Twilight’s Last Gleaming
by Tip Boxell
Francis Scott Key and Colin Kaepernick both have good values. They both ask the right questions. Colin asks with his knee if this is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Francis asks with his anthem if we can still so proudly hail what may be on its last gleaming. This is a book of serialized chapters that analyze critical emotional, intellectual, and spiritual questions about this Edge of America where we stand.
Chapter 5: The Positions of a Progress Party Program (previous chapters below)
Animal Farm by George Orwell as summarized by cliffnotes.com (with my extract in parentheses):
“One night, all the animals at Mr. Jones’ Manor Farm (King Louis’ French ancient regime – Tsar Nicholas’ Russian Empire – Chiang Kai Shek’s Republic of China and possibly Herbert Hoover’s United States of America) assemble in a barn to hear old Major, a pig (Karl Marx, Voltaire, Eugene V. Debs…International Workers of the World, the IWW, the “Wobblies”), describe a dream he had about a world where all animals (the people, the proletariat) live free from the tyranny of their human masters (the upper classes, the establishment). This impressive pig, old Major dies soon after the meeting, but the animals — inspired by his philosophy of Animalism (Communism, [extreme] Socialism) plot a rebellion against Farmer Jones. Two pigs, Snowball (the theorist and visionary inspirer-leader: George Danton, Nicolai Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro…these are my comments, remember and William Z. Foster…remember, I don’t make this stuff up) and Napoleon (the revolutionary war fighter and hardened commander: Napoleon, Leon Trotsky, Jack Reed, Chu Teh and later Lin Piao, Vo Nguyen Giap, and Che Guevara) prove themselves important figures and planners of this dangerous enterprise. When Jones forgets to feed the animals, the revolution occurs (Bastille, Red October, formation of the Vietnamese Workers’ Party and the Vietnamese Revolutionary League, the Bonus March in Washington, 1932 and the 26th of July Movement in Cuba, 1953). Jones and his men are chased off the farm. Manor Farm is renamed Animal Farm, and the Seven Commandments of Animalism (Communist Manifesto) are painted on the barn wall.
2002 BOOK COVER BY RALPH STEADMAN | PENGUIN BOOK COVERS
“Initially, the rebellion is a success: The animals complete the harvest and meet every Sunday to debate farm policy (collectives, communes). The pigs, because of their intelligence, become the supervisors of the farm. Napoleon, however, proves to be a power-hungry leader who steals the cows’ milk and a number of apples to feed himself and the other pigs. He also enlists the services of Squealer (great name for a propagandist: Leon Trotsky again…as he did double duty, Dr. Joseph Goebbels…who was a far right fascist Nazi! Remember the “horseshoe?”), a pig with the ability to persuade the other animals that the pigs are always moral and correct in their decisions (politically correct, originally a Stalinist term).
“Later that fall, Jones and his men return to Animal Farm and attempt to retake it (counterrevolution and foreign intervention: think Allied intervention into Russia in 1918, think the Bay of Pigs, think Gulf of Tonkin…that’s complicated, especially for me, but it works here). Thanks to the tactics of Snowball (should be Napoleon), the animals defeat Jones in what thereafter becomes known as The Battle of the Cowshed (the Battle of Valmy, the Fall of Tsaritsyn, The Long March, Dien Bien Phu, the Tet Offensive of 1968, the Battle of Santa Clara). Winter arrives, and Mollie, a vain horse concerned only with ribbons and sugar (middle class intellectuals and philosophers with bourgeois morality wanting the personal life), is lured off the farm by another human (defectors: think Berlin Wall, “chieu hoi,” Marielas boat people, South China Sea boat people)…
“…Napoleon’s lust for power increases to the point where he becomes a totalitarian dictator (Robespierre’s “Reign of Terror,” Napoleon, Stalin, Ho and the “Revolt of the 100,000 Flowers” in 1956, Mao and “Cultural Revolution” as well as the “Great Leap Forward”, Fidel and the Fortress of Cabana) forcing “confessions” from innocent animals and having the dogs kill them in front of the entire farm. He and the pigs move into Jones’ house and begin sleeping in beds (which Squealer excuses with his brand of twisted logic). The animals receive less and less food, while the pigs grow fatter. As more of the Seven Commandments of Animalism are broken by the pigs, the language of the Commandments is revised.”
(I try my hand at making Cliff Notes) One of the revolutionary principles was that, “Two legs bad. Four legs good.” But now Squealer helps the pigs with the position “Four legs good. Two legs better.” Eventually, the pigs begin walking on their hind legs and take on many other qualities of their former human oppressors (Note the ruling Communist Party elite in the Soviet Union who are disdainfully and secretly called the “Vlasti” or “nobility”). The Seven Commandments are reduced to a single law: “All Animals Are Equal / But Some Are More Equal Than Others.”
In 1981, McGraw-Hill published a seminal book of communications philosophy (really marketing and salesmanship, that is to say, politics). There is a 2001 edition updated for millennials. This is the book, Positioning: the Battle for Your Mind by Al Reis and Jack Trout. It has popularized the concepts of positioning in the market place (of ideas), repositioning (fighting back against an unfavorable position), repositioning your competition where you want them to be, branding, product placement and campaigns that begin with product roll out. Have we not just witnessed an epic battle of determined positioners? Is not this book a product rollout for the Progress Party?
Positioning is not always or not all bad. There has been and can be heroic positioning. How about this?
From the Motion Picture, A More Perfect Union, BYU Motion Picture Studio, 1989:
INT. A BACK ROOM IN THE TAVERN. NIGHT
James Madison, Colonel John Mason, and Edmund Randolph sit around a table.
We are proposing an entirely new constitution. We are not amending the Articles of Confederation!
But can we not say that we are amending them? I have learned that words have great power to set people’s minds.
…and then amend them out of existence?
Positioning and Public Relations Roots.
Positioning is the spine of public relations. Public relations gone bad is endless pivoting or “spinning” of the story to protect images. Spinning is an evil offshoot of positioning and public relations. The queen of such pivoting in our current political theatre is of course Ms. Kelly Ann Conway. She’ll make you dizzy (and some very angry).
“SINCE WE CANNOT CHANGE REALITY, LET US CHANGE THE EYES WHICH SEE REALITY.”
– NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS
My father was a subordinate of John W. Hill, the father of (and creator of the term) public relations. Check out Hill and Knowlton Public Relations Counsel, Inc., the largest firm of its kind in the world. My father’s brother (my uncle) was a newspaper reporter. Back in 1948 a newspaper man — and they were all men — was one of only two kinds of journalists…print and radio. TV was later. Digital online was far later. Brother grabbed up brother and got him into the infant Hill and Knowlton. My father had also been a newspaper reporter. My father learned that public relations is a branch of journalism and is subject to all the “journalism code of ethics.” The difference between a journalist for a media outlet and a journalist acting as public relations counsel for a corporate, government, or other organizational client is that the “PR man (or, nowadays, woman)” tells the client’s story. I will try to be my father’s son and tell my client’s story.
What must be done is to gather all the background we have seen, all of the deeds and thoughts of history and all of the philosophical principles and humanistic currents and all of the spiritual beliefs presented and use them to lay out the positions of a Progress Party which could best serve such a complicated time. This is an editorial a public relations consultant could use as a platform, a plan of action for his or her client to be used as a basis for legislation and executive action to enforce legislation.
I am not fantasizing that I could be President of the United States (or governor of a state or mayor of a city). I am challenging all the actual legislators and government executives to examine what dissatisfies them. They like this about their party, but they don’t like that about their party. On this issue, their party makes them combat their religion. On that issue, their party makes them combat their humanity. They like this constituency, but they don’t like that constituency. They are good with this “wing” of their party, but they have to bite their tongue about that “wing” of their party. Still, their party is their party and they cannot combat that. The only alternative is another party or a splinter party that is a serious contender for attention on some issues but of no merit on other issues.
I say there need be no more of that. What about a system of thought and a plan of action that attempts to pull together the things that are attractive about all the parties, past and present? What made or makes them attractive? Use the wisdom, efficacy, and proven practicality of great acts past. They were right for the horrible crises of the past and they are right for the horrible crises of the present and predictable in the future.
I am certainly not fantasizing that Americans would flock to a Progress Party. I am simply imagining that a Progress Party would be a good place and a new home, for a great supermajority of voters, office seekers, and office holders (certainly to include judges even if one of our principles is that judges judge individuals in individual cases justly and not to further their affinity’s agenda). This is not the great compromise. This is the place that, at least in concept, hopefully in practice, you won’t want to resist, that you won’t want to deny. This is the sweet spot on the great spectrum of choices and positions…the Golden Mean. A Progress Party would likely be found solid by academics with real intellectual integrity who fear lack of progress more than “PC” controversy. Perhaps mass leaders will find their people’s goals in these positions. Perhaps such a political platform and legislative program could peel off a big piece of each of the constituencies, even the radical left and radical right. It could gather many eccentric libertarians and earth muffin green lovin’ hipsters. Millennial politics seem ripe for such a thing.
PR positioners, care to take a spin? Any good public relations man or woman with good journalism ethics will tell you that an argument for a position must be built on facts. The facts may not be attractive or even unassailable, but they will be compelling (“…in terms so fair and plain as will command their assent”). I believe in the facts I’ve researched. I dare to say that I can bear witness to my facts.
I am only one, but I am one. I have a resume. I have never held elected office or even worked for a candidate, but I have been in the Armed Forces for thirty years (in two wars), under medical care for all my life for life threatening injuries, diseases, and disorders, in the arts professionally for forty years (where I have pushed an audience into stories about all these things as you can see) and a college educator for eighteen years. I carefully studied all our elections since 1964 and have voted since 1968.
I watched John Kennedy be inaugurated. I watched him lay out the Cuban Missile Crisis and I watched him die. I watched all the great events of the Civil Rights Revolution to include the acts (and the last act) of Martin Luther King. I wasn’t on Richard Nixon’s White House staff or his enemies list, but I watched Lieutenant John Kerry, USN, trying to be a scruffy anarchic kid in his navy utility top over tee shirt with his hair down to his asshole as we used to describe that. I was a medevac flight greeter at Andrews Air Force Base just down the flight line from Air Force One when hundreds of C-130’s brought in the entire 82nd Airborne Division to control the largest demonstration in American history, dwarfing anything else the Committee to End the War or the Civil Rights leaders had ever done. I had to get to work at Headquarters, Marine Corps through the crowd of 900,000 people…people like my parents, people like me.
I was married for eighteen years, have four grown kids and six grandkids. In my teaching, my students have been old and young, male and female, gay and straight, all races. We go back to Jefferson: “…all ages, sexes, and conditions.” In my life in literary and performing art I have worked with or for every imaginable kind of person and found much to admire and depend on and learn from in all of them. I have filed 50 federal and state tax returns and I’m happy to release all of them, ridiculous as they are. I have studied and lived with and lived in all the history of all of the world all of my life. So…I know some stuff about some stuff and can speak from a decent amount of experience.
I hope you might entertain my flight of political philosophical fancy, but there have been lots of Utopias put out there by some real political actors (Plato, Augustine, Sir/Saint Thomas More…the Man for All Seasons and, well, Jesus [The Kingdom of Heaven], not to mention Mohammed who had his own Platonic cave). People will only go along with such an exercise if the positions themselves attract. A Progress Party cannot demand respect. It must command it.
The great leviathan must be the philosopher king, but elected to be such by the razor mind of no BS/no PC Socrates and his young Platos. Leviathan sits in the sun in the clearing in the dark and awful forest. We flee the life that is nasty, brutish, and short. We are sick of surviving by the strength of our own right arms. We enter the clearing. Two thirds or more of the American electorate has been persuaded to vote Progress Party at the local, state, and national level. Two thirds or more of the mayors, county commissioners, state legislators, city and state judges (including two thirds or more of the State Supreme Court Justices), and governors in two thirds or more of the states are Progress Party (or, regarding the judges, amenable to the Progress Party). 60 or more U. S. Senators, 261 or more U.S. Representatives, five or more U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and, of course, the President and Vice President of the United States are ready to form a (dare I use the term?) collective philosopher king (“I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves”).
Only with this Moby Dick of a great mandate could they concertedly enact and see US through to a national (and, because it’s connected to America) global transformation. Many will say this fantasy of actual progress is delusional. Nothing like this could ever happen they will say, to protect themselves from scary change, from the hard work of compromise. I insist it has happened. Remember Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal 1000 days. Remember Abraham Lincoln’s achievements with our famously bloody civil war tying one hand behind his back. Think John F. Kennedy’s big dream inaugural address, largely achieved with the CIA trying to kill him.
Shopping budget. Shopping list. We need the macro mega mandate, because we have to do everything simultaneously. Raising the money and spending the money for these things are interconnected. There can be no prioritization. If we don’t do one thing and we don’t do anything.
So here we go. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends…” -Shakespeare
Let us break the trend of avoiding pain which invokes more pain by humbly attempting to tackle some most dividing tough stuff first instead of putting off or ignoring the 800 pound gorilla in the room, or elephant in the room, whichever large beast metaphor you prefer. Then whether we agree or not, we might trust each other enough to discuss anything else? As a country we are essentially the same two factions. Political parties’ identities have morphed, but we’re still the “conservative” vs. “liberal” U.S.
ABORTION AND ANTI-ABORTION.
To take a position on abortion or anti-abortion, one should begin by perceiving any observable facts. John Kennedy said, “Let facts be submitted to a candid world.” It is an observable fact that a minimum of eight weeks and a maximum of ten weeks after a human female becomes pregnant, her “fetus” (a medical term of art coming from the Latin word foetus or foedus meaning that which is being nourished) is clearly a human infant. There is no more “it.” Considering clinical reality rather than a clinical term of art that enables an emotionally detached position, the human infant is a clearly formed male or female. A female at 10 weeks has all the eggs she will ever have. A human infant at ten weeks has fingernails and eyelashes and moves in the womb in a coordinated way. The four chambered heart is beating. The two lungs are inflating. Is such a human infant viable outside the mother’s body? Clearly not. But is such a human infant some kind of mass of cells, some kind of protoplasmic organism? Absolutely not. Not it but he. Not it but she.
Obviously, every day of gestation brings more development. At five to six months, the baby if miscarried or aborted would live for a while and like any human being, would struggle in a very human way to keep breathing. Such an undeveloped human infant, outside of its mother, would die. Such an undeveloped infant in the midst of a normal pregnancy would likely only die if aborted. Any time after seven months, the human infant being born or aborted is viable, premature, but viable. A human infant born at nine months (full-term) will live unless stillborn or killed by the medical person assisting in the delivery.
An obvious question is what do we consider to be the case before two months? That is a question with no easy medical answer. There is a theological answer, which says that life begins at conception and the spirit sent down from heavenly father and heavenly mother enters the child in the womb at conception. However, in our United States Constitution with its United States Bill of Rights, particularly the First Amendment with its provision against the establishment of a religion, we are bound to accept the elaboration upon the First Amendment by Justice Hugo Black who said that we may not “favor religion over irreligion.” We’re left with a lot of emotion and a medical status that is vague and highly debatable.
Remember, a girl or a woman becoming certain that she is pregnant by or before month two is very rare. Consider. A pubescent girl or a woman doesn’t have a period at the usual time. But what is her usual time? What do most girls or women do in such a situation? They are paralyzed with fear and they stew. They are terrified. They think wishfully. They dare not reveal their concern to anyone. So the earliest time in the great majority of times that a girl or a woman finds out for herself or is found out by a medical professional to be pregnant, is rarely earlier than week 10. At that time, the opportunity to “eliminate” a “blob of plasma” has passed according to physiological facts, not spiritual beliefs.
But what if a girl or a woman has unprotected sex or a condom mishap and is determined to act immediately and proactively, after failing or being failed prophylactically? Such a girl or woman can take the “day after pill,” the ”Plan B pill,” “the morning after pill,” or – – as sometimes pitilessly described – – “the abortion pill.” In such a case, the elimination of a possible fetus in the first stages of cell division is possible without any sentiment of “killing a baby.” The only point of view that can call this event the death of a human infant is the religious point of view, which is not allowed as a legal determinant to a legal course of action. In such a case, the law is satisfied and ethics are satisfied. Is morality satisfied? That is in each human heart and not in governmental action.
