Friday, August 28, 2015

A Funny Definition of Winning on AP American History Standards



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The Wall Street Journal posted an article recently entitled "Hey Conservatives, You Won." The article discussed recent changes made to the Advanced Placement U.S. History standards used by High Schools across the nation. The article made the point that the College Board, who writes the standards, recently moved the standards far to the left but backed off due to widespread backlash against the changes. Their latest revision to the standards include many changes that should be lauded by conservatives.

In the Localist view, the WSJ article misses the whole point. It obsesses on the battle for the Left-Right political spectrum, but completely ignores the just-as-important Up-Down spectrum. The real problem is not what particular standards the College Board picks. Its not even that the hard-left College Board is the entity which picks the standards. The real problem is the national standards themselves. National standards are the antithesis of educational freedom. Parents and citizens feel like they have no control over the standards - because they don't. The decisions are all made by people too far away from the individual for them to have an impact. The only way they can even pretend to have a say in the outcome is to join some collective which lobbies the national rule-makers. Centralization of power therefore makes operational collectivists of us all, even if we dislike collectivism as a philosophy.

My analysis of the left-right battle on these standards is simple. Conservatives are putting themselves in position to lose simply by accepting the template that dickering over national standards run by the College Board is the place to fight. The fight should be on whether we even have national standards for AP history, not on what particular standards by the College Board (or any other single entity) are chosen for all AP students in a nation of 320 million people. The unknown (to most Americans), un-elected and unaccountable persons on this board should not have more say over what the AP History Standards are in Pea Ridge, Arkansas than do the parents and school board of the Pea Ridge school district. As it is, the former has all control, and the latter none. That is the real problem, not what is or is not on the national list.

The College Board is hard left. They got some heat for pushing their view of things too far, so they backed off some. But they still write the standards for the whole nation. It is not like there are competing ideas of what standards should be that have a near-equal market share. They may have been pushed right for now, but when there is less attention on them they will more slowly push leftward. When one side wins by advancing their objective and the other side is strictly reactionary- defining "victory" as sometimes reversing the advances that the other side invariably initiates, then the ultimate outcome is not in doubt. This process is very similar to what I wrote on the Hegelian Dialectic. It is used all the time to slowly push a population one way or the other.

But maybe the people who really run our nation will one day decide that right-fascism is better for business than left-fascism. At that point the left will lose and the right will win. Either way, in the best case scenario almost half the nation will be unhappy. The localist solution is to reject the idea of top-down imposed national standards. Let the market pick the standards in each state, or even each school district. Many standards will be shared in common just because they are good standards, not because they are imposed.

Under localist ideas about education standards, parents in left-leaning areas will be happy, and so will those in right-leaning areas. Not only will they be happy, but they will have some say over what happens in that particular area of their lives. That's what we need more of. Right now individual people, left, right, or whatever, feel powerless. They feel like all decisions are made for them by "deciders" too far away for them to influence. They feel this way because it is this way, and becoming more so everyday. This is exactly what Localism seeks to change. The media only pays attention to the left-right axis. The up-down axis is at least as important.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why Traditionalists are Losing


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There are three main reasons that traditionalists are losing the battle for the culture, the government, and losing the Great Experiment in human liberty that was America itself. By definition, traditionalists tend to be resistant to change. But things have changed around them, and if they refuse to adjust to that fact with changes of their own they (we) are finished. Specifically, there are three things which they must be willing to change in order to reverse our national slide into ruin and depravity. If these were easy changes, we would have done them already and we would not be in this mess. Alas, the World is designed to test us and shape our character by the choices we make- the easy thing and the right thing are seldom the same. I will list the changes and what to do about it below.

1) The Church in America largely refuses to emphasize the Gospel.

In the long term, without the Gospel there will be tyranny. This was the norm for humanity before the Gospel arrived, it is still the norm in places where the Gospel never took wide root, and it is reverting to the norm in societies where the influence of the Gospel has waned. We are increasingly without the Gospel, so we are increasingly under tyranny. 

