• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

Gov. Christie Taunts Media To Attend His Haircut Tomorrow….Promises His Hair Will Be Shorter

At a recent press conference where the New Jersey Governor challenged the rule providing teachers tenure ‘for life’  after three years of probation, invited  the press corps to attend his hair cut process……..a clever dig at the corp’s apparent inability to discern that some news is more important than other news.

The governor has been battling the exceedingly wealthy and politically strident New Jersey  teacher’s union in his efforts to reduce the state debt and excape its bankruptcy.    “Even the teacher’s union admits the (educational) system has failed” he said.  “They know the system is broken, but they can’t bare the medicine.”

Well, as a former public high school teacher, I believe  that union acknowledgement is a good “step one”.   I am somewhat worried about the Governor’s step two, which might and probably will include the removal to teachers’ tenure.  There has to be developed some degree of on-the-job-security for teachers.   Tenure is absolutely necessary for some period of time  in certain disciplines.   No parent or school official is going to fire a teacher willy-nilly over  algebra.  And, from my experience in teaching,   NO SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR can be trusted to defend worthy teachers if  parents or higher up administrators have an axe to grind to chop off a teacher’s head.  As devious as these administrators  are while running  schools in the present systems, think what their levels of dishonesty might be with their teachers if the teachers have no defense or security without something like tenure.

Teachers are NOT the main problem of the present public school system problems anyway.   They are the marines first to arrive on shore.   If any impr0vements are ever going to be made in public education the cleaning house has to begin with those bureaucrats and Bill Ayers types at the university departments of education who are supposed to be teaching teachers how to be qualified teachers rather than feeding them  the poisons of equal opportunity through Marxism.   

One might also consider making teacher salaries public and allowing those districts who desire to improve the qualities of their staffs to compete in the market for their services.   How about a bit of private enterprise to break the imprisonment of public education as it is today.

For the video of Governor Christie’s remarks regarding teacher tenure and his haircut schedule, please click below:


Jim Wallis…..Barack Obama’s Spiritual Advisor on Tour in the UK

(It is widely acknowledged that this Jim Wallis  is, indeed, a  Barack Hussen Spiritual Advisor.)

I wonder how many in our Dennis Prager fan base know the name Jim Wallis.  

He considers himself a reverend.    He is an Obamaman.  He speaks “God” stuff and believes America’s moral decline is caused by Fox News, and a corrupt Christianity which has fallen prey to Consumerism, Materialism and Nationalism.

Do you remember him, yet…..Yes, he has been nibbling in public for a long time.   How about his claim:  “Consumerism is a drug…..a drug of an unjust society.   It numbs our minds.”   How about….”We are now controlled by the right wing media back home…..led by Fox News and all the rest.”     As Dennis would exclaim….”He’s deep, really deep.”

Read the following information sheet at “HOPE together”:      

“American theologian and best selling author, described by the media as “Barak (sic)  Obama’s spiritual advisor’ summed up the British media as cynical; he’d a had interviews from the press, TV and radio, talking about consumerism, poverty and injustice following the launch of his new book Rediscovering Values (Hodder and Stoughton). 

 “Their response to me is “you are right Jim, but there is nothing we can do. We are just hurtling towards destruction, it will never change,” said Mr Wallis. 

“There are two types of people – the Saints and the Cynics – who see the world realistically. The difference is that the Saints make a choice to act in hope and the Cynics give you reasons for never acting. Cynicism is a buffer against commitment. 

 “Hope is not a feeling, or a mood, or being a cup half-full person. It is the decision you make and it comes from this thing we call faith. Hebrews said faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. My best paraphrase of that text is this: Hope is believing despite the evidence and watching the evidence change. Faith prompts hope; that causes action, and makes change.”

 The Justice Now tour, organised by partners Hope Together, Spring Harvest, Bible Society, Chapel St and Hodder and Stoughton, inspired those gathered to pursue justice in our world and be change makers. The tour visited Swindon, Nottingham and London. 

Roy Crowne said: “Jim Wallis rightly makes a big thing about this word hope. The time is now to choose to live in hope and share that hope with others. We live in a world where hope is scarce and we need to be people of hope who join together as Church to transform our communities.”