But what about the girl or the woman who “wants” a “late term” or “partial-birth abortion?” That is the clear obvious killing of a fully viable human infant…or is it? If it is not the obvious killing of an about to be born child, what is it? Opposition begs under what circumstance could that be legal or ethical or moral in any context, religious, spiritual, or humanistic? It turns out there are such circumstances.
From the 2007 UN Report on Maternal Mortality:
Full disclosure: whoever did the rest of the report, this part of the report was prepared and submitted and defended by Irish doctors who, we probably ought to assume, are Roman Catholic. They are doctors and they did this procedure in Ireland legally.
“WHAT HAVE THE EXPERTS SAID?
“Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are the doctors who care for pregnant women.
“They’ve repeatedly said that abortion is NOT necessary to save the life of a mother.
“They’ve also stated that while treating cancer or other conditions may cause the unintentional death of a baby, that’s clearly not the same thing as an abortion, as every reasonable attempt will also be made to save the baby.
“Dr. Sam Coulter Smith, Master of the Rotunda Maternity Hospital, explained to an Oireachtas Committee hearing: ‘When we are talking about saving mothers’ lives, we should not use the terms ‘abortion’ and ‘saving mothers’ lives’ in the same sentence, full stop. It is a dreadful reflection on anyone who would actually do that. This is about saving mothers’ lives, preserving dignity and not stigmatising anybody. These are wanted pregnancies, loved pregnancies, and intervention has to be made to save the mother’s life. To call it an abortion is wrong.’
“Here’s what Professor John Bonnar, the then Chairman of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, testified before a(nother) high-powered Oireachtas Committee (meeting):
‘It would never cross an obstetrician’s mind that intervening in a case of pre-eclampsia, cancer of the cervix or ectopic pregnancy is abortion.
‘They are not abortion as far as the professional is concerned, these are medical treatments that are essential to save the life of the mother.’
“Professor Bonnar also told the Committee that
‘95% of members of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists surveyed said that they could preserve mother’s lives and health without abortion (italics mine).’
“…and the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists also submitted that:
‘We consider that there is a fundamental difference between abortion carried out with the intention of taking the life of the baby, for example for social reasons, and the unavoidable death of the baby resulting from essential treatment to protect the life of the mother.’
“Just this year, on September 8th 2012, experts in maternal healthcare met in Dublin at an International Symposium on Maternal Health. A Select Panel at the Symposium issued the Dublin Declaration which reads:
‘As experienced practitioners and researchers in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion – the purposeful destruction of the unborn in the termination of pregnancy – is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.
‘We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatments result in the loss of life of her unborn child.
‘We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to a pregnant woman’
“That Symposium also heard from a world-renowned cancer specialist, Dr Frédéric Amant, who has been described by the Lancet as ‘leading the agenda on cancer in pregnancy’ for his work on the safe delivery of chemo/radiotherapy during pregnancy. He confirmed that:
‘In the case of cancer complicating pregnancy, termination of pregnancy does not improve maternal prognosis.’
“Professor Eamon O’Dwyer also addressed the Symposium saying:
‘During my 35 years as Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at University College Galway, and Director of the Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology I delivered – with these hands – over 9000 children in Galway.
‘From my experience, I believe I am entitled to say that there are no circumstances where the life of the mother may only be saved through the deliberate, intentional destruction of her unborn child in the womb.
‘At the same time, I fully support the statement from the Medical Council – of which I was a founding member – which said that to withhold necessary treatment from a woman because of pregnancy is unethical as well as professional misconduct, even though such treatment might lead to the death of her unborn child.’
“The experts have already spoken. It’s time for zero tolerance on misinforming women. The truth is that abortion is NOT needed to save the life of a mother (me: even though sometimes (many times?) this late term or partial birth NOT abortion to save the mother does result in the inadvertent death of the child).”
That’s it, then. So-called and mis-called “partial birth” and other “late term abortions” are attempts to save mothers from pre-eclampsia, ectopic pregnancy, and cervical cancer. Doctors are, by their own professional standards, ethically and morally bound to try to save both mother and child with mother being the higher priority. These Irish doctors insist they save mother and child much of the time.
Other sources say that these so-called later term or partial birth abortions constitute one percent of all abortions in the U.S.
I can find no information about women or girls ready to normally deliver a normal baby who suddenly, hysterically, change their minds and demand a true partial birth or late term abortion.
What other medically indicated reasons are there for an abortion to save the life of the mother?
This article from LifeNews.com says:
“A more contemporary quote comes from a practicing abortionist, Dr. Don Sloan. When Sloan wrote his book “Choice: A Doctor’s Experience with the Abortion Dilemma” in 2002, he had already performed over 20,000 abortions. He said:
‘If a woman with a serious illness- heart disease, say, or diabetes- gets pregnant, the abortion procedure may be as dangerous for her as going through pregnancy … with diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, even breast cancer, the chance that pregnancy will make the disease worse is no greater that the chance that the disease will either stay the same or improve. And medical technology has advanced to a point where even women with diabetes and kidney disease can be seen through a pregnancy safely by a doctor who knows what they are doing. We’ve come a long way since my mother’s time….The idea of abortion to save the mothers’ life is something that people cling to because it sounds noble and pure- but medically speaking, it probably doesn’t exist. It’s a real stretch of our thinking.’
“Dr. Sloan is of the opinion that abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life at any time in pregnancy. He believes that “life of the mother” argument is a smoke screen, a useful argument, but not based on fact. It is true that in some cases, pregnancy can complicate illness, but even this abortion provider admits that in most cases, a competent doctor can see a woman through even the most difficult pregnancy.”
But here is this from FactCheck.org, a Project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
“Illinois Republican Rep. Joe Walsh falsely claimed that there wasn’t “one instance” where an abortion would be necessary to save the mother’s life. But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said that ‘more than 600 women die each year due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth, and more would die if they didn’t have access to abortion.’ After that, Walsh quickly backed down.
“Walsh made his controversial comments after an Oct. 18 debate with Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth. Walsh said that with “modern technology and science, ‘there wasn’t ‘one instance’ where an abortion would be necessary to save the mother’s life.’ When a reporter asked him to clarify that he was saying it was never medically necessary to perform an abortion to save the life of the mother, Walsh replied, ‘Absolutely.’
“The ACOG issued a statement the next day in response to Walsh’s comments:
‘ACOG, Oct. 19: Contrary to the inaccurate statements made yesterday by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), abortions are necessary in a number of circumstances to save the life of a woman or to preserve her health. Unfortunately, pregnancy is not a risk-free life event, particularly for many women with chronic medical conditions. Despite all of our medical advances, more than 600 women die each year from pregnancy and childbirth-related reasons right here in the US. In fact, many more women would die each year if they did not have access to abortion to protect their health or to save their lives.’
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System reported a higher number for pregnancy-related deaths for 2006-2007, the most recent statistics. It found that 1,294 deaths that occurred within a year of pregnancy termination were pregnancy-related. Why did these women die? There were several causes, including cardiovascular disease, hemorrhage, hypertension, infections and embolisms. A small percentage — 0.6 percent — died from complications related to anesthesia. And 5.6 percent died from unknown causes. That doesn’t mean that an abortion would have saved the life of the mother in those cases, but it does indicate that “modern technology and science” have not made it so women no longer risk death from pregnancy.”
So, say a Progress Party takes a position, which makes a policy, which makes a law that says that doctors can do whatever is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman as long as they also do whatever they can (that is the fraught word) to save the life of said woman’s late term unborn child. Such a law demands that the conduct of medical practice must be monitored by the only government entity who could ever enforce such a law and that is the Surgeon General of the United States. The Surgeon General shall be empowered to call upon the resources of the American Medical Association to assist in the monitoring of medical conduct (note: the AMA does that anyway).
This Progress Party would permit medical treatment for the ills of a pregnant woman that, despite best medical efforts, may result in the death of her child.
OTHER MEDICAL REASONS FOR ABORTION.
Feminist leaders and others (including medical) abortion advocates have long struggled for acceptance of legal abortion in cases of rape, incest (which may be incestuous rape), and very young females. What is “very young ?” Is it not yet the age of majority (18)? There are “women” who are married mothers and out of their parents’ home working adults at age 18. Ancillary question: did we err reducing the age of majority from 21 to 18? All medical and even actuarial professionals agree that 21 is the true age of maturity and majority. What age is too young to have to have a child? 17? 16? 15? 14? Even 13? With our oversexualized society and onset of puberty at ever lowering ages, finding the correct number is not easy. We say that a girl under 18 who has consensual sex is not responsible and can charge statutory rape. So, does that put the age for allowable abortion because of youth at age 18 or do we change the statute defining statutory rape? These are the difficult questions spinning around this most primal point.
A viable Progress Party should push the envelope to find the sometimes off center Golden Mean, but conclude that the Federal Government will enable a law that abortion is legal and must be safe by medical standards for any female not yet 18, whether there is rape and/or incest or not. Whether there is to be a criminal charge of statutory rape or not depends on circumstances. By definition, an underage person is in the care of his or her parents or next of kin or appointed legal guardian. Such a responsible “adult” has authority over what the “child” does in any circumstance, certainly to include this one.
In theory, before an underage female can have a safe, legal abortion, she must inform her parental authority or guardian. This parental authority is empowered to counsel and seek counsel for the pregnant girl, and careful wise counsel COULD include all her options other than abortion, many hope.
In our sometimes dark world, what if this parental authority actually raped or seduced the girl? What if the girl seduced the parental authority (rare cases albeit)? What if the girl became pregnant by a foster parent? There are all kinds of crushing circumstances not few in numbers. Avoid the inaccurate danger of assigning this “nasty, brutish” position in life to any given race or class or community and focus on each underage girl involved. In any of these cases with a minor, the pregnant girl should be safer in the care of the state until the matter goes automatically before a judge in family court who will have jurisdiction over the final course of action and will prefer ancillary charges like rape, assault, etc.
Remember always, the underage female now officially a girl, has – yes – the right to choose to have an abortion but also the right to choose not to have an abortion. Is it really an unthinkable compromise to encourage if not require the would be mother to hear a doctor’s advice (about medical consequences to having an abortion), the church’s advice if she has a church and it’s important to her (also her decision and nobody else’s), parents’ advice, teachers’ advice, social workers’ advice as well as at least hear the position of the father of the child (if he is available to be accountable). Then, with all of this education about options for a better understanding about the choice, considering this matter of life and death, she must choose. Education about all options intended not as judgment, but enlightenment about ALL options and what each can entail in detail, including abortion.
I well remember being the president of a special court martial (like the jury foreman). The court, led by me, discussed the evidence and decided that the accused was guilty as charged. I had to stand up. The accused stood up (we all liked him. He was a good marine and a Vietnam veteran, but he did a bad thing). I looked him right in the eye and…I almost couldn’t speak. I gathered myself together and pronounced this good guy that I worked with every day guilty as charged.
I wasn’t a judge in a capital case (I can barely imagine what that must be like), but I began to understand what it is to judge. Remember John Stuart Mill, author of On Liberty and one of the founding fathers of the English Liberal Party? In his seminal work, Mill said, “every right has a concomitant duty.” The consequences of not having an abortion are, of course, momentous. That is why we are having this national discussion. What the Federal Government should do for the girl under 18 who decides that as a healthy mother carrying a healthy child she will not have an abortion, is the inevitable next discussion.
This awkward, difficult, painful for everybody Gordian Knot can only be cut by the application of sufficient resources (i.e. money and lots of it). How would we increase funding, since family court and state social services would need to increase greatly and have a better presence in every middle and high school in the land, including the remote parts of it, which is a daunting but worthy goal.
“Choose you this day whom you will serve…” What about the abortions that are performed on healthy adult women with healthy unborn children, not just 18 and over, but 28, 38, 48 and over? These women maintain the right to choose, but with choice comes accountability, right? Human females (in the United States for this discussion) have sexual intercourse, become pregnant, have children or abort children at every age from puberty onward, in every imaginable circumstance. They live, have sex, protected or otherwise, by their will or otherwise, consciously aware of consequences of actions or not, married or not, in control of their circumstances or abused and not. This issue is a beast for profound reasons.
American girls and women have been having abortions and having children “out of wedlock” since white people first came to America. One would struggle to find much if any record of native people having abortions…miscarriages yes, but abortions no. Why would they when they are trying to preserve their race? I have heard only a few stories about premarital or extramarital sex among the Native American peoples. Why bring up the Native Americans? I do because their situation is mirrored in today’s “third world” where people tend not to think like the insensitive modern society does, about birth control and certainly not about abortion. I have no vision of abortion stat’s or opinions in the Third World. Whatever opinion we may form of that matter, we are bound by reality to accept that our modern situation is removed from the more primal and natural world. These are the facts. Abortion is, I submit, a thing predominantly of the advanced world, not developing world.
There was no such thing as sociology nor were there sociological studies or metrics in the 18th century. As the 19th century advanced from romanticism to realism, all the social sciences and social studies developed the concept of metrics, studies, and epidemiology. It was only in our realistic modern world in the advanced west that we began accepting scientific statements about patient outcomes when pregnant women did not get abortions. It was only in this twentieth century world of social and medical science working together that we were forced to deal with patient outcomes when there was no recourse to abortion be those outcomes physical, mental, psychological, emotional, moral, and even spiritual. Through crusading journalists, politicians, and medical leaders, we were forced to learn all about the consequences of underground illegal abortions. Government had to deal with the notion that society knew about and cared about single women and girls being pregnant. In this situation, government and society as a whole increasingly felt that it had to help pregnant, single women and girls with their pain and suffering, fear and rejection. The federal government and some states began to grapple with the constitutional implications of keeping abortion illegal or making abortion legal.
So, what might be the plank of a Progress Party Platform that inspires Progress Party sponsored legislation that deals with abortion and the adult woman? We have striven to be as moral, ethical, and lawful as we can in the matters of the ill woman whose illness can only be treated in a way that will endanger (but not disregard) her child. We have discussed the underage female.
I believe that we have hit upon the essence of the best possible solution (the golden mean) already. What we must do now is flesh out the legal concept in the law with enabling programs that come from rules, tests, and regulations that have the force of law. Neither side will give up their deep convictions but the best case scenario may require compromise from both sides, so the extremists’ fight ongoing doesn’t result in further extreme results, like clinic bombing. Instead, progress by education so the powerful right to choose is held accountable by nurturing counsel about all, not fear from either side.
Like the constitutionalists in the Philadelphia tavern, I can see left liberal dem’s and radical feminists (also left) trying to construct an abortion position that would “fly.” This hard bitten, tactical maneuvering is beyond the ardent crusaders’ passionate pronouncements and saved lives. So, the “PR” back room boys and girls would spin it in a way that could get by the conservative opposition. “Okay, what do we have? A need? A value? No. This is a right. Nobody can be against a right, right? A right to what though? A right to have an abortion? No, that won’t work. A right to be free is better. But free of what? Free of having a baby? No, that won’t fly. It must be the right to choose. Beautiful, but a right to choose what? A woman’s right to choose, but choose what. Dare we say a woman has special rights? Reproductive rights! We’re for a woman’s right to choose in accordance with her reproductive rights.” From that passionate, effective positioning came Roe v. Wade, in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a right of privacy existed and gave a woman the right to confer with a doctor in confidence and work out with that doctor her choice to have an abortion legally.
Is this moral? As we have seen above, it may be, some circumstances none could argue against with honor. Is it ethical? Hard to demonstrate that. Is it legal (constitutional)? Yes, because SCOTUS said it was. Robert Bork disagreed, saying our Constitution does not have within it that kind of right of privacy.
So how do the proper PR journalists for their clients the Christians and religious people generally as well as the principled, humanist conservatives tell the story for the other, that is, right (no archness intended, just remarking on the political spectrum) side? They consider their position more logical and humane. They say, “Nobody has the right to choose to kill somebody. I can’t be happy unless you are dead? That’s the excuse of every murderer since Cain. Nobody has the right to choose to kill somebody e-x-c-e-p-t in a certain set of circumstances carefully defined over many ages in accordance with a vast amount of experience.” The main circumstance that applies here is the law of the use of deadly force in self-defense or the defense of another. You can see how the mother and the doctor could fit in here, but how about the defenseless baby?
