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Facebook is Our “Commons”

April 7, 2020

Most colleges and universities that are older and private, have areas called “the Commons,” usually an area of lawn that students traverse when going from one class to another.

I wouldn’t know that from experience, as a “townie” at the University of Pittsburgh who traveled to class each day by “street car,” my “Commons” was in a building designed to emulate the design of a Gothic cathedral.  Called “the Cathedral of Learning,” at its center was a space called “the Commons.

On the  circumference  of that space were “Nationality Rooms,” contributed to the University by the various ethnic groups found in the city of Pittsburgh’s population. My life’s purpose was discovered in two common spaces at University, the “Tuck Shop,” a coffee shop in the basement of the Cathedral of Learning and the meeting place of the William Pitt Debate Union, a room modeled on the English “House of Commons.”

Like the City University of New York (CUNY) where a group of youthful  Liberal Democrats and supporters of Leon Trotsky met in a coffee shop similar to Pitt’s Tuck Shop, the future “Neoconservative” movement convened its founding members in these common spaces.

We were poor, but alive to political ideas then being affirmed by “Conservative” intellectual. In my case, we associate those ideas with Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Frederich Hayek. Indeed, I belonged to a club that brought these incredibly gifted intellectuals to speak at Pitt, and I had the privilege of taking lunch with Bill Buckley and Frederich Hayek and listening to  Frank Meyer, William Rusher, and other spokesmen for what came to be known as “the Conservative Movement.” Later, I wrote about that “movement” which I called “The Conservative Rebellion.”

That was then and today I reach out to like-minded colleagues in a digital “Commons.”  That common ground or space is something called “Facebook” and you’ll find me at my Facebook page in discussions much like those at the William Pitt Debate Union and the Tuck Shop. Inspired by the wife of a conservative jurist whose path I crossed decades ago, I am posting musical performances that celebrate the feast of Easter and our commonly shared love of American music and dance.

I’m admitting only “Friends” with whom I share a common traditional, “conservative,” view of life, but you’re welcome to visit and see what’s on our minds.

 

What Trump’s Personnel Firings tell Us

April 5, 2020

If you watch MSNBC or CNN you notice that The New York Times is given special attention. Its headlines and news analysis are accepted and honored as writs from some heavenly source.  Aware of that, I succumbed and enrolled for $4 a month in online access to the daily newspaper.

Today’s paper (April 5, 2020) contains a list of persons whom President Trump has fired from administrative positions in his Administration.

Michael K. Atkinson, Inspector General for intelligence and endorsed the firing of Navy captain Brett E. Crozier

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a national security aide

Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman

Ambassador Gordon D. Sondland.

Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., the acting chief diplomat in Ukraine

John C. Rood, under secretary of defense,

Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence

Elaine McCusker, had her nomination to be Pentagon comptroller withdrawn.

Jessie K. Liu, who prosecuted Mr. Trump’s friend, Roger J. Stone Jr., had her nomination to be under secretary of the Treasury withdrawn.

Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, was fired on March 6

What is to be made of these actions?

First, we must recognize that Donald J. Trump sought election without required knowledge of policy and personnel of every important function of the U.S. government.

Knowing no one, he addressed policy issues as if they could be resolved by his action alone. He had no understanding of the career service that manages the Deep State and knew, except for Larry Kudlow, not a single person in the community of American political conservatives who devoted their lives to these issues.

Some of the persons on the list of those relieved of duty were his direct appointees, others were career civil servants he left in place and in the case of one, Elaine McCusker, nominated her to become Comptroller of the U.S. Defense Department.

At the very least, this is an embarrassment. But we now enter a pandemic of historic proportions that promise to challenge the survival of limited government forever.

The die is cast. Hail Caesar!

 

Much has been lost, except music

April 4, 2020

We’re facing a viral pandemic so vicious that contact between businesses and customers has been rendered impossible. Millions of goods and services on which we rely are becoming scarce or shut down.  Local dry cleaners, beauty shops, restaurants, drinking establishments and other personal service providers are closed. As we approach Easter Sunday, we have no churches to welcome us in celebration of our Risen Lord.

All seems lost as we await discovery of a vaccine that will be discovered, tested and distributed by January, not by mid-April nor late July, despite the best wishes of government leaders.

This will exacerbate forces that have been in development during the lives of most citizens of the United States living today. Finally, all will realize that this virus has killed our Constitutional order of limited government.  We had a representative Republican government and now we are entering an Imperial order.

