenfranchise religiously-motivated voters to achieve their ends.
The Progressive ethic emerged as a result of societal changes brought about by industrialization. Its ideology claims that knowledge is only achieved with empirical evidence—reason alone is not the criterion. Only social organization and technology could improve the human condition—individual freedom is not required. It eschews corporate concentration of power, marginalization of the electorate and militarism, and advocates peace, human rights, civil rights and liberties, social and economic justice, gun control. nonviolence and a preserved environment.
The Progressive framework includes Deconstructionism, a 1960s outgrowth of the Enlightenment’s ‘philosophy of language’ that removes meaning from existing text, reinserting another meaning of the elitist’s choice. (It amounts to one’s being told by the ‘enlightened’ elite what one thinks, a simplistic but correct description of the work of Jacques Derrida). Deconstruction denies even the possibility of essential meaning — absolute truth—and, conceptual hierarchy; no word can acquire meaning by being the unmediated expression of something non-linguistic (anything other than the word itself, including reality). It denies (and defies) rational thought.
Our Founders warned against such factions. Progressivism is an unethical anti-American faction whose standards fly in the face of our Constitution. It would destroy liberty and the American way of life as we know it. It has no place in our culture. It must be arrested.
OUR FOUNDERING NATION—WHAT HAPPENED?: A BRIEF HISTORY of POLITICAL ETHICS (OR NOT…)
Our political system traditionally has included two parties: Democrat and Republican. The Republican Party (born with Abraham Lincoln) came to represent business and corporations, while the Democrat Party represented the working man. As technology and industrialization progressed the Democrats, fearing uncontrolled growth and the possibility of its taking over government, became more socially liberal and unionistic. This ‘new left’ (which is no longer new, having begun in the Roosevelt administrations along with growth of the Frankfurt School) attracted humanistic intellectuals who tended to command power by virtue of their advanced education and higher recompense—a technical and cultural elite of professionals and highly-paid bureaucrats—a far cry from the blue-collar workers of yore. And academe has become almost exclusively liberal, becoming more so as one ascends the scholastic ladder.
Republicans responded by becoming more conservative, a movement in turn countered by Democrats moving even farther left into Progressivism. Progressivism has been described earlier, but the senses—feelings—play an increasing importance within it. Rationality takes a back seat.
Progressives favor a loose interpretation of the Constitution as a ‘living’ document having human properties in the sense that it should change with the times; contemporary society should be taken into account when interpreting key constitutional phrases. (This smacks of deconstructionism that removes meaning from existing text, reinserting a meaning of current choice—witness political correctness.)
Conservatives, on the other hand, hold the Constitution to be the law of the land that can only be changed by the procedure of Amendment specified in the document itself. It is the Constitutionally-specified function of the Supreme Court to interpret the document, not to change it. [From Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice: “In fact, originalism and trying to figure out precisely what the ratified document means is the only option, otherwise you’re just telling judges to govern. The Constitution is not a living organism…It’s a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn’t say what it doesn’t say.” But an originalist interpretation still provides for a flexible legal system, he said: “You want the death penalty? Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and enact it (by Amendment). You think it’s a bad idea? Persuade them the other way and repeal it. And you can change your mind. If you repeal it and find there are a lot more murders, you can put it back in,” he argued. “That’s flexibility.”] But it takes thought, not feeling.
(Postmodernism began as a reaction to the modernist certainty of scientific (objective) efforts to explain reality, venerating mediocrity by focusing instead on idealism, relativism, skepticism and the ‘relative truths’ of each individual in an effort to understand his own reality. But postmodernism continued the Progressive’s modernist rejection of absolute truth and so will remain an undeveloped ideology in spite of itself.)
The modern liberal practice of rejecting formal convention in favor of good intentions spawned its own unique ideology (body of doctrine, myth and belief rather than a primary socially-grounded philosophy). They claim to be indifferent, but by definition ideologies have an agenda (see belief) and tend to breed extremism in their effort to discredit conflicting philosophies (i.e., if facts intrude, the well-meaning liberal’s response may well be: “that’s just not the way we do things,” an approach characteristic of an ideology.)