See the soldier in what international law and church law have called “the just war” where you can look God right in the eye and God can look you right in the eye and conclude that, if you do not participate in this war to the point of fighting, killing, and, maybe, dying, innocent people, indeed innocent civilizations will be (as the Native Americans say) rubbed out. This is the Law of Land War and Rules of Engagement. This position would also point out that, if there is no law enforcement, there is no community and no safety to live. In Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes and in On Liberty by John Stuart Mill, these utopia makers say that there must be delegation of labor. Society must have soldiers and police who are professional volunteers or strong amateurs (conscripts) who are willing to take their turn. Think Cheyenne Dog Soldiers and Lakota Shirt Wearers. Think the well regulated militia who were law enforcement as well as soldiers. Alas, in the south, the law enforcement function of the well regulated militia was frequently “slave cotching.”
The abortion advocate might say to the conservative with title of “pro-life” that, if we justify killing and dying in war to save whole communities, including killing whole communities? In the Second World War, the point was made that, to save the Jews, the countries uniting to resist, including our own, had to kill Germans. We could not destroy the Nazi regime and end the Holocaust without destroying the German will to resist and the ability of Germany to go on as normal economically, industrially, and militarily. Thus, we “terror bombed” and “carpet bombed” German cities and killed hundreds of thousands of German men, women, and children to save the Jews and many other victims of the German warpath. The Americans attempted to keep their hands clean by saying they were precision bombing German war production and military facilities, but that was not accurate. Next came firebombing Japanese cities and the people in them, which was presumed by the powerful as necessary to get the Japanese to surrender without an invasion of Japan. It didn’t work. They wouldn’t surrender easily. Powerful forces ensued. Our world spins endlessly, killing and dying. In abortion, as in war, as in anything involving death, we innately seek justification that allows us to feel like good people in a bad situation.
Progress is hard, but progress is good. A Progress Party won’t have primaries, not in this generation anyway. It would feel abrupt, scary, and it would not always ‘meet in the middle’ if bold were needed.
It’s terrifying to so many, that Roe v. Wade be messed with, and the lack of trust is understandable after a painful history, but could an uncomfortable golden mean mean progress? It’s a legal decision that functions as a law which has so long danced the line of becoming a “repealed law” to be replaced with provisions which at least encourage options like adoption as equally as the option of abortion which would still be protected even if more extensive education is instilled, satisfying either side with validation of each position for best possible law for dealing with a matter so controversial, rather than continually spinning in place at an impasse – always fearing ‘the other side’ at every turn.
We have seen that Roe v. Wade addressed, however imperfectly and however dismissively toward the life of the unborn child, the tragedy of a woman finding that she was facing what appeared to be a tragic end to her life plans and life choices. This awful predicament could destroy her relationships and future hopes, she might well believe. Roe v. Wade empowered her and tried to make everybody leave women alone as they were supported through the abortion process. However, there was no federal law that could prevent states from making state laws that “forced women to understand” they were working with doctors to kill their unborn children. They were enraged and martyred, but some states legislated that pregnant women had to look at the pictures and they had to listen to the heartbeats. If they were teen victims of rape (of whatever legal class), incest, or any other kind of victimization and abuse, states tended to lay off even if they were opposed in principle to all abortions.
A new law would need to take a positive, proactive approach. It would need to acknowledge the needs of the 550,000 women having abortions every year and the needs of their 550,000 aborted children. We know what the new Progress law says about pregnant women with life threatening diseases and pregnant teens. The new law also points out to the 550,000 women that there are 550,000 childless and permanently infertile (they think) married couples that want to adopt those children at birth. Remember, many teens, rape victims, and those pregnant by a family member can choose and do choose to have their babies. Pro choice is still a choice. Women who choose that are not wrong, right?
Under a new law, how might we fund and employ properly a nurturing, not threatening or judgmental, but nurturing education program informing clinically of all options from abortions to adoiptions. One where the federal government will explain to each pregnant woman who, however decisively or indecisively, wants an abortion that the federal government will pay all the costs of pre-natal care, labor and delivery, and adoption, if the woman chooses to have and give up her baby at birth for adoption by a couple she will have met and, hopefully, bonded with. This program would also have to protect women against the unfair pressure of employers, families, churches, and communities to the greatest extent possible and help explain to the circle of influence around each woman what happened and why. They will reinforce the value of each of these women, including in her own eyes. Both an abortion and adoption process could be heartbreaking for her without being protected by law and access to information before and after, which is why many hang desperately onto Roe v. Wade – because they understandably fear the replacement failing to protect anyone and just trigger a worse embedded war.
Who will become the corps of caring counselors that guide each woman through the educational process of what happens with an abortion and what happens with an adoption? How will that be made a reality and evolve to include all women, even those in less accessible, remote areas, without any resources? Many already work hard at this mission as a labor of love, I bet it could be expanded upon.
Even with a progresive law change it would remain that if a woman insists on having an abortion, no one can make her stay pregnant and she must have access to safe care. It would be impossible to prevent her getting an illegal abortion. She could easily end up dead along with her child. Principle v. Reality on that one, we’ve learned at great cost. Similarly, rounding up all illegal immigrants and deporting them might be technically satisfying some matter of principle, but it is unimaginably cruel and, ultimately, impossible to do. The final progressive step may need to be a strict enforcement that federal aid not be given to abortion. Some states would help and some states would not. No states would be forced. As is currently the case, most abortions are not funded federally. It is inaccurate spinning to say otherwise. A strict enforcement of this would undermine those whining that the government is paying for it. No fed funding going toward actual abortion procedure itself is already the case within many organizations under fire, who receive federal funding but it’s used up toward the majority of their work which is not abortion. They claim not to use any federal funds for abortions.
Trying to shut down healthcare givers will not hault abortion (a tiny portion of their work) but it will hault the only healthcare available for many as we shake out that also difficult divide over affordable healthcare. Men and women alike could stand to be martyred without access to cancer screenings, unplanned pregnancy would spike from lack of access to birth control and counseling about it. In other words, don’t strike down the entire institution but define the line in the sand with regard to federal aid. This is an obstacle the many feminists and humanists have been battling, and there are many organizations including future ones that will fight on without federal funding, and without depending on state funding which may or may not come. As all of these currents become clear and positions shake out through careful compromise by both sides, a Progress Party would hope that for the risk taken by either side, the whole tone of the nation will lift. This may be the golden mean in a leaden quandary. Maintain your right to choose, but make an educated choice.
LEFT: Rally to repeal of anti-abortion laws, 1971 RIGHT: Pro-Lifers begin MARCH FOR LIFE, 1974
Birth control is a choice! Chastity is a choice! If we have the capability of space travel we have the capability of envisioning and enacting a system of medical professionals and counselors to fan out across the land. Let them counsel prevention not only of teen pregnancy, but the psychophysical harm done by teen sexual activity. Every middle and high school should have sex education taught by nurses and doctors who are not afraid to explain the importance of sex and the criticality of the right sexual relationship with the right commitment. There’s even a PC social science term for it: Psychosexual well being or a healthy psychosexuality. Teaching sexuality is a socially and scientifically valid, much needed class, though often mistaken as sermon or conversely sex encouraging. Couldn’t we progress with more education and less fear?
HOMOSEXUALITY AND HOMOPHOBIA.
After abortion, homosexuality should be quite simple to talk about. It’s the fear and not talking about it that harm our future.
Says one side to the other, homosexuality is unnatural and aberrant. So is deafness. So is blindness. Many homosexual people engage in disgusting, perverted, wicked depravity. So do many heterosexual people. Many heterosexual people are romantic and warm and gracious with great character and personalities. So are many homosexual people. Remember Plato? The great philosopher? Plato was gay. When you were in high school, did you ever tell someone that a relationship was “strictly platonic?” Who captured Heavenly Father and Adam and the creation of mankind better than any other artist? Michelangelo. Michelangelo was gay or maybe bi. He seemed to want to relate to women, but never could manage it. Walt Whitman, major American poet and huge transitional figure in the sweep from romanticism to realism, who wrote poems like “O Hymen! Hymenee!” and poems in praise of Abraham Lincoln like “When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” was gay.
Do you know the story of the Prussian army officer who came to America to help General Washington train the Continental Army at Valley Forge? He told Washington and everybody in America that he was a Prussian baron and a general in the army of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. What he didn’t tell anybody was that he was really just a captain and not a nobleman, no baron. He also didn’t tell the Americans that he had been kicked out of the Prussian Army on account of being a homosexual. The American officers and soldiers did not know, but Washington, the master of intelligence, did know. Washington didn’t ask this Captain Steuben (not General Baron Von Steuben) and Steuben did not tell anyone about his situation. He stayed “in the closet” that is to say, “in the tent.” He had a male manservant who did draw suspicion and talk, but by focusing on Steuben’s talents and contribution, Washington squelched that talk. Washington made “Von” Steuben an American major general and Inspector General of the Continental Army. This German officer took those American soldiers out in the snow and taught them the school of the soldier and infantry combat. In the Spring, he was one of Washington’s commanders at the great Battle of Monmouth (in New Jersey) and he was gay.
There are very few people in America today who want homosexuality itself to be considered a crime and homosexuals as individuals to be taken as a threat to social order and morality. On the other hand, there are many American people who are repulsed by homosexuality and do not want any homosexual contact or influence to harm youth, families, or social institutions. That attitude may not specify persecution (“bullying”), discrimination, or segregation, but all those things have resulted from this fear of homosexuality… “homophobia.”
WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH PROTESTS FUNERAL OF GAY VICTIMS IN ORLANDO
There is another large part of the millennial American population that is unthreatened by homosexuality and enjoys good relations with those homosexual people who have a positive, constructive, appealing attitude and who showcase talents and gifts that seem to be aspects of the homosexual personality. We can make fun of these things or we can have fun with these things, but, like Washington and Steuben, we can unite in the creative work of building a society that everybody agrees is beautiful and good.
PRO EQUALITY RALLY CELEBRATES FAILURE OF PROP 8 TO PASS IN CALIFORNIA
The problem comes when leaders and activists in the millennial movement toward a powerful, organized, politicized, LGBTQI community (a common word become a millennial PC buzz word) runs up against a general society (conservative, religious, or simply traditionally humanist) that will not cave and say there is nothing wrong with or even unnatural about homosexuality. The American community generally will not let the LGBTQI community say that their sexual life is perfectly natural and the new normal. It’s just a preference, a choice or an alternative way of being. It’s an inherited set of traits that confers gifts and is a positive good. If it is good, then it is worth selling other people on. It is worth proselytizing for. It is worth recruiting people into, or so feel the fearful. Some scared parents of America cannot stand to have their children persuaded, seduced, and pied piper’ed into that life. They are horrified or at least troubled when any of their children discover that they are, in fact, homosexual and don’t want their kids welcomed and applauded for entry into that life. When LGBTQI or just left liberal dem teachers do that, American parents revolt. “The Democrats used to be the party of the workingman.” A left? Wait. Right? activist said. “Now, all they want to talk about is gays and transgenders. What about jobs?”
What is the right correct thing to do? Under a Progress Party, how might the government better make sure that no harm is done to individuals for being other than straight. Assault, to include sexual assault, cannot keep happening. Rape is a crime second only to homicide in severity. Some argue that this destruction of a life is as great as the actual destruction of life. There are as many gradations of rape and sexual assault as there are gradations in homicide. We have millennia of legal experience for how to deal with these criminal offenses. What we do not have millennia of experience in is rape, sexual assault, other assault, torture murder, beating, bullying, threatening, and the new cyber bullying and social media offenses (social media? S and M?) of homosexuals by heterosexuals, heterosexuals by homosexuals, homosexuals by homosexuals, and of course, heterosexuals by heterosexuals. The law as it applies to all is clear. What law enforcement and the judicial system are supposed to do is also clear. They are supposed to protect all people equally in looking out for, punishing and preventing offenses. They must enforce the law and deal appropriately with offenders convicted through a proper trial.
American law enforcement and the American judicial system are in a terrible struggle with themselves, with us, and with all our governing principles on account of millennial media revealing everything they do, do wrong, fail to do, and everything that is done to them, all on our individual cameras and vlogs and blogs and coverage of every minute of every day (don forget Andy Warhol’s prediction of media fame via voyeurism). Now added to the old conundra of race, gender, ethnicity, and class is this new conundrum of sexual identity. As it is with the cops and the courts, so it is with schools, military, churches, and families.
No excuses, though! Instead of empty protest, let us pour energy into holding government accountable while we can and continue to HAVE high hopes and enormous expectations of all our institutions concerning every public issue be it criminal, civil, political, social or sexual because this new millennium shows us the direct comparison between what we see, what we say, and what we do. That’s new.
Most social matters that intersect with legal matters do so at the state level. A true Progress Party would test social boundaries but be attractive to both sides (interestingly enough). It would need to seem a national political party, successful at all levels of government or none, successful in all branches of government or none, successful in all tasks of government or none.
All individuals are treated the same in accordance with the law. No homosexual individual is forced to desist from homosexual appearance or behavior that does not physically impact the rights and privileges of any other individual in public. The “lesbian,” “gay,” “transgender,” “bisexual (what would be bisexual appearance, I wonder?),” “intersex (what is that?),” and “(used to be) queer or (now) questioning” community or communities is/are striving for social and political legitimacy as a doctrine or a program or a position. The Progress Party proposes to let them advance themselves as they wish without suppressing anybody else. In the public domain, the task is easier than in the private domain.
On private property or in private business, the owner has a right to specify behavior acceptable and unacceptable. The Progress Party notes the legal doctrine of “discrimination in a permissible category.” So, by current court decisions/laws, a wedding cake baker must sell a same sex wedding cake to a same sex couple, despite the fact that this is repulsive to the baker. Isn’t not selling cakes and going out of business more repulsive to a business owner? An article in the Los Angeles Times by Michael McGough says,
“…the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church …insist on a distinction between sexual orientation and sexual activity (to include) participation in a same-sex marriage.
“And here’s another question raised by David French in the National Review: If discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is interpreted in broad terms, would a similarly broad definition of racial discrimination require a baker to provide a Confederate-flag cake for a white supremacist group lest he be accused of bias against whites? Phillips (the baker in the ‘no cake for you’ case) said he also objected to baking cakes that incorporate racist symbols. So he was selective about his discrimination but guilty.
How do we treat the baker (private provider of goods and services) and the gay customer (purchaser of private goods and services) the same? Perhaps the answer lies in a modification of the old claim that, “we reserve the right to refuse service to anybody.” That was always a cover for racial and other discrimination, but, if we examine the southern lunch counters and the southern lunch counter sit-ins, we see that the civil rights organizations made sure that, in dress, grooming, and behavior, there was nothing objectionable about the sit-in kids. They didn’t do anything to or require anything of the white people in the lunch counter. They didn’t demand that the lunch counter staff or the other (white) customers do anything for them that made the white people publicly declare – by word or behavior – that the black kids in all their audacious brave blackness were good or bad.
Some would argue that the wedding cake affair was different for that this gay couple was trying to force the baker to condone their marriage, or they might assume that just because it was a gay wedding cake it would look like a pride parade float. If and only if this gay couple were in fact choosing and cornering this baker to make a point or were demanding a flamboyantly “gay cake” for the fun of calling him out and forcing him into the spotlight (which only they could know) then that is a tacky, targeted way of making your statement and there is a big difference between that and people who are behaving and living respectfully of others and simply want somebody to do a service for them that they do for everybody else, whether it be baking a cake or serving them at a lunch counter. They don’t accomplish unity or equality by targeting the local Christian baker and trying to force him into saying gay marriage is okay, if they were. However, if all they did was unknowingly walk in and order a cake that had so much as a rainbow or two grooms on it and had no idea such a request would be so controversial, then it was in fact them just wanting the same service as any customer.
The very left liberal dem federal judiciary we have now, to include the post Scalia SCOTUS, simply say you have to treat homosexuality in all its forms and behaviors and appearances (to include homosexual marriage) as a status equal in normality and quality with any other status. Large numbers of people in a majority of the states agree with that, maybe not in principle but in acceptance. It appears to me that large populations are saying something like, “A man can’t really marry a man and a woman can’t really marry a woman, but, if they want to, why not let them? Where’s the harm?” Where is the harm in redefining marriage that is a physiological aspect of the human condition to align with a socio political doctrine?