A silent revolution has occurred with enormous consequences the equal of revolutions that devastated the ancien régime of France and the Russian imperial monarchy. Traditionalists have put up an honorable though ineffective fight against Ideologies of revolution, and failed. Here in America, conservatives didn’t have a chance of victory over the growth of the administrative state. Not Russell Kirk, not William F. Buckley. Jr. nor Ronald Reagan could save the Republic.

We have much to be thankful for, of course. We were victorious against Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and remain a free people. We are free to worship the Giver of Life, and honor His only begotten Son this Easter Sunday. And we have recordings of sacred music to remind us that heaven is not found in this world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-_JLMJnH3U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTFG_nvreoI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI6dsMeABpU

 

Auditioning to Adminster the Deep State

March 31, 2020

Two days ago, a neighbor and his wife walking on our local beach was interrupted by a policeman who instructed them to walk at greater distance apart from one another.

Yesterday  at Fedex where I went to assemble letters to be sent to former investors of Yorktown University, a man came into the store (only two others were there) and stood fifteen feet down from me. I glanced over and saw that he was wearing a surgical mask and leaning into the counter.

I’m certain he was a member of the police that monitor who is out doors when the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, has imposed a 70 day lock down.

The Governor of Virginia, like Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, is a Leftist and will use this pandemic to political advantage.

Governor Cuomo is using access to major media to audition for the Office of President of the United States and Governor  Northam of Virginia will use the pandemic to rig his re-election.

If voting machines and paper ballots can be used to advantage one Party over another, imagine what creative politicians will do with all mail elections.

Governor  Cuomo’s daily press briefings, conveniently covered by cable news media, demonstrates his expertise as a manager of the administrative State.

I’m not impressed.

I am fearful, however, that once in office, President Andrew Cuomo will act in a heavy-handed manner (justified by sending us checks) and only a few political and economic conservatives will revolt.

None in the Trump dominated GOP, including President Trump, has raised the alarm because they, too, are enablers of the Deep State.

A Virus Killed the Republic

March 28, 2020

Raymond Keating,  chief economist with the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, wrote this for his course on Supply-side economics at Yorktown University:

Progressive President Woodrow Wilson and his fellow Democrats in Congress were more than willing to impose an income tax, and didn’t waste much time. Wilson signed the personal income tax into law in October 1913 with rates ranging from 1 percent to 7 percent. The top rate was increased to 15 percent in 1916, and with U.S. entrance into World War I, the top rate was pushed up to 67 percent in 1917 and 77 percent in 1918. The top rate was dropped slightly to 73 percent in 1919.

The corporate income tax also was increased, with the rate moving from 1 percent to 2 percent in 1916, 6 percent in 1917, 12 percent in 1918, and back to 10 percent in 1919.

As for the economy during this period, real GNP barely grew in 1913 (0.9 percent), and then declined in 1914 and 1915 (-4.4 percent and -0.9 percent, respectively). After the war (with fighting ending at the end of 1918), the U.S. economy went into a depression, with real GNP declining by 3.6 percent in 1919, 4.4 percent in 1920, and 8.7 percent in 1921.

That is, when he exited the Oval Office in March 1921, Woodrow Wilson left behind one of the worst economies on record.

The historical parallel between yesterday’s $2.2 trillion emergency aid package, and economic policies of President Woodrow Wilson are striking.  President Wilson raised taxes to pay for America’s entry into World War I. And President Trump has blown a hole in the economics of American government that will solidify the administrative “State” that begins with Woodrow Wilson, grows teeth during the Roosevelt Administration and then grew without restraint from every Presidential Administration thereafter.

After the first $2.2 trillion expenditure to sustain the economy and avert a depression, Donald Trump’s successors will do what Woodrow Wilson did–spend more and raise taxes.

Unlike 1920, however, when Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge attacked Wilson’s economic policies with deep cuts in personal and corporate tax rates, at the end of Trump’s second term, the 2028 election will not elect a President who is a tax cutter. He’ll impose personal and corporate income taxes of 80% or more and average Americans will live from government check to government check.

America’s response to the Coronavirus will more deeply embed our lives in the “State.” And future generations of our young will do what youngsters always do–rebel–and this time they will look for lampposts where politicians who sustained our imperial order may be dragged out from retirement in gated communities and strung up. Statues of President Roosevelt and Donald Trump will be knocked down as were statutes of Stalin in 1991.

