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Attack on the Court, Pt. 1

June 24, 2022

I grew up in post-WW II America and was lucky.

My father survived combat in the Pacific and from age 3 to 18 my life was unaffected by poverty or Muslim persecution experienced by my Armenian grandparents. Two of my mother’s brothers were Deacons in our Missouri Synod Lutheran Church where I attended grades 1-8 in the parish school.

Changes in American culture were visible, however, in San Francisco’s Haight-Asbury and New York City’s Greenwich Village and in celebratory events like Woodstock (1969).

Fifty-three years later, all large American cities are “value-free zones.” Almost all colleges and universities, Protestant churches and Catholic dioceses are dominated by “progressives.”

Drug use and sexual intercourse have become “recreational” and how we live has become a “lifestyle.”

Though “Judicial Review” of the Congress of the United States was rejected by the framers of the Constitution, the Judicial Power was increased by Mr. Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison and by post-Civil War Amendments that were interpreted as imposing protections in the Bill of Rights on the State. Before the 14th Amendment, the Bill of Rights were protections solely from actions by the National government.

Today American politics is roiled by a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States reversing Roe v. Wade (1973). We will soon see whether and how attempts to constrain the Judicial Power become law and whether a consequence is transformation of American representative government into an Empire.

That is the subject of Rise and Fall of the American Empire.

Reasons to Question the “Great Books”

June 23, 2022

On Sunday, June 5, I posted a brief note that can be viewed by at least 4000 contacts in my database of friends–and anyone else cruising Facebook–that this Pentecost Sunday was also my birthday.

Last week I discovered that 30-plus colleagues from the 1960s had sent Happy Birthday messages in response. All had enlisted in the conservative movement and all had ISI, YAF or Draft Goldwater movement on our CVs and knew or studied in college with many of “the Greats” of that era.

Willmoore Kendall, Warren Nutter, Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises, Michael Oakeshott, George Stigler, James Buchanan, Eric Voegelin, Gerhart Niemeyer, Wilhelm Roepke, Stanly Parry, Donald Treadgold, Stephen Tonsor, Leo Strauss, Mario Pei, Martin Diamond, Henry Manne, Harry Jaffa and so many others shaped us in ways that today’s college students will never experience.

I must conclude, therefore, that, for good or ill, we must now start over, and create new colleges and universities and compete for students with the academic Left.

Liberty, Regent and Patrick Henry are well established Fundamentalist Protestant religious colleges, but two recent secular ones have appeared—Thales and University of Austin—that are as bright and bushy-tailed as I was 22 years ago when I founded Yorktown University.

My approach back then was to recruit conservative scholars and work with them to convert their courses for delivery via the Internet. Thales and Austin rely on the “Great Books.”

Much to my surprise I discovered an essay by Fredrick Wilhelmsen on the “Great Books” published at “The Imaginative Conservative” that offers reasons to be skeptical of that method.

I’ve expressed my own reasons, but let us take a look at what Fritz Wilhelmsen had to say in “Great Books: Enemies of Wisdom?

“Woke” Banks, Pt. 3

June 21, 2022

Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-W) is Vice Chairman of the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, a subcommittee within the House Committee on the Judiciary

Cong. Ken Buck (R-CO) is ranking Minority member. Both Ken Buck and Pramila Jayapal favor use of Anti-Trust statutes: Buck favors breaking up Facebook and  Pramila Jayapal favors use of Anti-trust to advance the far-Left policies of the House Progressive Caucus.

Rep. Jayapal’s “progressive” leanings are a threat to Bank of America that owns Merrill Lynch brokerage company.

That may explain why the Bank of America requires that employees undergo “wokeness” training:

Bank of America Corp. has implemented a racial re-education program that claims the United States is a system of “white supremacy” and encourages employees to become “woke at work,” instructing white employees in particular to “decolonize your mind” and “cede power to people of color.”

Brian Moynihan, President of Bank of America, fears that Rep. Jaypal will legislate the breakup of Merrill Lynch and Bank of America and assures her that BOA is “Woke” in the extreme.

On June 18 I expressed my regret that the University of Notre Dame, where Moynihan earned a law degree, has become very secular like other “Great” universities. That may explain why BOA is “Woke” and why BOA’s President isn’t a banker.

“Woke” Banks Pt. 2

June 18, 2022

In Part 1 of my commentary on “Woke” banks, I neglected to mention that Bank of America and Merrill Lynch are managed by the same person, Brian Moynihan, an investment banker and astute observer of American politics.

Born in 1959, more than a hundred years after Irish Catholics emigrated en masse to the United States (in the 1840s, half of all immigrants to the USA were from Ireland), Moynihan graduated from Brown—not St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia or Boston College and earned a postgraduate law degree long after Notre Dame became “Great,” that is “secular.”

In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, Notre Dame law hosted a political conservative, Clarence Manion, as Dean. In the mid-1960’s, Notre Dame’s Department of Government welcomed Stanley Parry, Gerhart Niemeyer and Eric Voegelin.

Today no philosophy nor political theory dominates the Notre Dame Government Department nor its Law School though it attracts intelligent Catholics seeking to make successful careers as attorneys or in elective office.

The “community” of American conservative lawyers, therefore, has been sent a message: “Don’t even think of being a federal judge or we’ll do to you what is in store for Justices like Mr. Justice Brett Kavanaugh and others who are inclined to reverse Roe v. Wade.”

Brian Moynihan is representative of the Notre Dame Law graduate of today who– like the University itself is “Great”– in the technicalities of law and procedure–not the philosophers who affirmed that justice—what is right—is not a matter of opinion.