There is an answer to that question based on the old Hans Christian Andersen story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” You know the story. Here is the Wikipedia precis.
“A vain Emperor who cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two weavers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid.” The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothes themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. Finally, the weavers report that the suit is finished. They mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor suspects the assertion is true, but continues the procession.”
When we are forced to say something is true when it is manifestly untrue, we distort all our judgements about life to a point that we can’t judge correctly how to live our lives. Remember Animal Farm? This puts us in that extreme radical left or right end of the spectrum that ends in socio-political if not actual civil war (like the failed “Never Trump!” movement)
Let people live the way they want to live as long as that doesn’t hurt any other people (including unborn people), but also in keeping with rights let go of trying to force anybody to say that they like or even accept your way when they don’t. Let the people keep their collective, metaphorical mouth shut.
In the armed forces, we used to have a thing called “don’t ask; don’t tell.” Don’t ask me if I am a homosexual. Don’t ask us if we are homosexuals. Don’t ask me if she is a homosexual. Don’t ask anybody what they think of homosexuality. Don’t ask the government to take a position on homosexuality (not human rights or civil rights…gay rights [the expression itself is a position]). Don’t tell me that you are a homosexual. Don’t tell the others that I am a homosexual. Don’t tell anyone or everyone what they must say and think about homosexuality. Don’t make any institution take any position on homosexuality. Don’t harass (bully, threaten, conspire against, eject, fire, excommunicate or BEAT TO DEATH a gay fellow serviceperson) because they are homosexual or heterosexual. What? Heterosexuals never get conspired about and threatened and ejected by homosexuals! Oh yes they do. Don’t discriminate. Don’t choose someone for something or prevent someone getting something or fire somebody from some position because they are homosexual or heterosexual. Treat them as equals.
Some thought it was a beautifully subtle solution to an insoluble conundrum throughout our society. Others yearned for a time when disclosing or not hiding who they were wouldn’t damn their military career or endanger their person. Did ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ enable the fear which is root to the hate tree?
The wedding cake baker gets to believe but not say unasked that same sex marriage is an abomination. Same sex couples get to believe and say among themselves but not to the world generally that the baker is a bigoted, hateful homophobe. The black kids get to sit in the lunch counter and order anything on the menu and dare the white people to throw them out, but they don’t get to make the lunch counter prepare for them and serve them soul food, just the menu. Again, it’s simple, just equal treatment.
So, does the baker have to bake the gay couple a cake or what? If the baker is going to take a stand against baking a gay wedding cake, instead of another protest rally inflaming the fight, couldn’t the baker recommend another wedding cake baker and refer gay customers instead of refuse them to make their prejudice point? As ridiculous as that may seem to some, it may be better than protests over cake that can be found quickly elsewhere. Let the foolish baker refusing business go out of business.
So, an openly homosexual person who engages in homosexual sexual activity and who promotes the homosexual life cannot be a faculty member at Brigham Young University or Notre Dame University. Hopefully, a new Progress Party tax law would end federal grants to states for such control over these things. States get all their money for all purposes whatsoever right up front from the overall tax law. Thus, state supported institutions will, in this matter, do as they please…state by state as long as there is no asking, no telling, no harassing, and no discriminating by anyone against anyone. It’s far from perfect, but Progress can come with a Progress Party that does not favor either, simply seeks the best case scenario yet. The “homosexual agenda” would not be advanced by government nor the heterosexuals continually favored.
A successful progress party would strive toward ensuring each teacher or professor is hired on account of his or her qualifications and record of achievement. Nobody is hired or fired for any reason relating to sexual identity, only sexual activity. Teachers will be fired for promoting, advancing, and recruiting into a homo (or any) sexual life, aside from basic sex education. Nobody helps anybody come out. Nobody forces anybody into a deprogramming treatment. Truly professional medical help and counseling is offered to and urged upon anybody having any kind of identity crisis. There are no gay clubs as high school extracurricular activities, nor those defined rudely as “straight only” which means you can still call the club the equality club and people can advocate for each other rather than more dividing and labeling. Nothing sexual is promoted as an activity. We want less sexualizing, not more, for any orientation.
As we’ve learned from the most memorable hate crime cases, all this stuff becomes a matter of life and death in many situations, but escpecially in the armed forces. Left liberal dem’s are conceptually heavily socialist, which can be a good thing in many areas of endeavor (education, gender equity, race equity, social services, etc.), but socialism as a matter of doctrine is profoundly anti-military. Another feature of modern socialism is an advancement of gender and sexual identity interests in employment opportunities. Those two socialist doctrines collided in the modern U.S. Armed Forces.
ALLEN R. SCHINDLER, PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS. US NAVY, 1969-1992 (killed for being gay)
KILLED BY HIS OWN SHIPMATES. SO BADLY BEATEN THAT EVERY ORGAN WAS DESTROYED
When women or people of color achieve great things in the armed forces, we all cheer and that’s wonderful. Despite everything that’s been done to lift an oppressive distrust off homosexual people, there is still a discomfort in the service with their achievements. That must change. Nothing, however, justifies advancing a “community’s” interests at the expense of unit organization, doctrine, training, or readiness. The tasks are many and daunting. The conditions are harsh and the standards are exacting. Everything is geared to survival and victory. Unit cohesion is everything. Respect for the chain of command is critical. The confidence of individuals, teams, and units must be unshakable. There is no place for advancing any special interest. This is not to say that any kind of discrimination or abuse to include any kind of assault, particularly sexual assault, can be tolerated in any degree – which sadly is a terrible problem our military faces. All such cruel, fearsome threats to persons must be eradicated without fear or favor. A Progress Party administration must emphasize the work of military law enforcement and court martials to investigate and prosecute all wrong doing.
WHAT OTHER THINGS DIVIDE US MOST? HOW ABOUT WAR AND TAXES AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION?
To be continued…current chapter to top (previous chapters below)
Chapter Four: The World Around a Progress Party (previous chapters below)
THE MAN IN THE ARENA
Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic” given by Theodore Roosevelt at the Sorbonne, Paris, France on 23 April, 1910
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
So spoke 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, Republican, one of the actual, real “Progressives.”
Democratic 28th President, Woodrow Wilson was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize, for his peace-making efforts, but in the beginning of 1918 the climax of the First World War was coming and President Woodrow Wilson laid out America’s purpose and program for the war and for the peace.
“…We entered this war because violations of right had occurred which touched us to the quick and made the life of our own people impossible unless they were corrected and the world secured once for all against their recurrence.
“What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world, as against force and selfish aggression.
“All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us.
“The program of the world’s peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program, as we see it, is this:
“1. Open covenants of peace must be arrived at, after which there will surely be no private international action or rulings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.
“2. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.
“3. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.
“4. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest points consistent with domestic safety.
“5. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the population concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.
“6. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy, and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.
“7. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.
“8. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.
“9. A re-adjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.
“10. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.
“11. Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.
“12. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.
“13. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.
“14. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.
“In regard to these essential rectifications of wrong and assertions of right, we feel ourselves to be intimate partners of all the governments and peoples associated together against the imperialists. We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end.
“For such arrangements and covenants we are willing to fight and to continue to fight until they are achieved; but only because we wish the right to prevail and desire a just and stable peace such as can be secured only by removing the chief provocations to war, which this program does remove.”
“We have no jealousy of German greatness, and there is nothing in this program that impairs it. We grudge her no achievement or distinction of learning or of pacific enterprise such as have made her record very bright and very enviable. We do not wish to injure her or to block in any way her legitimate influence or power. We do not wish to fight her either with arms or with hostile arrangements of trade, if she is willing to associate herself with us and the other peace-loving nations of the world in covenants of justice and law and fair dealing.
“We wish her only to accept a place of equality among the peoples of the world–the new world in which we now live–instead of a place of mastery.
“Neither do we presume to suggest to her any alteration or modification of her institutions. But it is necessary, we must frankly say, and necessary as a preliminary to any intelligent dealings with her on our part, that we should know whom her spokesmen speak for when they speak to us, whether for the Reichstag majority or for the military party and the men whose creed is imperial domination.
“We have spoken now, surely, in terms too concrete to admit of any further doubt or question. An evident principle runs through the whole program I have outlined. It is the principle of justice to all peoples and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they be strong or weak.
“Unless this principle be made its foundation, no part of the structure of international justice can stand. The people of the United States could act upon no other principle, and to the vindication of this principle they are ready to devote their lives, their honor, and everything that they possess. The moral climax of this, the culminating and final war for human liberty has come, and they are ready to put their own strength, their own highest purpose, their own integrity and devotion to the test.”
So, in the beginning of the climactic last year of the Great War, spoke Thomas Woodrow Wilson, another of the actual, real “Progressives.”
Note: when, in his Fourteen Points, Woodrow Wilson says “evacuated,” he means foreign occupiers will evacuate, that is, leave the area described.
In 1896, Williams Jenning Bryan spoke at the Democratic National Convention in the course of breaking away from the Democrats and heading for his own party. He preached against the speculators who crashed the stock market and the economy in 1893.
“…I would be presumptuous, indeed, to present myself against the distinguished gentlemen to whom you have listened if this were a mere measuring of abilities; but this is not a contest between persons. The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. I come to speak to you in defense of a cause as holy as the cause of liberty—the cause of humanity…
“…We say to you that you have made the definition of a business man too limited in its application. The man who is employed for wages is as much a business man as his employer; the attorney in a country town is as much a business man as the corporation counsel in a great metropolis; the merchant at the cross-roads store is as much a business man as the merchant of New York; the farmer who goes forth in the morning and toils all day, who begins in spring and toils all summer, and who by the application of brain and muscle to the natural resources of the country creates wealth, is as much a business man as the man who goes upon the Board of Trade and bets upon the price of grain; the miners who go down a thousand feet into the earth, or climb two thousand feet upon the cliffs, and bring forth from their hiding places the precious metals to be poured into the channels of trade are as much business men as the few financial magnates who, in a back room, corner the money of the world. We come to speak of this broader class of business men…
“…It is for these that we speak. We do not come as aggressors. Our war is not a war of conquest; we are fighting in the defense of our homes, our families, and posterity. We have petitioned, and our petitions have been scorned; we have entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded; we have begged, and they have mocked when our calamity came. We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we petition no more. We defy them!…
“…Upon which side will the Democratic Party fight; upon the side of “the idle holders of idle capital” or upon the side of “the struggling masses”? That is the question which the party must answer first, and then it must be answered by each individual hereafter. The sympathies of the Democratic Party, as shown by the platform, are on the side of the struggling masses, who have ever been the foundation of the Democratic Party…
“…There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that, if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them. You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard; we reply that the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country…
“…It is the issue of 1776 over again. Our ancestors, when but three millions in number, had the courage to declare their political independence of every other nation; shall we, their descendants, when we have grown to seventy millions, declare that we are less independent than our forefathers? No, my friends, that will never be the verdict of our people. Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they say bimetallism is good, but that we cannot have it until other nations help us, we reply that, instead of having a gold standard because England has, we will restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States has it. If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we will fight them to the uttermost…
“…Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the laboring interests, and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: “You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”
So spoke William Jennings Bryan, another great and true, actual “Progressive.”
President Theodore Roosevelt broke a strike because, he said, the strike would freeze rail transportation. On the other hand, he was also “the trust buster” with his Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
Woodrow Wilson, despite his Nobel accolades for progressiveness, showed his deep scars when he “Jim Crow’ed” the Federal Government, undoing the progress accomplished by Reconstruction. Clearly his nonintellectual animus had something to do with the traumatic experience of the eight year old boy, “Tommy” Wilson, who was hustled into the woods by the family slaves and protected from the advancing Yankees under Phil Sheridan as they burned his and every other home in the Shenandoah Valley. As President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson was part of an “intellectual” and “academic” movement that said black workers were less efficient and less productive and, therefore, should be segregated from white workers doing the same job. He also resisted giving women the vote because, he said, the issue was a distraction at the height of the First World War. When his daughter became a suffragette, he got involved. He finally got the 19th Amendment passed in 1919.
Have you ever seen the Spencer Tracy, Frederic March film version of the play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, Inherit the Wind? Gene Kelly is also in it in a rare dramatic role. The play and film are a (not very) fictionalized version of the real Scopes “monkey” trial where secular humanist journalist, Clarence Darrow, and Christian fundamentalist lay preacher and has been politician, William Jennings Bryan, went at it hammer and tongs over a Tennessee law that made it a crime to teach evolution. Bryan was the prosecutor who tried to put teacher Johnny Scopes in jail and Clarence Darrow defended. The young teacher was convicted but the conviction was later set aside and, over some more time, the law was repealed.
Roosevelt (both Teddy and Franklin), Wilson, Bryan, Kennedy, LBJ, even the strange, tormented Richard Nixon, had great achievements and principles, the value of which we will miss out on if we are fastened upon their hypocrisies and dark contradictions. That itself is a bedrock principle of true Progressivism.
So now, as they did, we begin to pull together all the stories so far in Twilight’s Last Gleaming into plans for action. A Progress Party will fall off the right road of “correct principles” if the Party doesn’t have the right framework. Progress Party people must be framers of their set up just as we speak of the framers of the Constitution. We need one last Greek philosopher.
Aristotle and the Golden Mean
Plato was the student of Socrates. Aristotle was the student of Plato. Alexander the Great was the student of Aristotle. Alexander set out to spread the “Greek Way” that Aristotle taught him was superior to all other ways throughout what we call the Middle East, Southwest and South Asia. He called it the Persian Empire and the Egyptian Empire. One of the first things he did in “Asia Minor” (Modern Turkey) was to learn the legend of the Gordian Knot. He was told that he who cut the knot would conquer all that lay within the Eastern lands. The knot was a huge bundle of cords that could never be untied. Alexander drew his sword and hacked the knot in half. The two halves fell to the ground, lying in their individual strands. From that time on, we have in our western world, the expression to “cut the Gordian Knot.” It means to cut through the crap, the confusion, and the complex motives and desires that have caused an issue or problem. I propose that The Progress Party could cut the Gordian knot of our tangled, strangled American political, social, cultural and economic fears and desires.
We have the complete text of three of the many books Aristotle wrote, and only parts of the others. We have the Poetics of Aristotle, his Politics, and the Ethics of Aristotle. Aristotle’s great idea is the “Golden Mean.” The Golden Mean is related to but different from what we all learned in our mathematics education as the arithmetic mean or the average. The Golden Mean is not a mathematical but rather a philosophical concept. It has nothing to do with being average or compromising or being on a mean in the middle of a scale. It is not philosophical or political “centrism.” It is not moderation. It is careful consideration.
The Golden Mean is the exact right place to be on a spectrum of actions ranging from one far extreme action on one end of the spectrum to the other far extreme action on the other end of the spectrum. In ethics and in politics, says Aristotle, the right thing to do within any given range of decisions as to an action from one extreme to another is the Golden Mean. This action could be very close to but will never be at the point of either extreme. The right thing to do might be near an extreme, but it will never be the extreme. Aristotle’s famous example is the range of actions between foolhardiness on one extreme and cowardice on the other extreme. The Golden Mean in this case, says Aristotle, is bravery. In one situation bravery might look a lot like foolhardiness and in another situation it might look a lot like cowardice.
Here are some 20th century examples of this fourth century BC principle.
In 1970, in preparation for withdrawing the United States from Vietnam, in order to prevent a “Dunkirk” disaster such as would drive the United States out of Vietnam and into the sea with a catastrophic, face losing defeat, Richard Nixon had US forces and Republic of Vietnam forces invade Cambodia to destroy the Vietcong base in the Cambodian “Parrott’s Beak.” I well remember Nixon on TV explaining why the United States had to do this with his frozen, cheesy smile and stupid poster board graphics. How far we have come with our modern CGI. America went berserk. Oh, how Nixon was hated. He was a warmonger. He was invading poor little neutral Cambodia, which was full of hundreds of thousands of Vietcong and North Vietnamese troops. Yet, he made it possible over the next three years to “Vietnamize” the war and withdraw all American ground forces. His move looked foolhardy, but it was just perilously close to foolhardiness. Actually, so say I, it was gutsy bravery.