Comment:  Jim Wallis has been around for a long time every year adding tonnage to the weight of the ignorant, but hopeful Left.  He used to be called a Roman Catholic thinker, but after one dose of his Marxist disorientation, both terms were obviously false.

No one could be better sculpted as a Marxist ‘in drag’, than the shiverings of feeling emanating from  the form of Jim Wallis.  

Get to know Jim Wallis better.  Click on the tab below to see him perform  his act in the United Kingdom as a well known and highly respected American author.   Ask yourself if he could be Barack Obama’s “spiritual advisor”.   Perhaps he was send to Britain to make friends for the president in his fight against Glenn Beck.


Jim Wallis: Obama’s “Red” Spiritual Adviser

Posted by Dr. David Noebel | Thursday, March 26, 2009 | 5:10 pm CT

El Salvador has officially joined the Red regimes of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia. South America is turning Red, dark Red, and little is being said to alert North Americans of the encroaching Red plague. Perhaps that’s because North America is moving in the same direction. The president of the United States has surrounded himself with socialists, and some of those closest to him have had a part in turning South America Red.

According to the Associated Press (March 17, 2009), Mauricio Funes, the presidential candidate of the Farbundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) is the new head of the nation of El Salvador. Behind Funes “is a party of former Marxist guerrillas that fought to overthrow U.S.-backed governments in the 1980s and whose rise to power has raised fears of a communist regime in the war-scarred Central American country.”

The AP admits “ex-guerrillas will almost certainly form part of the Funes government, including Vice President-elect Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a rebel commander-turned-congressman.”

And then there’s the “drug” connection! Investor’s Business Daily reports that “last May, the FMLN confessed to ‘a relationship’ with Colombia’s drug-trafficking FARC Marxist terrorists after documents found on the computer of dead FARC chieftain Raul Reyes, killed in a 2008 raid, proved it” (March 16, 2009).

Funes, of course, says he’ll “govern moderately, more like Brazil ’socialist’ President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva than Venezuela’s radical [communist] Hugo Chavez.” Of course, this is what the Nicaraguan communist Daniel Ortega said, too, before he displayed his communist “proletariat morality” by hugging the communist dictators Castro and Chavez. Ortega and all his South American pals are hard-core Marxist-Leninists.

While all of this, of course, is relevant to an ardent free-market capitalist, what really frightens me is that Obama’s latest announced “spiritual adviser” has had connections with all these Marxist regimes. And who is the president’s latest adviser? The Rev. Jim Wallis.

Frontpage Magazine (March 17, 2009) reports, “The most notable of [Obama’s] spiritual advisers today is his friend of many years, Rev. Jim Wallis.” Rev. Wallis admits that he and Obama have “been talking faith and politics for a long time.” He was picked by Obama to draft the faith-based policies of his campaign at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last year. Why should this alarm us?

First, Jim Wallis has had relationships with the communist Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES).

Second, his “Witness for Peace” was an attempt to defend the Nicaraguan Sandinistas! Wallis, together with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright (Obama’s former pastor of 20 years) “rallied support for the communist Nicaraguan regime and protested actions by the United States which supported the anti-communist Contra rebels” (Family World News, February 2009, p. 7).

Third, Wallis and his Sojourners community of fellow-travelers believe Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua and the other revolutionary forces “restructuring socialist societies” are the communist paradises the United States needs to emulate in order to establish “social justice.” Writing in the November 1983 issue of Sojourners, Jacob Laksin notes, “Jim Wallis and Jim Rice drafted what would become the charter of leftist activists committed to the proliferation of communist revolutions in Central America” (Laksin, “Sojourners: History, Activities and Agendas” in Discoverthenetworks.org., 2005).

The ugly truth is Wallis wishes to see the destruction of the United States as a nation and in its place “a radical nonconformist community” patterned after the progressive, socialist commune he established in Washington, D.C., in 1971 (Laksin, Ibid.).