Christianity has been quietly usurped by what has been termed "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism" in our churches. Sermons have degraded into a series of tips about what you can do to have a better life. Passages of scripture are wrenched out of context to turn them into some kind of analogy about the parishioner and what sort of "to do list" will make them a better person. Somehow, the scriptures are not about God and His finished Work on the Cross anymore, they are about us and what we ought to do going forward. I am not saying there are not places for such lists, this article for example. I am just saying that when church becomes about that then, to paraphrase Jesus, it loses its saltiness and becomes fit for nothing other than what we see- being trampled underfoot by men.

Much of what poses as the Church has rejected the Gospel once delivered in favor of a neo-salvation by works. This is because much of our population prefers justification by "works" in the form of synthetic moral outrage over whatever the mass-media labels as the villain of the day. They would rather have a to-do list, so long as it is not too burdensome and changes to suit the tastes of the day, than accept they are not righteous in themselves and will never be "righteous" unless that righteousness is imputed to them via Christ. They have been programmed to look within for their moral compass. Scripture teaches "what is within" only consistently points in the right direction after it has been informed by what comes from Above.

America was not founded as a "Christian Nation", but it was founded as "A Nation of Christians".   Yet today the "Good News" that God has paid the price for our sins and offers forgiveness and justification by Faith is a "stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense" to a culture which is put off by the idea that they have done anything which needs forgiving and recoils at the thought they should have faith in anything beyond their own feelings. "Sin" and "Repentance" are not words we hear often from most pulpits yet they are necessary pre-conditions to forgiveness and the righteousness which can only come from above. 

This sickness has profound implications for society and government. Only a soul which has been set free by the knowledge that we do not have to earn our righteousness is able to consistently do what is necessary in order to have a free society- the right things for the right reasons, even when no one is looking and even when it means admitting that we have been wrong beforehand. Trying to do the right thing for religious "points" or to impress some institutional authority has a terrible track record of producing freedom and good government in the civil sphere. One trying to earn their salvation by works will be loathe to admit mistakes, for this would set them further back in their goal. One who knows their salvation is not based on their works can admit error and change course more readily, for they were never counting on their works anyway. 

Cultures immersed in the Gospel, though still far from Heaven, have the best track record of producing liberty in all of human history. This is because 1) citizens in such nations perform right works for the right reason even when no religious figure is giving them points for it, and 2) because humility and willingness to change when one sees that they have been wrong is built into the gospel and kneaded into the psyche of those who accept it, and 3) looking outside oneself to time tested guidance to determine what is right and wrong is far superior in producing productive behavior than being what the Old Testament calls "the self-confident fool" who looks only to their own feelings or the changing fads of their own day for moral direction.

What to do about it: We may not have much say about what goes on in our culture these days, but we have all the say in what type of church we support. Even if it did not matter for civil society, Christians should emphasize the Gospel for God's sake. Insist that your church stress the centrality of the Gospel. If they don't, leave them and support one which does. That Christians have stayed, for whatever reason, in "Churches" whose pulpits have forsaken the gospel is the number one reason our nation is in the condition that it is in.

2) Traditionalists have refused to seek out an over-riding philosophy of government by which they can evaluate all candidates and public policy proposals. 

Traditionalists have been reactionary. They tend to see public policy in bits and pieces. In cases where they put things together, it is often a situation where they have discovered a plan with wide-ranging implications that they are against, without developing an over-riding philosophy of what they are for. Knowing only what you are against without understanding why in a larger philosophical context is a guaranteed path to defeat.

For one thing, it means you are "always playing defense". You can't win in a situation where when something terrible is proposed you get roused and try to stop it. That is what I mean by "reactionary." If you lose, you lose. If you "win" it just means  you were back where you were before. The bad guys just wait for a chance to try it again.