That was near the end of the Vietnam War. At the beginning, John F. Kennedy was considered a coward because he wouldn’t jump into the Vietnam conflict with full force and commitment. He was thinking it through and working on a way to help the Vietnamese save themselves with American support rather than plunging into a huge war against a proxy of the Soviet Union. His carefully reserved judgment, in the opinion of many, including myself, is what got him killed. Certain individuals in the foreign and military policy establishment thought his course of action was so weak and cowardly that it was exciting our enemies to pounce upon an indecisive and weakened America. Kennedy’s course of action was neither foolhardy nor cowardly. It took great bravery to stand up to both the communist enemy in Indochina and the institutional enemy in Washington.
Here’s one last example of a great leader not seeking the easy way out to find popularity at the expense of correctness. For the first sixteen months of the Civil War, everybody was after Lincoln to do what they wanted him to do about the South and slavery. The deep southern as well as the border states wanted him to say that he wasn’t against slavery and wouldn’t hurt the slaveowners’ position with their huge investment. The abolitionists were shrieking at him to curse the slaveowners and move immediately to free all slaves. The public did not know, in August, 1862, that Abraham Lincoln had already written the Emancipation Proclamation and was waiting for a suitable turn of fortune in the war to issue it. When his own northern Unionist “opinion leaders” wrote scathing criticisms and condemnations of his lack of a position, here is what Abraham Lincoln wrote back.
“I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be to “the Union as it was.” (NOTE: Lincoln was saying that, if the southerners wanted the Union to be the way they wanted it, that is, with slavery, they better give up now. If they didn’t, there would be a cataclysmic revolution that would wipe out slavery and all of Southern culture that came from slavery, which is, of course, exactly what happened) If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.
“I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.”
That was in August. On September 17, 1862, United States forces barely defeated Confederate States forces at the great and terrible Battle of Antietam, giving Abraham Lincoln his opportunity, the following December, to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
Through March and early April, 1865, after Commander in Chief Lincoln’s successful prosecution of the war to a point when the South must surrender, Lincoln was able to work through Congress and the constitutional process of ratification the 13th amendment which formally and legally ended slavery in America.
It can be argued that Abraham Lincoln was our first Progressive. There are at least a hundred examples of him bestriding the Golden Mean to find the precisely correct course of action.
The Golden Mean meets the French Revolution.
We recall that the French Revolution gave us the political spectrum from left to right that we use today. The “far” left is the radical left. Radex in Latin means root. If we get at the root of something or tear out something by the roots, than that is being “radical” as in radicals in mathematics like the square “root” of something or “free radicals” in our bodies that attack our cells in our immune systems or the ever popular “that’s radical, dude.” In the case of the French Revolution or its later descendent the Marxist-Leninist Russian revolution, the “radical left” wants to revolutionize or radicalize or fundamentally change to the point of doing away with the present institutions of society.
The next sociopolitical cultural moral position inboard of the radical left is the left or left leaning liberal position. How strange that “liberalism” should be a “left” position. In 1859, an English political philosopher and political actor named John Stuart Mill wrote a slim little volume entitled On Liberty. In his seminal little book, Mill described a political movement and a political party that he called liberalism and the Liberal Party. It is quite a radical departure from what we today call “liberalism.” It is also a very considerable departure from the British political parties of Mill’s time (the Whigs were more middle-class and domestic oriented and the Tories were more aristocratic and internationally oriented). Mill’s principles included universal military service… Conscription… the draft. He said that “soldiers were policemen acting in unison.” How prescient was that! Think American soldiers from Vietnam to Afghanistan engaged in counterinsurgency warfare trying to win the hearts and minds of the people.
Mill also made use of a sentiment or current in the British public feeling in the first half of the 19th century which was called being “liberal minded.” This was the care and the concern for all people as human beings that was so brilliantly expressed by the early romantic British author, Charles Dickens. Remember A Christmas Carol? …where the author is so concerned about Tiny Tim and the soul of Ebenezer Scrooge who has to learn the meaning of Christmas? For an American look at liberal mindedness, note references to the First Epistle of James in the New Testament where it says, “if a man lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.” This scripture uses the dictionary definition of liberal, that is, generous. There is also in the word an idea of tolerance. Compare the real meaning of the word liberal with what modern left “liberal” dem’s have done with it.
John Stuart Mill elevated British liberal mindedness to a well worked out political program. John Stuart Mill and others actually invented a political party based on their beliefs. They named it the Liberal Party and it exists today in British politics. So, there is an historical basis for the Progress Party!
Moving on we see the liberal centrist part of the spectrum. These liberals are much more practical and logical and experience based. They are not as class conscious. They do not hate anyone, even the rich. They do not think it is wrong to be rich and many of them are rich. Think the Roosevelts, the Kennedys, and the Clintons. They still are concerned with principles of well doing for the betterment of mankind.
Now we are in the exact center of the spectrum, the land of the moderates. Radicals, left and right, don’t like centrist moderates. Continuing with the use of Scripture, these are they who are “lukewarm” and so God will “spew them out of his mouth.” This is also the land of the “independents” and the “undecideds.” These are the hot prospects for the Progress Party. They are the earnest investigators and seekers after the truth with whom we can connect and bond. This is not to say that the Progress Party is centrist or moderate or lukewarm. We have already discussed with examples how true Progressives seek the right course using the Golden Mean.
Onward we go to the “conservative right.” Conservatives want to conserve things. They want to preserve things that they believe are good and right in accordance with absolute principles. Early conservatives, like Theodore Roosevelt, were “conservationists” who wanted to conserve and protect the environment. Theodore Roosevelt is also known for killing thousands of game animals, unfortunately. He was mad for hunting, but at least he was a sportsman and he used the attention he got to extol preservation of the animals in their wilderness habitat. Back then he was the only one out there. Now hunters are more likely to shoot each other than they are to slaughter game animals. A conservationist organization that makes sure that populations of wild animals are “culled” so they don’t starve but not hunted to extinction and which also cares for the wilderness habitat of the animals is the United States National Park Service within the United States National Park System, both of which were founded by Theodore Roosevelt. Nowadays “environmentalists” tend to be radical leftists. Conservative rightists tend to be developers and exploiters of the environment who bitterly resent liberal environmentalists that block their projects.
Conservatives are all about being loyal to the original Constitution of the United States as a defender of the principled, original United States (limited) government. And yet the actual document itself, as we have seen, particularly when you add in the Bill of Rights and the later amendments and the landmark Supreme Court decisions… It’s pretty radical, dude.
Moving on, we are going far right, not to be confused with far out. The far right, sometimes called the radical right (which is interesting because “radicalism” is associated with the revolutionary far left), is threatened by what they see as the destruction of all good institutions, traditions, and customs of civilized society. They want to tear all appalling leftist plans and organizations completely up and hurl them to destruction radically.
In Marxist terminology, the radical left is revolutionary and the radical right is counterrevolutionary aka reactionary (that is, reacting to threats from the left by returning things to the way they used to be). In the 20th century world where all political terminology tended to come from social science, the political spectrum visualizes “class warfare.” We all use Marxist definitions of the social classes. We talk about the “working class,” the “middle class,” the “upper class,” “capitalists,” “plutocrats,” and the favorite of socialists still today, the “militarists” which are routinely lumped together with “the military,”
Note how the revolutionary radical left and the counterrevolutionary radical right are both extremists, dehumanizing, hateful, fearful, terrified and terrorizing, violently tribal, political factions. The classic example of this socio-political structure in world history is the communists versus the Nazi’s in interwar Germany. In that classic confrontation, we see that the spectrum is bent into a horseshoe. The “left” and “right” are very close together. Both of them lead us into totalitarianism and dictatorship. That’s why Winston Churchill said that there was “little to choose” between Hitler and Stalin but, since Hitler was the greater threat, he said, “If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”
We need a brief discussion of Socialism. The world – or, at least, the western world – has gone through eras or periods such as the classical time of Greece and Rome, then the “Dark Ages,” then the “Middle Ages” or the Medieval period, then on to the Renaissance, then the Reformation (and Counterreformation), then the Early Modern Period, then the Age of Discovery, then the Age of Imperialism, then the Neoclassical Period which included the Age of Reason or the Enlightenment and then on to the Romantic Period and, finally, the Realistic Period . Politics had monarchy, oligarchy, aristocracy, theocracy, democracy, and (frequently revolutionary) republican states. The Romantic Period was all about emotional extravagance and great expressive concepts…the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Napoleonic era, the great upheavals of 1848, slavery and anti-slavery in America.
It all came down to the American Civil War, which is the beginning of the end of romanticism and the first appearance of realism. The apotheosis of all that is Abraham Lincoln. He is a transitional and a transcendent figure. In the wild wild west after the war, there were romantic and romanticized cowboys and Indians and cavalry, marshals and desperadoes, hardy settlers and gold seekers. From the mountain men to the cattle barons it was all about adventure and exploration. But there was also the slaughter of the buffalo and dark sayings like “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” There was the iron horse and the end of the horse. We came out the other end with agribusiness and mining interests, no more Indian wars, just water wars.
In Europe, meanwhile, Germany and Scandinavia were rationalizing the economy and the society of modern times. Germany and Scotland came up with the idea that society and the nation would be better off if everybody was well educated. Hence kindergarten (children’s garden) and the loosely organized church run medieval university transformed into the scientifically organized university of today. In Scandinavia, August Strindberg wrote plays about the struggles of women to find themselves literally and metaphorically out from under men and feminism was born. Henrik Ibsen, the “dour Norwegian,” wrote about how women were treated as dolls and, if they would not live in their “doll’s house,” they were insane and must go to the insane asylum. He dismembered “middle class morality” and family life. With the advent of Socialism, the strong Swedish military tradition and the powerful Swedish Empire dissolved in mockery. Military strength has been revived in Sweden, but only because self defense is rational.
In Russia, Fyedor Dostoyevsky dissected Crime and Punishment and Maxim Gorky plumbed The Lower Depths. Konstantin Stanislavsky evolved his “naturalistic” theater which led to Sergei Eisenstein’s naturalistic “language of cinema.” The great archetype of the realistic period is film, which is naturally realistic.
Speaking of insane asylums, the birth of realism gave us the James brothers. No, not Frank and Jesse…Henry and William. American born and British raised (there’s your tension right there), Henry was a master at realistic fiction (heavily psychological) and his brother, William, was the world’s first psychologist. Twenty years later came the first psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud. He gave us psychoanalysis, interpretation of dreams, and cocaine, some would archly say the staples of socialism.
All of this developed the discipline of social science (matters of human society, humans living together and socializing). The scientific method was applied to the improvement of humanity. The real founding father of that was Charles Darwin who came up with the Theory of Evolution which led to Social Darwinism. Isn’t that interesting?
This led to political science and the “dismal science” of economics. It was all informed by sociology.
All of it led to a social revolution that sought to make the economy rational by nationalizing the means of production and revising the social contract to read that the people would band together to give of their productiveness the resources necessary for a democratically elected and democratically and intelligently controlled government to make a utopian life for all with splendid social engineering and social justice. This is Scandinavia and Switzerland and, less extremely, Germany. This is democratic socialism. This is Bernie Sanders.
Alas, “Fabian” and “Shavian (George Bernard Shaw)” socialism in Great Britain didn’t work out nearly as well. It was too destructive of ancient social forms and national personality. It was also too close to the revolutionary socialism of Karl Marx. English socialists took to calling eachother “comrade.” England, after all, was the scene Karl Marx wrote about because it was such an archetype of class consciousness and class warfare. It has been said that the curse of Africa is tribalism, the curse of America is racism, and the curse of Britain is classism. Anyway, after socialism was exorcised by Thatcher, the “Socialist Labour (sic) Party” dropped the “Socialist” and became just the Labour Party, a pragmatic, fix things and make things go well for the people kind of party. Tony Blair was called the British Bill Clinton.
And anyway, socialism went really wrong with Germany’s National Socialism and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Socialism has always said that the peoples of the world have no reason to fight each other on behalf of their acquisitive and domination seeking (capitalist) upper classes. How many songs of the sixties kids do you know that say this? (So…how many roads must a man walk down etc. etc.) That child-like if not childish sentiment ran afoul of – wait for it – realism in the Spanish Civil War when the Spanish (socialist) Republic got into a civil war because a rightist (fascist) rebellion was determined to return the conservative classes to power and destroy the socialists (who were really communists anyway, they said).
Now the socialist Spanish Republicans (nothing to do with American Republicans) had to fight a war and their struggle with themselves in forming, training, equipping, leading and deploying a military force into battle is sweet and sad and awful. The Spanish Republicans begged the socialist government of France and the socialist British government as well as the Roosevelt New Deal Democrat (many said socialist) United States government to help them, but it was just not ideologically possible. The Spanish Republicans had to turn to the Russian communists for help and the price for that was absorption into the Communist Internationale. The Spanish Republic was destroyed and Hitler and Mussolini knew that the socialist west would not oppose them. Hence, the Second World War. And this, too, is (Vietnam conscientious objector but I don’t think all wars are bad. World War II was OK) Bernie Sanders…and Jill Stein…and Gary – “What’s an Aleppo?” – Johnson.
I hope I get some professor props for condensing the history of western civilization and its ideological flow into these somewhat few pages. I hope you have never before read this many dense pages because you wanted to! That right there would be a huge victory and a critical purpose of this book. By reading this you have have respected my effort and I would offer the same respect in return.
Chapter Three: The Principles Behind a Progress Party
“We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom — symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning — signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God (echo of Jefferson) the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.
“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man (Note “Declaration of the Rights of Man,” French Revolution) come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God (Compare to Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence”).
“We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first (American) revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans — born in this century (now 21stcentury. He’s talking to you, kid), tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient (going back to Moses and Jesus?) heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights (He was thinking of civil rights but not necessarily particularly consciously women’s rights and certainly not homosexual rights but they are all in there) to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
“Let every nation (or movement or faction or gang or organized international crime syndicate) know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty (Really? We will do that? That’s what he said)…”
“…To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe (and half of the USA) struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required — not because the Communists (the others…they) may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich (Wow. This is 1961)…”
“…Now the trumpet summons us again — not as a call to bear arms (who exactly will bear arms?), though arms we need (Bernie, Gary, and Jill please respond)– not as a call to battle, though embattled we are (federal defense budget and state law enforcement budgets please reflect that) — but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation,” (Romans 12:12 New Testament) a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
“Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West (talking world here, but we see U.S. also), that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?
“And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but ask, rather, what you can do for your country.
“My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
“Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”
So spoke John F. Kennedy in his First (and only) Inaugural Address. Though he was a gloriously flawed human like most, he was a progressive hope for many, who’s life and Presidency was cut short in the least progressive way. He was brutally and publicly murdered by opposition for his vision. In principle, this is not unlike the character assassinations and physical threats thrown around today.
However complex and troubling Kennedy’s experience was, his famous inaugural address above is what I mean by progressive and is a touchstone for this Progress Party that hopefully could come to be, as we clearly need change soon.
There can never be a Progress Party without a huge groundswell of support for a Progress Party Program in a mass movement that will peel away large segments of non-extreme members of the Republican Party and of the Democratic Party as well as from the Libertarian and Green Parties. This program of concrete plans and measures that can become a legislative program of bills and laws must overtake our conventional millennial politics by appealing to what Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address, called, “the better angels of our nature.” This very concrete program does not refer to any of the buzzwords or politically correct broadsides and slogans that have brought us where we are today. The Progress Party Program has its foundation sunk into timeless principles that are perfect, as only principles can be. If the would be Progress Party promulgates, explains, and defends attractive, relieving, inspiring, activating universal principles that are good for all human beings, than there doesn’t have to be a campaign or a political fight. There just has to be a “love thy neighbor effort” that gives the principles to the people (in the words that Thomas Jefferson used to explain the importance of his declaration), “… In terms so fair and plain as will command their assent.”