“The Sojourners community,” says Laksin, “actively embraced ‘liberation theology,’ rallying to the cause of communist regimes that had seized power with the promise of bringing about a revolutionary restructuring of society.” Clark Pinnock, a disaffected former member of Sojourners, said that the community’s members were “100 percent in favor of the Nicaraguan [communist] revolution” (Laksin, Ibid.).

All this revolutionary activity in spite of the fact that today’s Cuba, for example, has to import 84 percent of its food supply due to the socialistic mess of the agricultural system (150,000 oxen till the ground because tractors represent capitalism). However, in a move that looks more like capitalism than Marxism’s state farms, “Raul Castro is moving to boost food production by putting more land under the control of private farmers” (The Weekly Standard, March 23, 2009).

It appears that Raul Castro is learning what America’s early pilgrims learned back in the 1620s! William Bradford noted in his “History of Plymouth Plantation” that once he canceled the pilgrims’ socialistic experiment and provided each settler with a piece of property to till, starvation was averted. We can hope and pray that Raul Castro continues to implement more capitalistic policies and will learn firsthand the economic system that has brought more people out of poverty than any other in the history of the world. (See Rodney Stark, “The Victory of Reason.”)

Of course, Wallis should have learned the lessons of Plymouth Plantation early in his education, but may not have because our Secular Humanistic K-12 curricula delete most of the history of the pilgrims and the Mayflower Compact in an attempt to avoid acknowledging its “advancement of Christianity.” (Sadly, one first-grade textbook that does include the pilgrims has them “praying to the Indians.”)

For years, Wallis has been in the forefront of the “evangelical” left and has been fêted at numerous evangelical colleges and seminaries. That seems to be the “in” thing right now. His publication Sojourners is piled high on these campuses for the reading pleasure of the naïve and foolish.

Unbeknown to these colleges and seminaries is Wallis’ Red background. He was the president of the radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) while at Michigan State University. The SDS was the youth arm of the League for Industrial Democracy – the American counterpart to the British Fabian Society founded to promote socialism throughout the West. One of the League’s mentors for years was Norman Thomas, who argued that “the American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened” (Google, Norman Thomas quotes). Another prominent League mentor was John Dewey, a signatory of the atheistic, socialistic 1933 “Humanist Manifesto.” The SDS actually merits a chapter in Richard J. Ellis’s work “The Dark Side of the Left: Illiberal Egalitarianism in America,” published by the University of Kansas Press.

In October of 1969, SDS original organizer Tom Hayden directed his followers to “set off on a rampage, smashing windows of parked cars, hurling rocks and bricks through apartment windows, and fighting with police.” Hayden blamed the police for his violence even though later his followers “comforted themselves, because theirs was a violence to end all violence, a liberating and righteous violence that would rid the world of a system that deformed and destroyed people. Such glorious ends justified, even ennobled, violent means” (Ellis, p. 137).

Ellis insists that the language of revolution and violent confrontation was evident throughout the ranks of the SDS. Jim Wallis was part and parcel of this pro-communist group of radicals and revolutionaries.

Wallis’ Sojourners enterprise has been a radical, socialistic undertaking from the start. Frontpage Magazine (March 17, 2009) says, “As one of its first acts, Sojourners formed a commune in the Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Southern Columbia Heights, where members shared their finances and participated in various activist campaigns that centered on attacking the U.S. foreign policy, denouncing American ‘imperialism,’ and extolling Marxist revolutionary movements in the Third World.”

Sojourners contributing editors included the radical Daniel “Pentagon Papers” Berrigan, Walter Brueggemann, James Hal Cone (author of the racist “Black Theology and Black Power” in which the white race is depicted as devils), Rosemary Radford Ruether (professor of Feminist Theology, Catholics for Choice, God is the feminine Gaia), Ron Sider, Cornel West and Garry Wills. Today, Sojourners’ Board of Directors includes Wallis, Ron Sider, Brian McLaren and Bart Campolo.

Over the years, Wallis has been pro-Vietcong and actually gloried in America’s defeat in Vietnam. He said, “I don’t know how else to express the quiet emotion that rushed through me when the news reports showed that the United States had finally been defeated in Vietnam” (Ronald H. Nash, “Why The Left Is Not Right,” p. 58).