Another consequence of failing to adopt an over-all philosophy of government to which you can compare all proposed policies is that traditionalists fail to recognize changes which set them up for defeat later. They don't notice when something is done which shifts the battlefield so that conditions will be against them when the actual battle is fought. Because of this, by the time they react and the battle takes place, it is already lost. 

This is connected to yet another consequence of a refusal to adopt an overall philosophy of government to which one can compare any proposal is that traditionalists are much more easily fooled by politicians who exploit them for support but betray them when its crunch time. This is easy to do to people who only have a few hot button issues: "if you are pro-life and pro-gun and say you support traditional marriage then I support you." 

It is all too easy for a politician to mimic the right answer on those few issues while voting against your interests on every other issue and even doing subtle things which will lead to defeat on your pet issues down the line. They will refuse to take a stand against judges who will "bench legislate" those issues so they don't have to, they will support structural changes in education and corporate law so that the cultural field of battle is shifted further away from you years down the road, and when the time for the battle comes they will offer weaker and less eloquent support than you assumed they would when your side goes crashing down to defeat. 

The truth is, they always voted against your interests except for the three issues you were watching, because they were never with you. And when its crunch time, they will do the minimum possible to retain credibility as your side goes down to defeat, or if necessary even change their position. 

What to do about it: Connect the dots. Adopt a comprehensive philosophy of government. At the very least adopt a connected set of principles to which you can compare all policy proposals and the record of anyone who is nominated for a position of authority. Naturally, as someone who has written two books about philosophy of government, I hope that you choose a philosophy which is similar to that which I hold. "Localism, A Philosophy of Government" and "Localism Defended" are those two books by the way. But even if you choose some other comprehensive philosophy of government, choose something. One further note: This retreat from connected thought in government philosophy is paralleled by what has happened in theology which has contributed to the church going off the rails.

3) Traditionalists have out-sourced the job of protecting our liberties and looking out for our interests to one of two private political clubs run by people in D.C. who don't know us and are funded by global, not even American, corporations and interests.

The two party system is not in the Constitution. Quite the opposite. George Washington and other founding fathers warned us against the dangers of parties. I have often made the case that not only is it not working for us, but that in the long run it cannot work for us. The intent of the Founders to set up a government of checks and balances is necessarily undermined by a unitary party system- that is, a party system in which the same institution puts forth candidates for both the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch.....for both the State Governments and the Central Government. 

Large institutions are subject to "capture", that is, being co-opted by an agenda which is at odds with the agenda for which the institution was ostensibly created to advance. Indeed once an institution gets big enough to be supported by a large bureaucracy that bureaucracy will put its own well-being ahead of whatever interests the institution was originally designed to advance. Therefore there is an inherent struggle between the will of the individuals who form a collective entity for some purpose and the will of the "conglomerate being" that is the bureaucracy which runs that collective entity. National political parties are not exempt from this tendency, and may be among the most susceptible to it.

As a rule the larger collective that one must join in order to have a say in things, the more diluted that voice will be. With institutions as large as a national party, the "conglomerate being" can become larger than the individuals which make it up. Our national party system forces us all to be operational collectivists, even if we are joining a party to express our opposition to collectivism! 

We have invested 100% of whatever political capital we have in supporting a national party hoping they would take care of us. They have not taken care of us, they have taken care of themselves by looting our children while either doing nothing to stop or even helping those who are despoiling our culture by taking the laws of the state further and further from the moral order of heaven. 

Thomas Jefferson said "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."  We have either bought into the con-job that Jefferson was wrong, that we can trust strangers in DC to perform our due diligence. 

What to do about it: You start locally and don't entrust a large institution with the job of defending your liberty. If you are only choosing among the candidates which they select for you, you have no choice at all. Get some of your friends together and pick an office where you think the incumbent is doing a poor job, then recruit some respected person to run against them as an Independent. Don't pick a state-wide office, but start with the state legislature or a County Office. Independents are starting to win a few places now, and with a little help it could turn into an avalanche.