In the period 1840 to 1844, there was in the state of Illinois a new city raised up out of a malarial swamp on the banks of the Mississippi River called Nauvoo. The people who built the city used the Hebrew word for beautiful as the name of their city. The leader of these people was named Joseph Smith. Nauvoo, in a few short years, had become twice as large in area and population as the city of Chicago of that time. It had many excellent public and private structures. The mayor of Braintree, Massachusetts, one Josiah Quincy by name, was intrigued by this tremendous civic success story. To learn more that could benefit the town of which he was mayor, Josiah traveled all the way “across the country” as it was at that time. Joseph Smith entertained and hosted Josiah Quincy in the combination mayoral mansion and City Hall of Nauvoo. Josiah asked Joseph how he, as one man, could possibly have organized and directed the efforts of all these people to this very elegant and successful result. He replied simply, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.”
So, what are the principles? We have to build a philosophical and spiritual foundation under the principles.
The first principle is that the extreme position or action is always wrong. The second principle is like unto it. The person taking action cannot compromise, cannot be fearful and trying to do what others say will mean happiness and success. The person taking action or the unit of action must find the exactly correct course of action for the set of circumstances at hand. Remember those journalists that were called muckrakers? Well, they had scathing words for the “milquetoasts,” “middle of the roaders,” and “fence sitters.” They called them “mugwumps.” A mugwump is a fence sitter with his mug on one side of the fence and his wump on the other.
The great philosopher Socrates taught his students how to think critically and analytically and he helped young people to see the flaws, faults, weaknesses, and wrongdoing of their elders so that they would grow up to be better than their elders. This pissed off their elders. The elders hailed Socrates into a defense of his life on a charge of “corrupting the youth.” He was tried before all the citizens of Athens. In his summation of his own defense, the “Apology of Socrates,” he said,
How you, O Athenians, have been affected by my accusers, I cannot tell; but I know that they almost made me forget who I was, so persuasively did they speak; and yet they have hardly uttered a word of truth. But of the many falsehoods told by them, there was one which quite amazed me; I mean when they said that you should be upon your guard and not allow yourselves to be deceived by the force of my eloquence. To say this, when they were certain to be detected as soon as I opened my lips and proved myself to be anything but a great speaker, did indeed appear to me most shameless, unless by the force of eloquence they mean the force of truth; for if such is their meaning, I admit that I am eloquent. But in how different a way from theirs! Well, as I was saying, they have scarcely spoken the truth at all; but from me you shall hear the whole truth: not, however, delivered after their manner in a set oration duly ornamented with words and phrases. No, by heaven! but I shall use the words and arguments which occur to me at the moment for I am confident in the justice of my cause: at my time of life I ought not to be appearing before you, O men of Athens, in the character of a juvenile orator, let no one expect it of me. And I must beg of you to grant me a favor. If I defend myself in my accustomed manner, and you hear me using the words which I have been in the habit of using in the agora, at the tables of the money-changers, or anywhere else, I would ask you not to be surprised, and not to interrupt me on this account. For I am more than seventy years of age, and appearing now for the first time in a court of law, I am quite a stranger to the language of the place; and therefore I would have you regard me as if I were really a stranger, whom you would accuse if he spoke in his native tongue, and after the fashion of his country:, Am I making an unfair request of you? Never mind the manner, which may or may not be good; but think only of the truth of my words, and give heed to that: let the speaker speak truly and the judge decide justly…
That is part of what Socrates said in his defense. Note the use of the expression “money changers.” This is in 399 B.C. B.C. means “before Christ.” You have probably figured out that “apology” in classical Greek does not mean what we in America mean by apology today in our political and social discourse (in America today is there a difference between our political and social discourse?). This is as in, “you/he/she/they have to apologize!” Or as the TV commentator says, “he/she/they is/are going to have to ‘walk that back’.” No. To the ancient Greeks, apology meant defense. So the Apology of Socrates is the Defense of Socrates.
Anyway, Socrates lost and was sentenced to death by taking poison, hemlock to be exact. Hence the expression, he/she/they forced him/her to” drink the hemlock” i.e. suffer the consequences of taking the position that he/she/they took.
The philosopher Plato was a young student of Socrates and was present at the defense of Socrates and at the execution of Socrates. There is a great Renaissance painting of Socrates still teaching his disciples the truth even as he is dying from the hemlock. It was actually Plato who recorded as best he could the Defense of Socrates. The execution of Socrates turned Plato away from democracy. Plato formulated a political philosophy that he called a Republic. He wrote a book by that name. He said the ignorant, hysterical, hateful masses in their tribal (factional) “communities” could never rule the Republic. It must be ruled by a “philosopher king.” Who or what could function as the philosopher king? Plato writes an allegory of people hiding (from the unknown) in a cave. The fearful, weak ones stay in the safe, dark cave. The strong, brave ones quest for knowledge and opportunity in the light outside the cave. Those who have the courage to leave the cave behind and go forth into the light can be philosopher kings.
Poignant note: Dr. Martin Luther King was asked about his favorite book. He replied Plato’s Republic.
So, what is philosophy and what is a philosopher? Philosophy is love of wisdom and, thus, a philosopher is a lover of wisdom. Therefore, the philosopher king is a ruler who loves wisdom, that wisdom being the absolute truth ineluctably deduced by good philosophers like Socrates and Plato.
Let’s bring in the rest of the world here. The center of the western hemisphere is “the people of the book” in the “Holy Land” as well as the Egyptian seekers of the power of the Sun and then the rational Greeks and finally the practical Romans. The origin of all the languages and forms of Europe is Roman and Greek with references to the Egyptians (a Greek word) and the tales of the Hebrew (“people of the desert”) who came out of the first lands under the leadership of Father Abraham who made a covenant with God. Have you made any covenants with God? Thomas Jefferson said, “I have sworn upon the alter of God eternal hostility against any form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Big Mo’ students and particularly the football team take careful note of what that old dead white slave owner said.
But what about the eastern hemisphere. What is the origin of the cultures, languages, states, andphilosophies of Asia? It is the “Middle Kingdom,” the “Celestial Empire,” China.
In about 500 BC, a hundred years before Socrates was teaching in Athens, in what today we call China, there were five warring states or kingdoms. There was a sage, a philosopher, who wandered amongst the five warring kingdoms trying to get the rulers of those kingdoms to listen to his counsel about political and social ethics. This man was a Kung Fu Tze , a Kung Fu Master. What, you ask, is Kung Fu? Well, of course, Kung Fu is Chinese martial arts with all the flying through the air and flip-flopping and punching and kicking of a thousand motion pictures excellent and execrable. But, in 2010 re-invented version of The Karate Kid, Jackie Chan taught us that, “Everything is Kung Fu.” Kung Fu is a spiritual quest for perfection. It is something like Plato’s quest for “the good.” This Kung Fu Tze was named Kong Le, but we know him from the latinization of his title …Confucius.
Confucius was the first consultant. He tried to get the five warring states to stop fighting each other and stop trying to cheat and steal their way to power over each other. He came up with the system that we call “Confucian ethics.” Confucian ethics are still, 2500 years later, the ruling line of social and personal morality throughout Asia. Confucius taught the rulers of states that they had to have the “Mandate of Heaven.” Think “consent of the governed.” Think “social contract.” Some philosopher king prophets of long ago but not so far away said things like, “you must obey the God of the land or you will be swept off the land” and “if you keep my commandments, then I the Lord am bound, but if you keep not my commandments, then ye have no promise.” Confucius told the kings of the warring kingdoms that they must have “The Mandate of Heaven.” If they lost that mandate. They and their kingdoms would die and new dynasties would be born. As it was with the Emperor Chi’n (the first Chinese Emperor from whose name we derive the word China), so it was with the Emperor Mao and on to today’s collective Chinese Emperor. Disobey the eternal, perfect principles of life and you lose life.
Then, of course, there is the King of Kings, the King of the unseen Kingdom of Heaven, called by some the Christ. Did not the Rabbi Jesus (Rabbi=tzu= sensei= magister= teacher) teach the highest and the lowest “the way, the truth, and the life?” Even that wise old philosopher, Benjamin Franklin, no devout religionist he, but rather a Deist and a neoclassicist said, “imitate Socrates and Jesus.”
When I was 17 years old, I had a high school teacher who was English and she loved intellectual discourse and so, understandably she loved me. I would sit with her and expound and propound all this stuff and testify how convinced I was of the truth of it. She would reply in her voice as gentle as an English rain, “well, of course you are. You’re English. That’s where you get all these idears.” All of these things were taught to the peoples of Britain, particularly the English and the Scottish. From Magna Carta to the Utopia of St. Thomas More, to the philosophy of John Locke (who was not put to death) to the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham, principles not persons rule.
But “men must be governed…” Thomas Hobbes wrote a book entitled Leviathan. You remember the story of Jonah and the whale. Leviathan is an ancient term meaning whale, but it also means a huge beast, a great animal. In our modern times we say, “the 600 pound gorilla in the room.” Actually, in the most recent of modern times, unable to resist our penchant for hyperbole, we say 800 pound gorilla in the room. Hobbes, like Plato, taught by allegory. He posited a dark forest where people live lonely lives which are “nasty, brutish, and short.” Each separated individual lives such a life “by the strength of his own right arm.” Does this sound like the inner-city ghetto? Is it like the barrio? Is it like the “Rez?” Is it like college instructors? Is it like Wall Street? In the middle of this dark forest was a clearing. The sun light filled the clearing and made it warm and inviting, but it was still not safe. It might be the place to be. It might be correct, but just because it was bountiful it was not necessarily dependable. There had to be, said Hobbes, a Leviathan to sit in the clearing and prevent any wrongdoing or destruction there. Hobbes said this Leviathan was the sovereign or sovereignty or the sovereign power (to include power over death in defense of life). Somewhere, in the clearing, in the land, in the nation, in the state, in the realm, in the community, there had to be a sovereign power. Now, for Thomas Hobbes, that was the monarch, put in place by God to rule over all people in the monarchy in accordance with all of the laws, divine, natural, and man-made.
All these are the Judeo Christian, humanist, philosophical principles of western civilization which met the mirrored Asian principles of eastern civilization. By the end of the romantic nineteenth century and the beginning of the realistic twentieth century, all of this was under assault and why? Because east and west, it all seemed phony. Tortured logic did not match real world experience. All of these forms sheltered tyranny, even slavery, and empires of avarice determined to seize the lives and livelihoods of the weak, powerless, and defenseless.
As we have seen, the French Revolution saw and overturned all such forms. Instead of an unseen kingdom of God here on the earth with a king who was a savior or a law giving God who spoke to prophets that brought commandments to the people, now there were pure intellectuals who constructed exquisitely geometrical forms. There was the “left” (big long lecture on the Estates General and the National Assembly having been left out) common man revolutionary activists. There was the “right” also known as the “establishment” or the nobility and the church. There was the “center” who were the modern men of good will who only wanted reason and common sense to they could live “the personal life.”
But the French Republic created by the French Revolution was as dark, as bloody, and as avaricious as the “ancient regime” it wiped out and replaced and, indeed, gave way to a French Napoleonic Empire which spread blood and horror all over the world (I speak as a descendant of Englishmen of course).
Napoleon was dead, but after more revolutions intended to finish or fix what he had started, there was, in 1848, a tumultuous world revolution from Ireland to Hungary and from Poland to Spain. It even hit China. This was when Chinese people began to come to America, specifically through “the Golden Gate” into California.
In the midst of it, a German, Jewish, unemployed and unemployable intellectual had a great vision, like Plato in his metaphorical cave, or Mohammed in his actual cave, or Jesus in his cave where he encountered Satan in the course of his fast for forty days and forty nights (regardless of what you believe, each of these stories have great metaphorical value). This vision took the rush of the French Revolution and applied it to the “modern” and again convulsed the world of 1848. We all know the man’s name and his creation and his effect. Karl Marx wrote down his observations and conclusions in his CommunistManifesto. What he wrote and promulgated to the whole wrecked world is well known to us. “Workers unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains.” He showed people the great dialectic of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. The great conflict of his and our time, he and his disciples have said, was between proletarian masses (thesis), capitalist tyranny reacting to the masses (antithesis), and victorious world revolution and the establishment of socialist government over a socialist world state (presided over by workers’ committees or assemblies (in Russia later, Soviets). Hence, as Marx’s Russian disciple Nicolai Lenin said, a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Marx and the men who acted on his manifesto believed the Revolution would lead to a world state that would govern under socialist principles until the state was no longer needed and the political apparatus of the start would melt away until the worker’s commune-ity would become a workers’ paradise of commune-ism. Oh, did they act on it with matched sets of revolution and civil war in Russia, almost Germany, almost Britain, China, Indochina, Spain, (later) Cuba, and almost the great prize, America.
Some have said that the great genius of Britain is the ability to march up to the edge of the cliff and then step back…reform rather than revolution. Why? Because of the infinite capacity of the British to use their Constitution to save themselves. We’ll see if the leviathan can still have that ability in the new millennium. We’ll see if the heirs of Jefferson can do the same in the New World.
Chapter Two: Progressivism & Origin Stories
In his First Inaugural Address, on April 30, 1789, President George Washington said,
“I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire, since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
We have seen that we left behind the American century and are well along in the anti-American century. Not to be too paranoid, but, out of all our enemies, the worst anti-Americans are the Americans. It’s not as though the welter of steaming camps and factions and isms and ologies of millennial America are completely new. They come from other crises of conflict from before. What is new is the second by second tickertape of rancor and assault and manipulative positioning. Ignorance is safe and knowledge is not correct.
Patrick Henry said, “I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and to provide for it…I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.” (Liberty or Death Speech in the Virginia House of Burgesses meeting temporarily in Saint John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia, March 23, 1775) Yes, sadly, Patrick Henry (“Give me liberty or give me death” note the irony) owned slaves. All of the icons up to Lincoln owned slaves except for the northeasterners like Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. See Patrick Henry’s letter to Robert Pleasants of January 18, 1773. But what did they say? What did they do?
My teacher of US history at Tufts University in 1965 was the grandson of Francis Parkman, the first great American academic who could be called an historian. My Professor Parkman taught me that “the French Revolution was a radical revolution. The French revolutionaries fought for rights they had never had. The American revolution was a conservative revolution. The American revolutionaries fought to keep rights they had always had.”
The French revolution broke out when a mob got some soldiers to be on their side and attacked the Bastille, the king’s prison in the center of Paris. It was July 14, 1789, just three months after George Washington’s first inaugural address. America’s man on scene in Paris was US ambassador Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson got caught up in it. He thought the French Revolution and the American Revolution were one and the same. He thought the French Revolution was a continuation of the American Revolution. George Washington did not like it at all. He insisted that the French Revolution, with its guillotine and reign of terror, had nothing whatever to do with the American Revolution.
King Louis XVI of France was the king who, in 1778, recognized the infant United States of America and gave the Americans the military support they had to have to win their war of independence. Now the “Jacobins” had beheaded King Louis and Queen Marie Antoinette and had revolted against all of the Judeo-Christian and neoclassical values that made for civilization. Of course, the Jacobins would say that all those values were for the “elites.” They would say that those “bourgeois” and “aristocratic” values were used by the “establishment” to crush and annihilate any spirit of resistance in the hearts of the masses. Any violence, any terror was logically justified if it was necessary to raise up the people and wipe out the oppressors. Is any of this sounding like Black Lives Matter? How about John Brown and the abolitionists? How about all the other radical revolutions in Russia, China, Indochina, or Cuba.
Jefferson came home and became our first Secretary of State. He invited Citizen Genet, the unrecognized envoy of the unrecognized French Republic, to go on a speaking tour of the United States raising money and consciousness in support of the French Revolution. Jefferson helped Genet threaten the United States with war if America would not come in to the general European counterrevolutionary war on the side of the French Republic. Washington smacked down the disloyal Jefferson and through Genet out of the country.
The French Republican Navy (the Navy of the ancien regime that had gone over to the Republican side) began attacking American merchant shipping. Finally, a French frigate attacked an American frigate and there was a true naval battle which the American ship won.
President Washington took an action other than a request for a (constitutional) declaration of war, because there was no recognized state against which war could be formally declared. He did inform Congress of his plan, however. In a message to Congress in 1793, Washington wrote,
“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be
withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we
desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one
of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known
that we are at all times ready for war.” –George Washington (1793)
Thus began America’s first war under the U.S. Constitution… and it was the Undeclared Naval War with France. Compare Washington to Bernie Sanders, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and all of the Libertarian, left liberal, radical progressives. Indeed, compare him to Barack Obama and the Syrian red line so lamented by John McCain.