However, like Jane Fonda, Wallis said next to nothing about the communist genocide that followed the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia. In fact, in a typical communist response, he criticized those fleeing Vietnam by boat as somehow attempting “to support their consumer habits in other lands” (Nash, p. 59).

Wallis has been closely associated with Richard Barnet (former contributing editor of Sojourners) and the Institute for Policy Studies, a radical left-wing think tank supporting socialist revolutionaries around the world; Wallis had his book “The Soul of Politics” published by Orbis Books in 1994, a radical left-wing Roman Catholic publishing arm of the radical left-wing Maryknollers; Sojourner magazine has been a strong supporter of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and, indeed, has supported every left-wing, liberation theology cause around the world.

And yes, Wallis portrays the evangelical right that happens to be pro-American and anti-communist “as members of the forces of darkness” (Nash, p. 66, 71). For Wallis, a good Christian is someone who is pro-communist and socialist, while a bad Christian is someone who is anti-communist and pro-capitalist. The cry of the Sojourners crowd is “social justice” for the poor and downtrodden – social justice being code for socialism/communism.

I could not disagree more strongly. I contend that the Marxist-Leninist worldview is 100 percent contrary to biblical Christianity, and I document this extensively in my book “Understanding the Times.” Further, communism is directly responsible for the murder of tens of millions of human beings, a slaughter documented by Stephane Courtois, et. al. in their 1999 book, “The Black Book on Communism” (Harvard University Press).

I will attempt to be as kind and gentle as humanly possible and break the news to the Rev. Wallis and his “spiritual” advisee Barack Obama – socialism has never lifted the poor out of poverty. It has equally distributed poverty, but it has never been able to create the wealth that is partially responsible for lifting the poor out of poverty.

I say “partially responsible” because one’s worldview is even more important than wealth in reducing poverty. But socialism is a flawed idea, and it poisons the worldview of the people it influences. Our brothers on the evangelical left, who are concerned with the poor, need to read Theodore Dalrymple’s “Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass.” Although not a Christian, Dalrymple understands perfectly the importance of a proper worldview and its role in combating poverty, drugs, crime and broken families.

Can we admit a hard truth? Christian capitalist Truett Cathy’s Chic-fil-A has done more to fight poverty and help the poor than all the pronouncements of Jim Wallis, Ron Sider, Daniel Berrigan, Brian McLaren, Tony and Bart Campolo, and their entire crew of left-wing sociological and economic friends combined.

Thomas Sowell explains, “It would be devastating to the egos of the intelligentsia to realize, much less admit, that businesses have done more to reduce poverty than all the intellectuals put together. Ultimately, it is only wealth that can reduce poverty, and most of the intelligentsia have no interest whatever in finding out what actions and policies increase the national wealth” (Capitalism Magazine, May 9, 2005).

In fact, the intellectuals are the very ones who complain about those who do increase wealth. Again, Thomas Sowell speaks to this issue: “Think about the things that have improved our lives the most over the past century – medical advances, the transportation revolution, huge increases in consumer goods, dramatic improvements in housing, the computer revolution. The people who created these things – the doers – are not popular heroes. Our heroes are the talkers who complain about the doers.”

Socialism is built on a slogan: “What can government do for me today?” instead of “What can I do to better prepare myself to take care of myself in order to be a better Christian and servant of my Lord?” Preparation involves individual responsibility, traditional family values, education, love of God and neighbor, and compassion for the up-and-outers as well as the down-and-outers.

Socialists stand against nearly every Christian, conservative principle imaginable. Compare the socialist agenda with Yale professor David Gelernter’s summary of the conservative position – “the freedom of every American to make his own way, free speech on the radio and everywhere else, free elections for workers and other people … freedom to acknowledge and celebrate the nation’s rootedness in Christianity, Judaism and the Bible … love of liberty and love of God” (National Review, March 23, 2009, p. 32).