If people in other places do the same, a spontaneous network that can't be bought our or captured because it is not a hierarchy will emerge.  The existing parties will either lose it it as the network gets better and  better or the parties will start listening to the people again to keep from losing. It will probably be a combination of both. If you live in my home state, Neighbors of Arkansas supports this model and has information about how to get on the ballot as an independent. Or start something like it where you live.

The one thing you should not do is go join one of the existing parties and get stuck serving chicken dinners at their fund raisers for ten years while other people pick their candidates. They have well-thought out ways to divert the energy of citizens who decide they need to get involved. It is all about candidate selection, and the people that run those parties now will be in your way every step of the process.

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For your children's sake and mine, I wish blessings on your journey back to your heritage and birthright as an American - the right to govern ourselves.







Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Author Bill Kauffman Talks About Localism


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Part two.

Part three.

His view on the subject seems to be less comprehensive on the details of how it might be protected, but he certainly waxes eloquent on the why.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Coming War on Cash is Checkmate on Human Freedom

   
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When I was born the common coin of my country was made of silver, and dollars held by the other nations of the world could be exchanged for gold - one ounce of gold for thirty-five dollars. Real wealth was embedded into the money because it was made of something which would have been considered valuable even if it were not used as money. Now, in my lifetime, the silver is gone from our hands and the gold is gone. It has been replaced by debt, that they say that we owe to them.

It astounds me that year after year people all over the world trade their real goods and services for little slips of paper that a privileged few in Washington can just spit out of a printing press.  Is it any wonder that over time more and more wealth and power has been sapped from the people in the heartland and been gathered by those in Washington and the banks closely associated with them who are nearest this Magic Money Machine? If one will think about it, in the long run no other outcome is possible. This is why fiat currency, not just debt-based but any fiat currency, is so detested by Localists and others.

Our fraudulent fiat dollar system really collapsed in 2008, and was only temporarily reanimated via the open lawlessness of "Quantitative Easing" - the conjuring of $11 trillion dollars out of thin air by the pressmasters. That newly created money to save "the financial system" (read the giant fraud created to strip the American middle class of its wealth) was covered by the corresponding creation of public debt. Americans were loaded with trillions more debt in order to save the very system which is slowly stealing all of their wealth.

The protest movements created by this desperation move, Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party, should have been supported by almost all Americans who were not in on the looting. It should have resulted in the total destruction of the two captured political parties and the emergence of new (hopefully decentralized) political structures to replace them. Instead, both movements have been mostly marginalized and co-opted by the existing terminally corrupt political clubs. It is as if citizens in Sicily had gotten enough of the Mafia and formed a protest movement or two against it, only to have them seduced into thinking that the best way to stop the Gambinos from looting your country is to join the Mafia and "reform it from within."

Americans lost their chance to start a much needed Second American Revolution, and as a result have been backed further into a corner. The elites know that the financial system they have created has defrauded over a hundred million people of their wealth and is failing all but those most connected to it. That is why they are doubling down on the police state, and collecting data on the communications of all Americans. They are preparing for the crackdown once people realize what has been done to them.

They are literally waging a war on freedom, because with freedom comes the power to change one's circumstances and resist/change one's government. They know that once Americans figure out what has been done to them, they will want to change ruling classes. Their solution is to make freedom impossible so as to make change impossible.

That is why it is not enough that they can buy up the real goods of the whole earth with little bits of paper which only have value because they say so. Taking away actual money- gold and silver, was not enough. Making us debt slaves to bits of paper is not enough.  You see even paper money offers some measure of freedom, and some escape from scrutiny. The guilty often have a fear about what those they have wronged might be doing. That is why they have restricted the use of cash for transaction. Even former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert faces years in prison for the "crime" of making bank with drawls of his own money in a manner designed to evade the bank's mandatory reporting requirements of cash with-drawls over $10,000, and lying to the FBI about the reason.