Thomas Jefferson gets recognition and praise for the Declaration of Independence, his input into the American Bill of Rights, the Louisiana purchase, and the Lewis and Clark expedition that followed it up. All of these are, we can agree, actual progressive measures, but his romantic embrace of the exciting, dark, and bloody terror of radical revolution took him down the path of a false sense of progress.
If Thomas Jefferson is our first far liberal progressive, then George Washington is our first principled conservative.
The American founders (from then until now… We are still nation building) were doers. They were born into a world of oceans and empires and slaves and Indians. They did not make their world, but they remade it in accordance with the principles they had been taught. They got their principles from two sources – – Judeo-Christian religious doctrine and the neoclassical education of the Age of Reason a.k.a. the Enlightenment. What they didn’t get from Moses they got from Jesus. What they didn’t get from God they got from Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. What they didn’t get from Greece and Rome they got from England and Scotland. Their striving was, they would insist, progress… Pilgrim’s Progress.
Of course, modern American progressives say this is all schizophrenic, hypocritical, weak, dark, lustful, criminal use of great thoughts from the past as a paper over appalling conduct of enslavement and genocide. The wonderful, exalted doctrines and prescriptions were only for white people and still are. I would point out that the principles and doctrines are good and right wherever and however they have been applied. I would say that the taking of America and the building of the United States was inevitable and un-resistible and, finally, as black, red, brown, yellow, and white people participate in it and look back upon it, a wonderful thing in principle. The whole edifice is a perfect institution, imperfectly acted upon by imperfect people.
The alternative set of principles and doctrines is the Marxist dialectic which had its dim origins in the French Revolution, where left, right, center, reactionary, radical, and violent overthrow were incubated and hatched. Karl Marx created communism, but that was the perfect place after the revolution. Until the workers get there, they must be governed. The government of the state which gets the people through the revolution to the paradise of communism where all forms of government melt away is called socialism. Lenin, Stalin , Mao, Fidel, and Ho all said their socialism was democratic. The truly democratic socialism of Western Europe that began in Scandinavia was derived not from the Marxist dialectic but from social science, social studies, social engineering, and social justice. This too has been called progressive.
We have had many party shifts past the Federalists and the national Republicans and on to the Democratic Party and the Whigs who became the Republican Party with the Populist party followed on by the Dixiecrat’s becoming the new Republicans and the old Lincoln Republicans becoming the modern liberal Democrats. There was something like our menagerie of political factors in the turbulent second half of the 19th century. This was the “Gilded Age,” the time of the “robber barons,” who were also the “captains of industry.” There were some great journalists in those days. They called themselves “muckrakers.” They raked up that muck and made people smell the stink. It was called the “Age of Reform.”
We want to have the Progressive Party of storied past, but that got grabbed up by the far left ultraliberal dem’s. What kids today mean when they say “very progressive” is not what THE Progressive Movement was all about.
There were great leaders who came together to create a political movement that did much to see America through to an improvement era. There was the great Republican, Theodore Roosevelt. There was the great Democrat, Woodrow Wilson. There was the great prairie Populist and apostle to the farmers, William Jennings Bryan. Last, there was the Bernie Sanders of his day, the near socialist and some would say anarchist, Robert “fighting Bob” Le Follett. Though they were opposed – – Roosevelt, Wilson, and Bryan ran against each other for president in one of our few multicandidate elections – – still they saw reason and were concerned only with thought, issues, and plans. The journalists and storytellers of the day called them “progressives.” All they cared about was progress.
We are the heirs of the old Progressives and we don’t respect the hysteria of the new progressives. We don’t care about the old labels. We must not be frightened of being reactionary or radical or anything in between. We should want a political party and a political process of well thought out values and proven principles that works for every faction and every community, on both sides of the fence. Then we can answer the millennials when they ask what Progressivism really is? We can answer them when they ask, “what is your (new) deal?”
Chapter One: Millennial Politics
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, preach some, but doesn’t reasonable compromise to uphold a common constitution help?
“THE SECOND COMING” by William Butler Yeats, 1919
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
The new century has brought millennial politics of chaos and disintegration. We must progress up and out of the maelstrom. I want a new application of permanent truths to mandate the huge accomplishments we must achieve.
Trump and his pouty mouth incapable of speaking a complete sentence, chest bumping with Putin, Congress, and the Great Screen, woolly headed libertarians who don’t know an Aleppo from a Wells Fargo, burning Bernie who wants to give all good things to all good people but who thinks he can easily be commander-in-chief as a conscientious objector, and sweet Dr. Stein who has some very good ideas for saving the world starting with ridding it of (American) armed forces…
Then there’s Hillary, with her blurry baggage including the blunders of the antiquated State Department updating to the digital age on her watch, with mobile email as an option for the first time right about then. That said, whoever was involved and however and whatever the details were, the buck stops with her.
Did Hillary fill out a DD 369? Was she investigated by the Defense Investigative Service (DIS)? Was the (c) for confidential put there later by Republicans? Or did she send it with the (c) clearly there? Did she have a Special Security Officer (SSO) that she could go to for advice on handling classified or even sensitive information? Did she take the correspondence course all high clearance level individuals had to take “Safeguarding Defense Information?” And weren’t there famous emails to Sydney Blumenthal who had nothing official to do with State Department? Liberal Dem’s do not get a pass either for their blunders and cover ups, but where does the hyperbolic tornado of exaggeration on both sides end? How does that translate to her being solely responsible to someone who educates themselves on the issue to understand the nuances on either side of the fence, oh that’s right, we don’t often do that anymore. We live in the era of NEWSTAINMENT which is a dangerous downward spiral.
This is very bad. As Goose said to Maverick right before he died, “we’re in a flat spin. This is not good. This is NOT good.” With the turn of the 21st century and our entrance into the seventh millennium since Adam and Eve (if you believe in that stuff) or since the beginning of recorded history (if you believe in first cities and written languages instead), we have left behind the American century. We have now entered the media century. The technical revolution is prompting a political revolution.
I personally believe in the words of the Prophet Isaiah and of the Savior of the world that he prophesied as they explained the last days. I also believe in the quirky, dark, Prophet Andy Warhol and the dilemma of the world that he prophesied. The Prophet Andy said, “in the future, everybody will be famous for 15 minutes.” Now, because of satellite television, satellite radio, personal computers, the Internet, web TV, web radio, every imaginable type of mail and publishing and electronic gatherings of people with every human individual a potential reporter using his or her very excellent smart phone, not to mention some newspaper that somebody found in a time capsule on a street corner or some books that were stored in some old building of indeterminate purpose, the words of the Prophet Andy have come to pass.
Think of it. With YouTube, every individual in the world, with internet access, can have a television station with a newscast and can make a movie with global distribution. Also – – and this is my favorite – – anybody that wants to write a book can get it published on CreateSpace and sold on Amazon. After all, mine and every other’s manifesto can go up on a world reaching website. Everybody in the whole world can have a website with email and everybody I can get from the entire English-speaking world to visit and subscribe to the site can read my manifesto. That’s potentially a billion connected people for all those trying to be heard. Karl Marx, eat your heart out.
The communications media of the world, journalistic and enjoying pretending to be journalistic, feast for weeks on a one minute conversation on a bus between two men as they prepare to approach one woman. However charged this dark issue is, meanwhile, speaking of victims, thousands at a time are killed by terrorists. Thousands are killed by an airstrike. 80 million people watch a presidential debate and almost as many are asked on (some) screen what they think about it. Each event gets several weeks on average. The coverage puts thousands of whatevercasters on the world plasma screen and elicits thousands of witnessing, commenting voices from the ether. Everyone in the world can have a foreign and a domestic policy, promulgated in 140 character proclamations.
Somewhere, somebody is tweeting that politics as usual is impossible in an era like this. All of the many and great ones with political power and with media power are their own political parties. Actually, there are no real political parties anymore, just political movements and these movements are not just political, but economic and social and cultural and religious. Some of them are even spiritual although an equal number of them are anti-spiritual.
All this excites a fury of political correctness and crusading against intellect. Students at what were once great universities force the university presidents to resign because the president will not keep them safe from ideas.
There will be government (or… somebody has to be responsible).
But still, “men must be governed…” So said our own William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. Actually, he said, “men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants.” Even the Deist, Thomas Jefferson, contemptuous of miracles and saviors as he was, would say that the rule of nature and nature’s God are critical to the self-evident truths and the inalienable rights that put us in pursuit of happiness.
Athens ruled a Mediterranean empire with, essentially, a city government by giant town hall. Rome ejected a monarchy and took Greek forms and Etruscan tribal forms and hammered out a constitution for a “RES PUBLICA,” a “public thing,” a republic. Great Britain evolved a constitution over 2,000 years. The British took Athenian and Roman forms into their Saxon common law well as their Norman feudal ism. The thirteen British North American colonies collected all of that with some Indian confederacies thrown in thanks to a research trip by Benjamin Franklin. Each of the colonies created a charter or constitution and set up the basic three branch, two house, layered jurisdiction government that our states have to this day.
From 1607 to 1775, they evolved thirteen little nation states that each had effective, legitimate governments that guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We cannot forget that the southern states used slavery and no states had women’s suffrage and the states were built on land taken from the natives who were all but written off, but, by any measure, that thirteen member united nations or “AU” “American Union” had, under the British Constitution, for its citizens decent government with a standard of living and a sense of public peace for the broad population unequaled – in essence – to this very day.
When, in the course of human events, these United States of America declared their independence, they did not create a constitution. They absolutely did not want that any more than we want one world government by the UN today. The Articles of Confederation the Continental Congress turned Confederation Congress took the entire eight years of the Revolutionary War to work out, were just like the UN Charter, nothing more and like the UN Charter, they did not work…at least not as a government.
In 1783, those thirteen infant United States of America that had confederated together, not to make a national government but only to make an alliance and a confederation of sovereign states, won the American war of Independence and thus achieved the basic goals of the American Revolution. By 1787, leaders within the states saw that there was no union, there was no nation, there was no country without a constitution similar to what had been established in the Roman Republic, the Athenian state, and, indeed, in Great Britain from which they had just seceded. They gathered together in the very same room where the Declaration of Independence had been hammered out 10 years prior and with many of the very same people being present. With George Washington as president of this constitutional convention and with James Madison as the forceful advocate for a constitution, this convention created the United States Constitution and went home to urge its ratification by the states.
It didn’t have a Bill of Rights. It didn’t have any amendments. Slavery, the key issue that almost destroyed the Declaration of Independence, was mentioned once in this Constitution when the language said the South could have slave trading for 20 more years and no more after that. It is very basic, very bare bones.
Far and away the most elaborate portion is Article I, which describes the legislative branch and the manner of passing bills into law. There is no discussion of committees or “working a bill through committee,” only a statement that the House of Representatives and the Senate will create their own rules and “chuse” their own officers. Representation by population or by state was the big issue. They compromised and we have both.
Article II creates and describes the office of President of the United States and Vice President of the United States, spending some time on the qualifications, manner of election, and impeachment of both to include the creation of the Electoral College. Presidential election was changed utterly by President of the United States Andrew Jackson, giving us our “one man (now person) one vote” popular democracy. There is no discussion of a cabinet except to say that the president will receive reports from “administrative departments” whatever they are. There is no discussion of national defense or foreign policy or the organization of an armed force for the United States except to say that the President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. There is discussion of pardons and treaties (with ratification of treaties by the Senate). That’s it. Presidents created the presidency. Laws and Supreme Court decisions gave us what we have today.
Article III creates and describes the Supreme Court of the United States. It says that the Supreme Court will have “judicial power over all matters… arising from the Constitution.” So, the Supreme Court receives suits from lower courts and entities arguing for and against the constitutionality of laws… I guess. Even that is a comment on rather than a statement of what the Constitution says about the Supreme Court. Also, there is a discussion, not really about the Supreme Court, of treason and jury trial “… Except in cases of impeachment…”
BTW, what are these lower courts? Each state, having first been a colony operating under the British Constitution for 150 years, had well worked out state judiciary systems with courts, judges, a way of choosing juries, and rules of evidence within courtroom procedures… everything we have today. It all comes from English Common Law. Article III also says the Supreme Court has “original jurisdiction” in certain federal matters. Huh? That’s it.
Realizing they were a little light on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary, the constitutional founders who became federal legislators, in 1792, enacted the “Federal Judiciary act” of 1792, which created the United States district courts for each state with their United States Attorneys.
The Constitutional Convention realized that they had put into the original Constitution everything that could get voted for by this rancorous and suspicious convention, which, originally, only wanted to amend the Articles of Confederation and not even make a constitution. So, they put in a provision for amending the Constitution, which the American people have made use of 27 times (but only 26 of them are “in function.” Whaaat?).
And that’s it… Not even a Bill of Rights. Patrick Henry went ballistic. He told his brand-new representative in the United States House of Representatives, James Madison, who was the driving force behind this United States Constitution, that young “Jemmy” had better come home with amendments that created an American Bill of Rights or he better not come home at all. Patrick Henry said he would see to it that James Madison was tarred and feathered if he didn’t fight for a Bill of Rights. The British Constitution has within it the English Bill of Rights and the American people wanted an American Bill of Rights. So, James Madison worked with others in the First Congress of the United States to prepare for the consideration of the Congress seventeen amendments that they believed would do the job. The Congress debated the seventeen and submitted twelve to the states for ratification. By 1791, ten of the twelve were ratified. Those first ten amendments to the United States Constitution have been enshrined forever as the “Bill of Rights.”
So, what did the Bill of Rights say then and what do we believe our rights are today? First of all, there are 27 rights packed into ten amendments.
The First Amendment says that Congress shall “…make no law regarding an establishment of religion.” Unlike the United Kingdom of Great Britain and (today Northern) Ireland, there shall be no established church, no “Church of the United States.” There was then and there is now a Church of England (Anglican and in America Episcopal), a Church of Scotland (in America, Presbyterian), and a (Protestant) Church of Ireland. “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” the First Amendment goes on to say, “…or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance.”
That’s a mouthful. There’s nothing there about religion in the public place, saying a prayer in high school graduation, chaplains in the military, congressional chaplains, presidential prayer breakfast, “so help me God,” “endowed by their Creator,” “nature and nature’s God,” hate speech, burning the flag, defecating on the flag, gangster rap lyrics, pornography addiction, tabloid journalism, the right of the people to violently destroy a private event on private property, or shut the government down to redress a grievance. “Separation of church and state” would come later in 1948 in a Supreme Court decision with the opinion of the majority expressed by Justice Hugo Black. There is nothing there about classified government information or unauthorized disclosure of same, nothing about WikiLeaks or “leaking” generally. There is nothing about “(c)” which means this line contains information classified Confidential (that is, information which, if disclosed to unauthorized persons would cause damage to the vital national interests of the United States).
If you think the First Amendment is a can of worms, check out the Second Amendment. If you want to talk down to your oppositon about the Second Amendment, you better know what it says… and what it doesn’t say. It is just one sentence albeit a neoclassical Latinate sentence with an ablative absolute. Here we go. “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” That’s all there is there ain’t no more. We could put it into (good) 21st-century American English and say that: Since a well regulated militia is necessary to secure the rights of the people if they wish to have a free state, the (well regulated) right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. This last, however, is, as I have said, an attempted clarification and updating of concept. It reflects (my) interpretation, however acceptable that interpretation may be to the majority of American people. What was said in 1791 was said in 1791 and those people excuse not themselves.
You see, this one sentence amendment really was elegantly simple and clear in 1791. For 150 years, from Captain Myles Standish and Captain John Smith to Lexington and Concord, the thirteen British North American colonies, which asserted their independence in the fact that they were, in fact, free and independent states, always had militia. They now had to defend themselves against the Indians (even if they were defending themselves against Indian response to their aggression against Indian lands), the French and the Spanish (who had their own empires in the new world with settlers and settlements) and, indeed, the French and Indians allied against the British and the British colonists (see the French and Indian War). From age 16 to 60, all males had to serve in the militia. No exceptions. Every man and boy in the militia had to come to muster with his own weapons… musket or rifle, possibly a pistol, certainly a hunting knife, possibly a Tomahawk. Every town, certainly in New England as well as certain other places, had a militia company. The men elected their company officers. They trained one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. Sound familiar National Guard guys and gals? They could be ready in a minute… minute men. We have an intercontinental ballistic missile today which is called the Minuteman. It can be ready to launch in a minute.
