Tag Archives: America

comrade-obama

Christianity and Progressivism

In a discussion at Citizen Tom’s excellent blog, he laments the loss of Christianity (along with politics) as even a topic of popular discussion. In the middle of a long and thoughtful post, with which I largely agree, he notes:

Unfortunately, with each succeeding generation, as a people we have had less success passing Christian beliefs onto the next. Therefore, even though the Bible is still a bestseller, in too many homes the Bible has become a table ornament, not a book that deserves careful and devoted study. As consequence, the values Americans once cherished, the respect we showed for each others God-given rights, have no moral foundation upon which they can now rest.

I responded there with the following observations and example:

I think that it is worth remembering that the scourge of progressivism in the United States was brought about by (mostly) God-fearing men. This is not to blame Christianity, but merely to observe that for most of the past century and a quarter there was little or no connection between belief in God (or absence of that belief) and the rise of socialist/statist bureaucracy and similar other plagues that progressives have wrought.

An example can be drawn from an early and very famous progressive, one who was tremendously influential and who was considered a quintessential Republican. Teddy Roosevelt’s speech here sounds good at first, until he reveals that he (as a proud progressive) would “grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used.”

Note that if it is not “well used,” Roosevelt felt empowered to take it and use it in a way he considered better. He just needed laws to do this … or perhaps not. He described what he meant by “well used”:

It is not even enough that it should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community. This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in governmental control is now necessary.

So what did Teddy Roosevelt mean by “honorably obtained”? This:

No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar’s worth of service rendered—not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective—a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.

These ideas — income tax and estate tax — were years before Amendment 16. He had farmers in his sights as well:

In particular, there are strong reasons why the Departments of Agriculture of the various states, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the agricultural colleges and experiment stations should extend their work to cover all phases of farm life, instead of limiting themselves, as they have far too often limited themselves in the past, solely to the question of the production of crops.

To his credit, TR’s idea of welfare was only for those who deserved it:

The fundamental thing to do for every man is to give him a chance to reach a place in which he will make the greatest possible contribution to the public welfare. Understand what I say there. Give him a chance, not push him up if he will not be pushed. Help any man who stumbles; if he lies down, it is a poor job to try to carry him; but if he is a worthy man, try your best to see that he gets a chance to show the worth that is in him … We keep countless men from being good citizens by the conditions of life with which we surround them.

Roosevelt stated at the beginning of his speech that people would likely brand him a communist for what he was saying. He used Lincoln’s labor quote, but Lincoln was not inclined to nationalize industries to control capitalism.

But at the time time, the Christian Broadcasting Network and others have pointed out that TR was a man of profound faith:

CBN.com – One thing I have come to appreciate about Theodore Roosevelt is something that largely has been neglected by many history books. That is, the aspect of his fervent Christian faith. In some ways, he might be seen as the most Christian and the most religious of all presidents.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Constitutional Repair

In another blog, by the estimable Citizen Tom, I engaged a pretend conservative who regularly haunts that site. The discussion post, entitled What Do We Need to Do?, raised the issue I wrote about yesterday: How do we fix the current political problems that arise from erosion of the Constitution? Citizen Tom later promoted this comment to its own blog post.

Before we get into my reply to faux conservative “scout,” let’s talk about other alternatives: Continue reading

Constitutional Concerns

The US Constitution does not need to be replaced or scrapped, as a number of folks on the left have suggested going back to President Woodrow Wilson. It does not need to be cured of its fatal flaws, so that Obama can implement redistribution of wealth and “break free” from the negative liberties placed by the founding fathers to prevent this, as Obama said in 2001.

Nevertheless, there are major problems with our current government. Some examples after a design overview: Continue reading

IndependenceDay

Happy Fourth of July!

Long-time readers will recognize this piece from a few years back. I apologize for my absence here; some health challenges remain, and there are other issues to contend with as well. But I do not think I am done yet.

The Independence Journey

Tomorrow I travel
Across this great land
And try to unravel
How all this began

I look to the mountains
And gaze at the sea
Are these where the fountains
Of freedom might be?

The fields full of crops
The deep sylvan glade
The bustling shops
Where the future is made

The skyscrapers soaring
The bridges, the ships
The Space Shuttles roaring
On million-mile trips

But harvest, invention,
Our tools and our crafts
Are not the intention
Contained in those drafts…

“United States” seems
Like a common phrase now
But once it was dreams
Born from deep thinking brow

As the Founders grew weary
Of rough distant rule
And taxes and tariffs
Provided the fuel…

Independence declared!
Hear the bell as it rings!
That proud history shared
Isn’t based on mere “things”

The new nation caught
And flamed bright in their hearts
And though doubters still thought
That such disparate parts

Could never be coached
Or formed into one
Still ideas, once they’re broached
Sometimes see the job done

Through blood and through sweat
And through fear, war and strife
They struggled, and yet
Freedom loved, more than life

So they crafted a code
That gave people a voice
That gave promise to all
And the world, a new choice