That's right. We now live in a nation where our banks are required by law to spy on us and report us if we withdraw more than $10,000 in cash at once. And we can be imprisoned for the "crime" of withdrawing our own money in a way that avoids triggering this limit. They want all of our money in the banking system, where they can monitor it or confiscate it. They can't have the people they are cheating making a bunch of transaction that they don't know about, why that's "terrorism." They don't even want you taking it out and sitting on it. That is a way of expressing "no confidence" in the system. They want to force you to put that money back in the system. Either in the rigged financial markets, or a bank where they can hyper-leverage it to keep the illusion of solvency up a little longer.

There is a war on physical cash coming because it is a vital part of the war on human freedom. The elites want all of our business monitored, and all of our transactions approved. The independence of actual physical cash, even cash issued by them, is still considered by our ruling class (driven insane with power and guilt) to be too much freedom for them to be comfortable with. We are going to be driven to a cash-free society, where all "currency" is in the system in the form of digits. Once there is no means to conduct transactions without their knowledge, there is no ability to act without their approval.  Resist, while you still can.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The One Party with Two Faces in Operation: GOP Senate Gives Obama More Authority on TPP


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Breitbart and others report that the Republican controlled senate voted to give Democrat President Barack Obama more authority to negotiate America into the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It is nice to know that the Democrat Administration and the Republican senate can put aside their differences long enough to further destroy America's middle class and trade our national sovereignty off to the global corporations which fund both of their private political clubs.

The Breitbart article noted that all of the amendments meant to cushion the blow of giving this authority to Obama were defeated, including the one Senator Ted Cruz said was necessary to avoid using the TPP as an end-run around U.S. immigration law. Cruz (who is obviously not eligible for the Presidency) went ahead and voted to give Obama the extra power anyway. Almost all of them did. On issues of globalism vs. national sovereignty, the American people have no political choice and if they favor national sovereignty over globalism, no political representation.

Localism opposes in principle all multi-party trade agreements since they cannot help but transfer national authority to a supra-national body unaccountable to national citizens. Trade agreements should be bilateral only. Localism also has specific measures designed to prevent global corporations from taking over a national economy and by extension a nation's political system. But I digress. The point of this article is to provide yet more overwhelming evidence that when it really matters, our current political "choice" is a fraud designed to placate us into believing we are self-governing while in fact all important decisions are taken out of our hands.

If we want representation, we are going to have to quit out-sourcing the job of looking out for our interests to these fake D.C.-based and globally funded political "parties" and revert to self-government. An example of how that might be done is discussed in the Third Pillar of Localism, and the first tentative steps to put it into practice can be found by example in groups like this.



Friday, May 15, 2015

Localism Defended; The Narrow Path Between Anarchy and the Central State




"Localism Defended" has gone to press. Link to Kindle E-book is here. The print edition should be available from that link in a few days.

The title says “Localism Defended” but the book is really a defense of all forms of what might be called “Limited Government Conservatism”, or even “Classical Liberalism.” These philosophies need defending because they are under attack, not only by proponents of a leviathan state on one side, but by a rising tide of anarchists and the more absolutist shades of libertarianism on the other. 

If you believe in limited government, but not so limited as anarchists or many libertarians advocate, then this book is for you. It presents a rational defense of the classic Western view of government. It also makes a compelling case as to why the foundations of anarchist and libertarian thought are, if not certainly wrong, at least not necessarily correct. This provides those with a classical view of government the tools to forge alliances based on mutual respect with Libertarian-leaning persons who are willing to work for common goals even if we have some ideological disagreements. This book also lays out the intellectual case needed to defeat the aggressive assertions of the more extreme elements of the libertarian movement as to what government should and should not be allowed to do. 

This is done in two main ways, one part in showing why such ideas are not necessary intellectually and the other in giving specific examples of why they won’t work practically. On the other extreme, the book also lays out a stinging analysis of the categories of supporters of the current leviathan state. 