As the 20th Century progressed an ebb in democracy accompanied the lessening of vitality in the public sphere. The promise of unlimited scientific progress was weakened with the realization that science might in fact go too far (as in the atrocities of both World Wars—ethnic cleansing and Nazism, and thermonuclear power). Television and the computer led to an increasingly depersonalized mode of interaction, the public consuming media (and therefore subject to being manipulated by it) rather than paying personal attention to politics and directly interfacing with other people. In effect, democracy was colonized by mass media and the liberal elite, and politics became more of a ‘spectator sport’ than a personal involvement. Liberalism has come to define mass media (newspapers, television, even Hollywood) and dominate the Democrat Party in recent years.
And that’s how we got here. Stay tuned to find out where we’re going; (hint: the elimination of the distinction between the individual and the group signals the end of our Constitutional rights). Beware.
To be continued…
OUR NATION IS FOUNDERING–HOW DID WE GET HERE?: A BRIEF HISTORY of POLITICAL ETHICS (OR NOT…)
The high principles upon which our nation was founded reached a peak during the years during and immediately following World War II. The war effort had united Americans in a common patriotism that was key to an Allied victory over the fascist and imperial powers threatening world peace in both Europe and the Far East. A period of prosperity and progress followed as the military returned to contribute to the growing economy. Life was good. I know. I was there.
The generation coming of age during the 1960s (many of them children of those who fought the war) benefited in a big way from that period of growth, to the point where they felt free to live the life they wished for themselves and to make their feelings public to those who had grown it. When aggression threatened the Far East, America was again drawn into war, but our common patriotism had deteriorated from an attitude of pulling together to the ‘60s Generation’s general feeling of ‘me first.’ Flag-burning and anti-war demonstrations were commonplace; the war effort was diluted (along with the quality of college education), political correctness was creeping into the system, and America failed to achieve victory. This had a devastating effort on our nation’s solidarity that continues today. Life was not quite so good (I was there, too).
The following discussion dealing with Political Ethics can be corroborated by even cursory research:
Our domestic solidarity had already been threatened beginning in the 1920s by a movement started in Europe by a group of German Jews following the humanistic socialist theories of Karl Marx that directly challenged traditional aristocratic authority. Marxist ideas spawned the Institute for Social Research (the Frankfurt School) in Germany in the early 20th Century in response to a perceived need to spread communism. (Whereas Western thought supports the individual, in communism all valid ideas are professed to come from The State.) The Frankfurt School came to New York in the 1930s and California in the ’40s, finding a convivial home at the University of Wisconsin-Madison along the way. It initially employed Sigmund Freud’s psychological conditioning methods in an attempt to dislodge the structures of traditional Western society by promoting the idea that certain of its beliefs are disrespectful of others and must be tempered to atone for past inequities and injustices. The immediate result was the birth of Political Correctness, a cancer which has grown ever since.
PC’s foundation lies in the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory, a term not embodying critical thought so much as criticism itself. Based on Marx’s underlying thesis that “all history is about which groups have power over which other groups,” its goal was to combine social theory, philosophy, economics and cultural criticism in its behalf. Its framework includes Deconstructionism, an outgrowth of the “philosophy of language” born of the 18th Century Enlightenment that removes meaning from existing text, reinserting another meaning of current choice. (It amounts to one’s being told by the ‘enlightened’ elite what one thinks, a simplistic but correct description of the work of Jacques Derrida). Eventually critical theory abandoned its German idealistic roots and morphed into American pragmatism, a line of thought appealing to the 60s Generation.
This modern political thought was manifested in an increased development of the liberal ethic into Progressivism, an ideology claiming that knowledge is only achieved with empirical evidence—that reason alone is not the criterion. That reason had survived at least 2500-years of human development resulting in the modern world was of no matter—feelings would replace fact as the criterion for progress. Social organization and technology alone could improve the human condition—individual freedom is not required—and the Constitution could be re-interpreted at will. Big changes were in the making.