By the people’s consent
A Republic was born
And with blood sorely spent
Broke the shackles we’d worn

Then we prospered and grew
In this fair rugged land
And to build straight and true
All the folks lent a hand

The foundation they laid
Is a strong, steady place
And the price that they paid
Gave us strength, hope, and grace

And still our Constitution
Guides the Land of the Free
And provides the solution
That made all of this be

And at last I can see
How our strength came about
Founders fought to be free
With hearts noble and stout

And they carried the day
And they brought it to us!
And we now, in our way
Undertake this great trust

For Americans make
Our America great
So I’ll pause and I’ll take
One more moment to state:

My dear friends reading here
Don’t forget where you are
We’ll defeat hate and fear
And we yet will go far

We each have work to do
(Not just do, but know why)
Now, to each one of you
Happy Fourth of July!

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Google_MemorialDay_2014

Google Immemorial

They were briefly shamed into it, but for most of Google’s existence this anti-US, stridently left-wing organization has refused to commemorate anything to do with the United States military.  They’ll celebrate other US holidays (see below), though often grudgingly. For example, they used the lyrics from the famous communist Woody Guthrey for Independence Day. That’s fairly excusable, as most Americans don’t realize the song’s origin, nor are they aware of other (socialist flavored) lyrics of the piece.

This  year, they’ve covered themselves by adding a tiny Memorial Day logo down the page.

Google_MemorialDay_2014

It has no link, and might not even be noticed by most users. But now, technically, they can say “We DID celebrate it! What’s your problem?” No “Google Doodle” of course, and nothing like their treatment of Really Important Events like Andy Warhol’s birthday. Perhaps I should be grateful for this small morsel, and consider myself satisfied.

I’ve written about this Google peculiarity on previous occasions. The latter link busts the notion of Google skipping US holidays because they are “international.”

And in  November of 2006, I wrote about their political leanings:

Google’s givers go Democratic:

Google employees gave $207,650 to federal candidates for last year’s elections, up from just $250 in 2000 when it was still a start-up. And 98% went to Democrats, the biggest share among top tech donors, a new USA TODAY campaign finance analysis shows.
* * *
But Google giving could soar. The Silicon Valley company’s initial public offering last August minted scores of millionaires among its 3,000 workers, giving them more to lavish on politics. That makes Google a Capitol Hill force, with sharply different implications for the two main political parties, says Larry Noble, head of the Center for Responsive Politics.

It seems likely to me that this is not a coincidence. I wonder if Google’s staff, when they saw the article, might have decided to hunt down that 2%. Of course, they might have been Green Party..

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

MemorialDay_Reagan

Memorial Day

Memorial Day we gather and pay homage to our fallen
Who gave themselves completely in response to duty’s callin’
Some joined to see the world, some thought “Adventure! Education!”
And others drawn by kinship with the proud that guard our nation

But trials and training molded them into a joined precision
That holds our cause in high esteem, and suffers no division
Our military crew stands tall, and ready for the battle
And ready, too, to give their all, impervious to rattle

They serve in combat, serve in peace, and make of one the other
Rebuilding schools to grant a lease of freedom to a brother
The tasks they face are sometimes grim, and few of us would choose them
And each one stands his place, and we are poorer when we lose them

But richer still are we, for still we keep Liberty’s fire
Not just for those at home — those far away know we won’t tire
And countries ‘cross the globe recall when we came to release
Oppressed ones from their bondage, and we brought a well-earned peace

Unlike the conquerors of times before, we keep no soil
Just what we need for plots to lay our soldiers freed from toil
Instead we show by doing that the freedom’s worth the cost
We mourn our dead, then lift our heads, go on without our lost

The brothers and the sisters of our noble fighting forces
Will tolerate no failures, and swift justice runs its courses
When someone fails the Code, and shames his uniform and brothers
There is no choice — deal with him harshly — we owe this to others

But all will bear in mind, for every wretched wreck decried
Ten thousand strong and more will earn our faith, and earn our pride
Indeed, we owe our troops far more than we can ever pay
But thanks to all who served, and fell — on this Memorial Day.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

450px-Judy_Garland_John_Hodiak_The_Harvey_Girls

Old hands

I am older than most folks. I got into computers relatively early, and was making my living from computers full-time by the mid-1970s. While I am not big on social media per se, I did get involved with LiveJournal early on, and was one of its first lifetime paid users as it was rocketing into popularity (before MySpace and FaceBook and Twitter). So this recent XKCD strip was a bit poignant: Continue reading

ObamaChristianNation

Christian Nation?

The US is not a Christian nation by official founding proclamation, and religious freedom was wisely important to the founders of the country. In this sense, the US is unlike many countries in the Middle East whose constitutions proclaim them to be Islamic nations bound by strict religious (Sharia’h) law.

Nevertheless, there are countless US Supreme Court rulings that note in dicta that the US is “a Christian nation” and formulations to similar effect; these go back to the earliest court opinions. To this day, the Supreme Court opens with the supplication “God save the United States and this honorable Court.” Continue reading