Between now and then, the administrative “Deep State” will grow its claws and its teeth will become fangs that drag free citizens into servitude to an American Empire.

 

 

Reform Higher Education–Part 2

March 27, 2020

Part 1 of the appeal asked here, was first made in 2008, and is generated by the Coronavirus pandemic that is forcing closure of classroom teaching in American colleges and universities. That practice of instruction in classrooms is a requirement of “Regional Accreditation.”

All those colleges where education occurs in classrooms are required to maintain campus facilities where students learn, eat, sleep and interact socially.  That campus requirement has led to the high cost of a college degree of between $1,000 and $1,800 per course for every course taken by each and every college student seeking a diploma.

Now that these regionally accredited colleges and universities cannot offer classroom classes, they are, in effect, in violation of the classroom “Standard” of their “regional” accreditation. They are also in violation and of state and federal regulations that require classroom “Discussions” as a requirement of access to federal tuition loans and Grants.

By the mid-1980s Web browsers, coupled with a developing system of communication called the “Internet” and low cost PCs in effect “remaindered” the former conditions of classroom education. Every regionally accredited college and university was threatened by Internet delivered training and education programs.

That challenge in higher education was met by doing nothing since 1885 when the first association of accredited colleges was founded.

That was good for college teachers, administrators and ideologically driven “Progressives” who hate America, and very bad for consumers of “accredited” degree programs. From 2010 to 2019, I protested in every forum that would give me a hearing:

The Artful Recluse: “Reclusiveness” as a response to loss of China to Mongol invasion in 17th century China. Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC. June 13, 2019.

 

Anti-American Bias of American Higher Education, Family Research Council, Washington, DC, December 5, 2017.

 

Why American Higher Education is Failing, Heartland Institute, March 1, 2017

 

The Future of Higher Education, Law and Eonomics Center, George Mason University, October 16, 2015

 

Federalization of Higher Education, National Association of Scholars, April 30, 2012

 

Federal Takeover of Higher Education,  Family Research Council, May 11, 2011

 

Politics and For-Profit Education,  Cato Institute, February 1, 2011

 

Profiting from Ivory Towers, Cato Institute, November 30, 2010

Much to the discredit of Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and, now, Donald J. Trump, this system is sustained by government regulations and directives. The U.S. Secretary of Education in each of those Administrations is rooted in the old manner of “accreditation.” Now, however, is the time to remove the requirement of classroom instruction and “discussions” and open the doors to regioal accreditation of Internet delivered higher education courses and programs for degree credit.

Surviving Korea–and Academe

March 26, 2020

It’s been a long downhill slide from entry of the United States into WW I, the growth of the ideology of internationalism, and many more wars, so we must accept that we live in an era of decline of culture and civilization. That may be seen in the Korean War that is much like American higher education with an indiginous radical regime of accreditation agencies that preserve an income stream for “academics,”

The decision to form a Communist government in North Korea derives from FDR, who believing he needed to keep the USSR in the war, acceded to the creation of a Communist North Korea. In turn the North invaded the South, we intervened with a professional military adjusting to reductions in force and military leadership after 1945, and got our teeth kicked.

David Halbersham’s The Coldest Winter wrote that MacArthur acted badly (despite Inchon) perhaps enjoying too much his imperial power in Japan. His mausoleum is in Norfolk, Virginia where I’ve lived since 1996 and visitors may view his 45 automatic, dining service and official car. He and his wife are buried here.

I think of those wars in the 20th century and especially the ones we lost–Korea and Vietnam

.A friend of my Uncle was a POW in Germany in WW II and my father served in the Marine Corps and saw action at Iwo Jima, Saipan, Tinian and Tarawa. An Uncle served in Guadalcanal and another aboard a Navy destroyer. One of my father’s workers in or about 1953 served in Korea and told me that he was running toward an enemy position and a Korean mortar hit his buddy square on the head..

Though surrounded by WW II, Korean and later Vietnam military veterans, I was never attracted to military service and due to Barry Goldwater’s defeat in his 1964 campaign. on which I was a campaign worker, I went off to graduate school at the University of Notre Dame and didn’t serve in Vietnam.

I’m not a corporate type, anyway, and could never has survived more than the thirteen years I spent in Academe and would not have done well in the military, either.

That’s the fate of entrepreneurial personalities. You can read about it in my 2017 book that I titled The Coming Death of American Higher Education or my presentation on how Chinese painters, poets and intellectuals survived the Mongol invasion of 1644.