Later, in the wild wild west, when the Sheriff or the Marshall couldn’t deal with all the “bad hombres (sic Donald Trump)” bedeviling the town, they would deputize the men of the town and make use of the common law regarding posse comitatus, “the ability to come together” possibly “the ability to form a committee” as in the Massachusetts Committees of Public Safety and the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance a.k.a. vigilantes. It could get really nasty with the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan which essayed to bear arms in defense of the rights of the (white) people. Interestingly enough, the original Black Panthers of the 1960s in Oakland, California ambushed and sniped white police, claiming all the while that they were a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free (black) people who, therefore, had an uninfringable right to keep and bear arms to use against illegitimate law enforcement.
The framers of the Bill of Rights were bound and determined that they were always going to have that well regulated militia to defend the people against any enemy, foreign or domestic, even the government or law enforcement gone awry (as they considered the British to have done in 1775). But any action taken by the people, making use of their uninfringed right to keep and bear arms, had to be in accordance with the rest of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, that is, well regulated.
The National Guard Acts of 1906 and 1914 changed the state militia into a component of the United States Army which would be a collection of armies, each of which would serve its state under the commander-in-chief, the governor. If a governor wanted to mobilize his or her National Guard for state service, the commander-in-chief, the president, acting through the director of the National Guard Bureau in Washington, would allow it and fund it. Note: the Air National Guard came along in 1947. Of course, the terrible purpose of the National Guard is to be mobilized and federalized for combat service overseas under the leadership of the commander-in-chief, the president. The state militias did this in 1814, 1846, 1861, and 1898. The National Guard did this in 1917, 1941, 1950, 1990, and 2003. What about Vietnam, you ask. LBJ didn’t call up the Guard as his grip on the war was shaky enough without attempting that. The draft was bad enough. That’s why there were waiting lines to enlist in the National Guard. There was one unit of the National Guard mobilized in 1968 and that put the fear of God into the rest of the National Guard. We have observed the National Guard functioning as a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state putting down riots, race or otherwise. Think Detroit in ‘67 and Kent State in 1970. Some states still have what they call a state militia, a last ditch, last line of defense of the people amid a climactic convulsion.
This is the historical and constitutional context of all of our discussion and all of our legislative actions regarding private ownership of firearms, registration and licensing of same, background checks to ensure a well regulated screening out of individuals who must not keep and bear firearms, as well as procedures to validate that all of the above has been done with open and concealed carry permits. In our history, these actions were taken locally in the colonies and in the states, but the United States Bill of Rights makes it clear that the constitutionally mandated United States Government must handle all the checks for individual appropriateness for gun ownership. In the Chicago example, we see a jurisdiction with strict gun control subverted by gun importation from surrounding areas that have no gun control. We are moving permissions and regulations regarding uninfringeable rights to keep and bear arms to the federal, national level.
My discussion of the Bill of Rights is all downhill from here. There is much to talk about in the Third, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Amendments, but the real fire breathing issues of our time revolve around the Fourth, Fifth, and Tenth Amendments.
The Fourth and Fifth Amendments are well worked out because they come almost straight across from the English Bill of Rights. They are full of Common Law principles which have been in use among the English speaking peoples since Magna Carta. We all know about lawful and unlawful search and seizure, warrants, and arrest procedures.
These include less well known examples that got the Warholian fifteen minutes but not the Ted Turner two weeks e.g. bending a (white)woman over the hood of her own car, pulling down her panties, and sticking fingers into orifices all with traffic slowing to watch or throwing a (black) woman to the grass at a major intersection and telling her, “spread your legs or I will break your legs.” Returning to the hopefully well regulated but possibly vengeful militia of the whole, who shot the Houston sheriff’s deputy in the back? Was he one of the four deputies who raped the black girl at the gas station? Was that a retribution sniping? Just asking.
We know about no knock warrants and we know about wrong house warrants. We know about seizure of evidence and we know about planting of evidence to include the infamous “plant gun.” We know about NSA (No Such Agency/Never Say Anything) which is authorized by (FISA) court orders to esearch and eseize things that, says the court but not little Edgar, can get us all killed. Ah, but that is the cyberwar against terror and Vladimir the Terrible. What about metadata that is used to build a database of connections that give us a broad picture of who in America is talking to who in the ISIS lands? If it’s OK for Amazon, is it OK for US? Personal note: I love NSA. I think it’s the crown jewel of our intelligence community that keeps the other agencies (OK so the CIA) street legal.
The Fifth Amendment prevents self incrimination . “ I want my lawyer! I know my rights!” Do you? Then why are you talking to a police officer without waiting to be “Mirandized?” The Fifth (and also the Fourteenth Amendment) guarantee s that “…no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”
The Tenth Amendment is the catchall that says that any power not specifically reserved to the Federal Government shall revert to the states. What does that mean? Some have used it to justify taxation. Some have used it to justify rebellion against taxation. The South used it to justify secession. The North used it to crush rebellion.
But here’s the thing. Modern people have used these amendments to extract from the Bill of Rights a Right of Privacy. When the (George W.) Bush administration nominated the conservative Robert Bork for the Supreme Court, he went before the Democratic led Senate Judiciary Committee and said there is no right of privacy in the U.S. Constitution. There are, he said, only elements of a right of privacy. We could probably construct a right of privacy with yet another constitutional amendment. Needless to say – for good or for ill — his nomination was not confirmed by a Democratic senate. We can get more on privacy from the Common Law with all its confidentialities. There is husband wife confidentiality and lawyer client privilege and doctor patient privacy. That, of course, is the biggy in Roe v. Wade. Wait a minute! Hold it! The right of privacy used by Roe V. Wade is in contention, but the right to life in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments is not? Just using my First Amendment rights here to ask a question.
The Progress Party would like to address and resolve 230 years of conflict and ambiguity by taking the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, all the other amendments, and all the Supreme Court decisions and unify to ordain and establish a Constitution 21 that would be much more understandable and more intellectually and emotionally supportable than what we have now.
That was then and this is now, and from December, 1788 to January, 1789 we had our first presidential election. It took a month to cast and count the ballots but it wasn’t rigged! Then, in March, 1789, we had our first presidential inauguration. It was the easiest presidential election we have ever had. George Washington won, not by a landslide but by acclamation.
George Washington said he hoped that the United States would not have political parties. Actually, he said political factions and historians have said that he really meant political parties. I now believe he meant exactly what he said — political factions. Our parties today are factions serving as characters in a lurid melodrama. Nobody says “the government” anymore.
TV people have taught us all to say “the Pentagon” rather than the Department of Defense. The Armed Forces of the United States are “the forces of the Pentagon.” I imagine a mysterious figure gaining entry to the huge building by displaying a Pythagorean symbol inscribed on his palm. It is all so much more pretentious than what we used to say when I was there…things like “Fort Fumble” and “the five-sided puzzle palace.” The State Department is “Foggy Bottom,” a very apt title, taken from a Washington geographic area. The Congress of the United States with its United States Senate and its United States House of Representative is just “the hill.” Then, of course, there is the White House rather than the Presidency and the west wing rather than the Office of the President. The Supreme Court of the United States is the only one of them all to be called by its own stately name, despite the bizarre things that come out of it. The behavior is not worthy of the edifice. Actually, there are two techno thriller terms that are kind of cool, the thrilling POTUS and SCOTUS. Sounds like warring superheroes which they kind of are.
The election is rigged…by the media? What he meant by that is the election is heavily influenced by the media. I believe that. The many and great ones will interview a left liberal or, as we say today, “progressive” (more to come on the real Progressives in history) and “sit at his or her feet” like a disciple and let the guru expound without interruption or parry on to the logical conclusion of his or her thesis statement. But, when a spokesperson or candidate for the other side is interviewed, their statement is crushed, curtailed, interrupted, and –later, in the “panel discussion” – mocked and analyzed away to an unrememberable nothing.
Beware of hateful generalizations like “NAZI republicans leave town!” “Death to capitalism!” “Republicans are rapists, racists, and war mongers!” or “Democrats are queers, abortionists, and flag burners!” Is the Reichstag on fire? Is it Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) yet?
How dare I say Socialism is not progressive, but is it? It is also querulous hyper intellectuals gathered around the negotiating table looking down at the gross national product pie, slicing at the pie and at each other trying to adjudicate distribution of the pieces of the pie with no understanding or concern for how to bake a (bigger) pie. Capitalism must be something more than speculation, otherwise it is not free enterprise nor is it an engine of prosperity. It is a hot air balloon that flies away, out of control, until it crashes.
So now what? The center cannot hold and we are less than a month out from utter disarray in the presence of our adversaries (and, indeed, the Adversary). Actually, help is on the way. You can research thousands of references and comments regarding the formation of a new political party in the United States of America. Bob Dylan cried, “Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call. Don’t stand in the doorway. Don’t block up the hall.”
In the spring of 1814, an African-American slave in Baltimore, Maryland formed a remarkable intention. He decided to escape from slavery so he could join the U.S. Army and fight for America. What was he thinking?
I say African-American, but he was not black. The description of him in the “wanted” poster distributed by his master, Benjamin Oden of Odentown, Maryland, said:
$FORTY DOLLARS REWARD – for apprehending and securing in jail so that I get him again, NEGRO FREDERICK. Sometimes calls himself FREDERICK HALL, a bright mulatto; straight and well made; 21 years old; 5 feet seven or 8 inches high with a short chub nose and so fair as to show freckles. HE HAS BLUE EYES! He has no scars or marks of any kind that is recollected; his clothing when he left home, two months since, was homemade cotton shirts, jacket and pantaloons of cotton, and yarn twilled, all white. Since his elopement, he hired himself to Mr. Long, in Washington, as a waiter, where he stayed but a few days. It is likely he may still be in the city of Georgetown, or he may have gone to Alexandria or Baltimore. In the latter place he has an acquaintance, or a relation there sold about two years since to the Hon. Mr. Williams. This relation is a house servant to a (said) Mr. Williams, by the name of Frank who is also a mulatto, but not so fair as Frederick. See BENJAMIN ODEN, Prince George’s County.
Actually, Frank and Frederick Hall were half-brothers. Interesting (and typical) was their relationship as Frank was dark and Fred was light, so light as to have freckles, midnight blue eyes, and dark corn silk blonde hair. On the other hand, Frank had the more understandable African skin, eyes, features, and hair. Clearly they were from the same (all white) father and different (black or blackish) mothers and the genes expressed the way they did. Fred managed to get to the Williams home in Baltimore where his brother Frank hid him in the cookhouse across an alley from the outhouse.
Fred told Frank that he wanted to join the Army to go fight for America against the British. This was in the second year of the war of 1812. You (and any anti-establishment abolitionist of then or now) may well ask why would a “black” man choose to fight in a war defending a regime that enslaved him? Why would a black man fight against the force which gave one of its reasons for invading America as desiring to free the slaves? Compare this to a black man (like Colin Powell) going off to fight for America in Vietnam at the height of the civil rights revolution.
This leads us to the stories of two other African-American men… Frisby Harris and Mohammed Ali. At the same time that Frederick Hall was escaping from slavery so he could join the Army to fight for America, Frisby Harris was escaping from slavery so he could join the British Army (British Royal Marines actually) so he could fight against America. We can imagine the similar parallel of Colin Powell being a career Army officer and going to Vietnam twice and Mohammed Ali sacrificing his boxing career when he refused to go to Vietnam. This is not to say that Mohammed Ali was a traitor or fought for the other side against the United States. After all, he was a conscientious objector, but he felt no loyalty to the regime or to the society that created the regime and that was in the manner of Frisby Harris.
Frisby Harris helped the British raid plantations all around Baltimore in what the people of Maryland call the Peninsula (including the plantation from which he had escaped) only to find that most black people in slavery didn’t want to leave home and go with the British, even though the British promised them good lives with good jobs in Bermuda. When the British lost the war, Frisby Harris was an exile and he lived out his life in first Bermuda and then Nova Scotia.
Frederick Hall joined the Army under the name of William Williams. His brother had hidden him in the Williams home in Baltimore, so Fred took the last name of Williams and gave himself the first name of William just on a whim. He decided to call himself Billy, Billy Williams. He joined the 36th infantry Regiment of the regular U.S. Army. His first and only assignment was to help defend Fort McHenry. The artillery major who contracted with the women who made him the giant flag and who commanded the garrison put the 36th down by the water where they could man an artillery battery and also repel an amphibious attack. Billy became good friends with his fellow gun crew members. Indeed, he had more friendship and brotherhood there than anywhere else in his young life (a common outcome for black men in the Army or Marines in Vietnam as well).
During the day and the night of the great battle, in the rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air, with the actual Star Spangled Banner waving over his head, Billy Williams (Frederick Hall) joined with his “brothers” to man his gun, firing at the British battleships trying to break into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Just as the battle was ending, a British cannonball clipped off his leg and he bled to death.
Who was happy and who was sad? Who lived well and who lived poorly? Francis Scott Key wrote his poem which became the song which became the anthem. He asked,
And where is that band (the British) who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more (because they would have dragged us back into the British Empire)!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution (The invaders were killed, many of them).
No refuge (Burmuda, Nova Scotia) could save the hireling and slave (Frisby Harris and even British youths who had “taken the king’s shilling” or American collaborators)
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave (even though Billy Williams was dead, buried somewhere just outside Fort McHenry by his loving [white] friends)!
Food for thought as we watch football.
Read all about it in The Star Spangled Banner by Tip Boxell on Amazon.com.
The true story of the real people who made and defended the giant Star-Spangled Banner is full of tender, romantic love stories. Who knew? Check it out.
Francis Scott Key, poet, orator, lawyer, and lay preacher, grew up in Frederick, Maryland. He fell in love with a beautiful girl named MaryTayloe Lloyd and married her In 1802 when He was 22 and she was 17. By the time of the great battle where Francis Scott Key saw that “our flag was still there,” the Keys had had eight children over 12 years of marriage, all of which lived and flourished over many exciting experiences. The Keys would go on to have three more children for a total of 11 and were, by all accounts, a Washington power couple, gorgeous and accomplished and very much in love.
The sister of Francis Scott Key, Anne Ross Key, married Francis’ boyhood friend from the plantation next to his, Roger Taney. Roger and Anne had many children In their long life together as Roger rose from his law partnership with his brother in law through the levels of the judicial system to become, after her death alas, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Yes, it is true that this is the Roger Taney who delivered the majority opinion in the “Dred” Scott case. Roger’s role in that case is very different from what you have always heard. You need to learn all about him in our “Epilogue.”
One of the defenders of Baltimore through the thunder and lightning and lashing rain and rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air of that terrible and glorious night was a free man of color named George Roberts. He had a Bahamian wife and a sweet new baby. Apparently he came in from the sea where he was a privateer sailor just enough to start a family. To the end of his days he would march proudly in Baltimore’s “Defenders Day” parade, wearing his tattered uniform.
And, of course, critical to our story, is the President of the United States, James Madison, and his gracious southern belle wife, Dorothea Payne (“Dolley”) Madison. She loved her husband and protected him and helped him and supported him against all his many political opponents (does this sound like our present President and First Lady?) Dolley Madison was born to be a gracious hostess of a great house and so she crafted her role as the president’s wife in what was then called the “Presidential Mansion.” She was our nation’s first First Lady.
So there you have it… sweet love and harmonious marriage and rollicking family life in the midst of the most Immediate threat to the existence of the United States and the purest battle in defense of “our loved homes” that we have ever known.
Love Conquers All, Happy Valentine’s Day!
Holiday Wishlists should include the exciting new second edition release of THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER!
This amazing “tale of two cities,” tells of the already corrupt, weak Washington wrecked by hateful factions & the strong nearby defender, Baltimore. Let us remember that Baltimore which saved us through the higher power of COMMUNITY…
Get your own copy of this historical novel of our amazing true story at AMAZON: