Wish I'd said that!

In recent decades, the ACLU has used its so-called "wall" to fight tooth and nail to prevent government sponsorship of the Pledge of Allegiance, memorial crosses, Ten Commandments displays, nativity scenes, Bible displays, and virtually every other acknowdgement of America's religious heritage.

At the same time, it is worthwhile to note that there have been some instances in which the ACLU has endorsed public displays of religion. For example, When New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani threatened to cut taxpayer funding from the Brooklyn Museum of Art for displaying a painting of the Virgin Mary with cow dung and pictures of female sexual organs pasted all over her body, the ACLU was first in line to defend the display. U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon ruled that New York City's elected officials were not allowed to place conditions on the museum's funding.

In another instance, the ACLU offered its support to the taxpayer-funded National Endowment for the Arts, after the agency sponsored an art show featuring "Piss Christ" - an exhibit consisting of a crucifix submerged in a jar of urine.

In the ACLU's myopic world, it appears that the only permissible publicly-funded displays of religion are those which blatantly mock or disparage the Christian faith.

-- Indefensible: 10 Ways the ACLU is Destroying America, Sam Kastensmidt, 2006

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Change into what?

The 'fundamental transformation' of America is well underway and is accelerating. "How?" you might ask. Sadly, my response would be, "Pick a topic."

Of course we could talk about the economy endlessly and never cover it all, but let's focus on a small bite with a big effect:  In just the past couple of years more than 58,000 federal employees were added to the taxpayers' burden, even as the private business sector is increasingly squeezed, and the official jobless rate still hovers over 9.5 percent. Meanwhile commodity prices are heading for the sky, and Americans are finding it ever more difficult to make ends meet.

The Big Brother Channel. President Obama continues to polarize and isolate political opposition. One of the ways he is doing this is by attempting to draw every media venue into a homogenous big-government-favoring entity. The trend is becoming so obvious that even ABC couldn't avoid noticing. It notes that ”the White House Press Office now not only produces a website, blog, YouTube channel, Flickr photo stream, and Facebook and Twitter profiles, but also a mix of daily video programming, including live coverage of the president’s appearances and news-like shows that highlight his accomplishments.” 

According to one journalism professor who was interviewed, “They’re opening the door to kicking the press out of historic events, and opening the door to having a very filtered format for which they give the American public information that doesn’t have any criticism allowed.” Is it just me, or does that sound sort of Politburo-esque?

If we turn to the culture, it becomes obvious that the subtle shift over the past few decades is bearing bitter fruit. It is a trusim that a nation which forgets its past can be led to a very dark future. If you know the sci-fi story of "The Butterfly Effect," you begin to realize that a relatively small event can have a huge effect over time. This is especially applicable to nations (take a look at the spread of rebellion throughout the Mediterranean region).

Forty-three years ago, a seemingly innocuous law was passed by Congress; changing the celebration of George Washington's birthday into the generic, "Presidents' Day." Until that time, Washington's birthday had been celebrated with remembrance of the man's incredible moral character - this, before he was unfairly maligned for a generation of unwary students. Now, with most Americans even barely cognizant of Presidents' Day unless they get it off, the example Washington set for generations has largely been lost.

The results have been predictable. As teaching of the noble (albeit imperfect) character traits in our forefathers were ignored, downplayed, or historically corrupted by the schools and the entertainment media, personal morality, civil behavior, mutual respect and personal integrity have been too often displaced by avarice, back-stabbing, deceit, thievery, betrayal, and flagrant immorality, all barely disguised as "freedom," and an "every man for himself" attitude. We replaced the social restraint provided by a sense of shame with arrogant disregard for traditional social mores and an overinflated and false sense of self-entitlement. Whether or not this cultural decay was the planned outcome of simply changing the name of that legal holiday or merely coincidental, the effect, combined with other events, has been profoundly damaging to the cohesiveness and future prosperity of American (and Western) society.

Manual operation.  New York State has just released its Public Health Legal Manual, A Guide for Judges, Attorneys and Public Health Officials, designed to give authority and political cover for emergency measures that might need to be taken by government in the event of a plague, pandemic, radiological attack or other such event. It covers things like who is in charge, to what exent restraint or quarrantine may be used, how and what property may be seized, and other steps to mitigate the crisis.

All this forethought is well, good and necessary in the event of a true emergency. It is always better to have a plan than to not have one. However, as in all things political (and all things are eventually politicized), it depends on the agenda of the people in charge. And, given recent experience, that is something to be concerned with.

Strange bedfellows.  Here's an odd combination you might not have considered. It has been recently discovered that the 'green movement' had its roots in the Nazi Party during the 1930s. In fact, the popularity of the movement today, along with its attendant concerns over global warming and overpopulation, was popularized in the 1970s by a book written by Austrians Guenter Schwab and Werner Haverbeck, both members of the Nazi Party prior to and throughout World War 2. Just one more swell idea from those friendly Volks with the snappy salute.

Yeah, that'll work out well.  Do you remember Robert Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton?  He recently posted an interesting "If I were king" proposal, to raise marginal taxes on the rich by as much as 70 percent for incomes over $15 million, with a slightly decreasing sliding scale for the slightly less well-heeled. He seems to fondly recall the days when America's upper crust sat it out and allowed themselves to be bled relatively dry.

Let's try to imagine the results of such a proposal and the dramatic increase in the confiscatory taxation of the most productive members of society. Imagine someone who has worked hard and made many millions of dollars through patience, understanding of the marketplace, and due oversight of the operations of the principle means of that income; let's say, a factory, or a huge commercial farming interest.

Whereas the very rich of the past might be inclined to stay in the US and put up with it (let's say this is where their primary incomes - i.e., large farms and factories - are located) the advance of the globalist mindset,combined with a feeling of rich-baiting here and welcome abroad, would induce many more of the wealthy modern Americans to depart these shores for friendlier countries. This would do much to neuter the intent of Reich's plan by carrying those assets offshore. Many of the Hollywood elite, including Johnny Depp, Madonna, and others have set the example.

Another factor that may coincide with the acceptance of globalism is the diminished sense of patriotism that has been deliberately engendered over the past generation - the bitter fruits of the "hate America" crowd. Frankly, the new rich have been taught to be less rooted and more mobile than their forebears. Many of the very wealthy have already departed for countries where they are more appreciated, and where more of the factories are located, for those who still like to be where they can keep an eye on their holdings.

Reich actually admits that some of the rich will relocate, and in those cases he opines that, "Those who take their money abroad in an effort to avoid paying American taxes should lose their American citizenship." Perhaps he's right. After all, many of these expatriates are already thinking, "Why let patriotism stand in the way of common sense." Anyway, we've been systematically stripped of a lot of what made being an American stand apart from the rest of the world; our freedoms have been compromised, our national treasure squandered, our leaders ridiculed (either by themselves or by others), our children diseducated, our history distorted.  I'm frankly amazed that there are so many of us left who still dream of restoring the Dream. 
It's fascinating how the Left tries so hard to try and make the rest of us forget the past, and then try to dredge up those parts of it they think they can take advantage of. In this case, though, I think many Americans have moved on, taking their money with them and leaving self-consumed intellectuals like Reich with little more than fond memories of a time when it was easier to take advantage of the rich.

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