In the preceding book, “Localism, a Philosophy of Government”, author Mark Moore offered a blueprint by which limited government might be kept limited rather than repeating the dreary pattern of each generation finding itself under a government larger and more centralized than the one preceding it. Localism is the means of keeping government within reach of the individual citizen structurally, “Localism Defended” provides the arguments needed to advance ideas about such government intellectually.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Global Corporations Now Weigh In On All Laws in All Jurisdictions



"Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains." - Thomas Jefferson

Why does a global corporation headquartered in New York state bother to weigh in on what the laws on religious freedom in Louisiana ought to be? It used to be that giant corporations would only lobby for laws which gave them a potential marketplace advantage. They would push for regulations which they could handle put which would push out smaller competitors. They would ask for laws which mandated the use of their products. They were so successful at this that many of us rightfully began to wonder who was making the rules, real natural persons or artificial (state created) entities called "corporations?" The latter now seem to have more access to government rule makers than the real live citizens that government was ostensibly created to serve. (Localism talked about this problem, and what to do about it, in some depth).

Now we see that corporate governance is expanding to a new level. Commercial corporations are no longer limiting themselves to laws which directly affect their industry or advance their commercial interests. They now presume an unlimited degree of latitude in informing states as to what state law might be on any subject, whether it is in their commercial area or not, even in states outside of the ones in which the parent company is incorporated. If citizens do not act to stop it, this is the dawning of a new era of unlimited corporate governance.

I refer to the recent "warning" that IBM issued to the state of Louisiana about a proposed bill which purports to be a "religious freedom" bill. I am skeptical about it because my own home state of Arkansans sought to pass a similar measure which I considered mostly political grandstanding. The one possible bit of change that the bill in question would have allowed was rejected by Wal-Mart. Oh technically it was rejected by Governor Asa Hutchinson, but he had announced he was ready to sign the thing until Wal-Mart called him and told him to take out the one bit of change. Both he and the legislature went to embarrassing lengths to comply. 

But as sorry as that is, at least Wal-Mart has its world headquarters in Arkansas. I am not sure who is more embarrassed about that, them or me. I don't shop there because I reject their corporate philosophy of cheapness ahead of quality, plus their stores are getting rather nasty and unpleasant places to shop.  I wish my state was known for some of the many positive things we have going for us instead of what that chain has now become, but I digress.

 IBM might counter that although their headquarters are in New York, they are building a $55 million software development center in Baton Rouge which "could create 800 jobs". Yes, that New York corporation is indeed a guest doing business in that state. But it is extremely poor form for guests to come into one's home and start admonishing the host family about how they ought to conduct the business of their household. In addition, IBM will be extremely well compensated for their decision to locate in Louisiana. The state economic development commission combined with local governments has agreed to give them almost thirty million hard-earned taxpayer dollars to build this facility. In addition, the state has pledged to spend an addition $14 million on higher education in a way which will provide logistical help and support to IBM. 

So thank to the people of Lousianna, IBM is getting a $55 million facility for about eleven million dollars. And no sooner do they move in than they start lecturing the locals about how they ought to run their state. Were I a resident, I would be tempted to tell IBM to go do something to themselves that I would have a religious objection to baking a cake for! 

Note: it was the case in Washington State where a bakery was forced out of business, and the owners face fines and possibly imprisonment, for refusing to bake a cake celebrating a homosexual "wedding" which has people around the nation asking some hard questions about how much freedom they actually have to use their own property as they see fit. No matter where you stand on the particular issue involved, if you believe in private property, not just religious freedom, but freedom of association and are against involuntary servitude, then this campaign to force people to do things they don't wish to do should rub you the wrong way. 

More broadly speaking, Localism supports the idea that people in different places can have different ideas about what the rules ought to be, and so long as people stay under some authority of their own free will maybe we ought to be able to sleep at night even though people we have never met in a city that we have never been in are doing things differently.  We ought to respect that people can have different ideas about where the lines ought to be drawn instead of some central authority making the decision for all of us. Global corporations oppose this view- they tend to aggress against local self-determination because they are run by an upper echelon which naturally tends to an elitist view of the world.