In 2006, Barack Obama was the keynote speaker at Jim Wallis’ Call to Renewal conference, “Building a Covenant for a New America.” Following his address, in an interview by the United Church News, he cited “the teachings of the UCC (United Church of Christ) as foundation stones for his political work.” He said, “Just as my pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright from Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, welcomed me as a young man years ago, UCC churches across the country open their doors to millions of Americans each Sunday . … I believe that democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal values. Social justice and national security are both universal values, values that may originate for some in their religious beliefs, but are shared by us all.”

What Americans can look forward to now that Rev. Wallis has the ear of the president is what Sojourners magazine has been pedaling since 1971 – “advocating America’s transformation into a socialist nation” (Accuracy in Media Research Report, May 1983, Section 19).

Could it be that America, who turned her back on God by deciding that prayer and the Bible can no longer grace her public schools, but homosexuality (indeed the whole GLBTQ rainbow), abortion counseling and condoms in school colors are welcomed, is experiencing the very judgment of God? There are consequences for “forgetting God,” as Solzhenitsyn noted about his mother country, Russia. These same consequences are piling up on the metro-sexual West in general and on the United States in particular.

(A thank you to California Cole for the bit on Jim Wallis.  I found him unconcionable fifteen years ago.   He’s become chubbier and a heavier Marxist since then.)

Dems Spending Fest Puts Obama-GOP Plan at $900,000,000,000 Additional Debt!

Its Pork as usual feeding our country’s financial collapse……  Read the following articles here to understand exactly why our America is facing bankruptcy:

Frederic Frommer and Mary Clare Jalonick at Yahoo News write a listing of Democrat pork attached to the Obama-GOP compromise bill, titled, “Add-ons turn tax bill into  ‘Christmas Tree’:

“Obama’s tax-cut deal with Republicans is becoming a Christmas tree tinseled with gifts for lobbyists and lawmakers. But that hardly stopped the squabbling on Friday, with Bill Clinton even back at the White House pleading the president’s case.

While Republicans sat back quietly, mostly pleased, Democrats and other liberals were going at each other ever so publicly. As Clinton lectured on Obama’s behalf, Vermont independent Bernie Sanders castigated the agreement for the TV cameras in the mostly empty Senate chamber.

The tax deal, reached behind the scenes and still informal, now includes ethanol subsidies for rural folks, commuter tax breaks for their cousins in the cities and suburbs and wind and solar grants for the environmentalists — all aimed at winning votes, particularly from reluctant Democrats.

The holiday additions are being hung on the big bill that was Congress’ main reason for spending December in Washington, long after the elections that will give Republicans new power in January. The measure will extend Bush-era tax cuts, averting big tax increases for nearly all Americans, and keep jobless benefits flowing.

Republicans generally liked that agreement, worked out by Obama and GOP leaders. Democrats generally didn’t, hence the add-ons….

At the White House, Obama turned over the briefing room microphone to former President Clinton who declared, “I don’t believe there is a better deal out there.” All sides, he said, “are going to have to eat some things they don’t like.”

The add-ons were being attached behind the scenes.

Almost $5 billion in subsidies for corn-based ethanol and a continuing tariff to protect against ethanol imports were wrapped up and placed on the tree Thursday night for farm-state lawmakers and agribusiness lobbyists. Environmentalists won more grants for developers of renewable energy, like wind and solar.

For urban lawmakers, there’s a continuation of about-to-expire tax breaks that could save commuters who use mass transit about $1,000 a year. Other popular tax provisions aimed at increasing production of hybrid automobiles, biodiesel fuel, coal and energy-efficient household appliances would be extended through the end of 2011 under the new add-ons.

The package also includes an extension of two Gulf Coast tax incentive programs enacted after Hurricane Katrina to spur economic development in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

The ethanol money was added despite a growing congressional opposition to subsidizing the fuel after decades of government support. Last month, 17 Republican and Democratic senators wrote to leaders calling the tax breaks “fiscally indefensible,” since there’s already a law in place that requires ethanol be blended into gasoline.

“Historically the government has helped a product compete in one of three ways: Subsidize it, protect it from competition or require its use. We understand that ethanol may be the only product receiving all three forms of support from the U.S. government at this time,” the senators wrote.

But ethanol still has powerful supporters on Capitol Hill, including Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee and a key negotiator on the Senate tax bill. Adding the ethanol tax breaks was designed to help shore up the votes of many rural Democratic as well as Republican senators.

But while the add-ons may have won more votes for the Obama-GOP deal the Senate, their potential impact is less clear in the House, where Democrats have criticized the package as a tax giveaway to the rich.

Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, a conservative Democrat who steps downs as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in January, says he would have voted against the bill if it had contained some of the clean energy tax incentives and nothing for ethanol.

“I know this will help some members in the House, different parts of this will help different members,” he said.

Still, Peterson said the credits for the corn-based fuel probably won’t last forever. He said Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the House’s No. 3 Democrat, told the caucus it was important to include ethanol in the bill, and some members booed him. That wouldn’t have happened a few years ago, Peterson said.

Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., who lost re-election in November, sponsored the House version of legislation extending the ethanol tax breaks. But he says he still can’t support the bill because of his opposition to provisions cutting estate taxes for the wealthiest Americans.

“There may be some that vote for the package that otherwise hate it because of the ethanol provision, but my sense is that ethanol alone isn’t going to be something that puts us over the top,” he said.

A spokesman for Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., a leader in the effort to win tax credits for wind and solar energy, said his boss still hasn’t been won over yet on the package. He said the extension was necessary but not sufficient for Blumenauer’s support. “His vote will depend on what the final version looks like,” said spokesman Derek Schlickeisen.

Rep. Jay Inslee, a Washington Democrat, also was not won over by the renewable energy extension, despite being a big supporter of the program.

“It’s one of the best things we have in the federal government for job creation. It is incredibly important. And it’s nuts not to finance it by simply letting the upper-income tax brackets expire,” he said. “I think there’s a better deal out there potentially available and we ought to fight for it.”

And there’s the possibility the added goodies will have opposite the intended effect for some lawmakers. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said the add-ons could turn his fiscally conservative colleagues against the bill.

“You don’t want to be accused out there of supporting stimulus three,” he said. “It will knock some votes off in the House, but more than anything it will show the voters out there that things haven’t changed with Republicans.”

Rick DelleCave at Politics writes:  “Democrats Turn Tax Cut Into Spending Fest!”

one thing the Democratic controlled congress is good at, it’s giving away other peoples money.  The bill that was to extend the Bush tax cuts has turned into a package loaded with pork.  

Democrats who were angry at Obama for compromising with the Republicans have assuaged their vexation with comfort spending.  The revised bill contains energy credits, provision for the television and film industry, both of which were supporters of Obama’s run for President.  The list of give aways is extensive.  Although, some of the Democrats are still unhappy that the bill is too generous to the rich.

The tantrum thrown by Democratic lawmakers is an embarrassment to the constituents who elected them.  The issue that makes them rancorous is their inability to punish the rich.  The Republicans demanded the estate tax be more generous.  Democrats want to authorize the confiscation of nearly half of a private citizens property upon death.  Though no one is saying it, this is a violation of property rights and outright state sanctioned theft.  The estate tax, also referred to as a death tax, makes it impossible for those who have worked for what they possess, to determine how those possessions will be distributed when they die.  Republicans, who want the death tax to remain dead, were able to limit the confiscatory provision to 35%.

Republicans need to reject this bill.  Once the new Republican majority takes over in January, they will be able to draft a more equitable bill for the entire nation.  Though Obama accused the Republicans of holding the unemployed hostage, the obverse is true.  Democrats are holding the entire nation hostage.  The implementation of this last gasp at redistribution of wealth shows the Democratic Party’s true face.  Make no mistake, these policies are not about helping the populous, they are about power.  The more dependent the average American is on government assistance the harder it will be to rebound.  Democrats have a long history of encouraging dependence.  In the end it will be the undoing of the nation.

Once all the pork is added to this bill, it will amount to nearly $900 billion according to a congressional estimate.  None of this is paid for. This will be new spending that is added to an already burgeoning deficit.  This additional spending will nullify the possibility of the static tax rates spurring economic growth.  From a liberal’s perspective, that is more than satisfactory.”

Students Dance in the Streets of London Again…..Is There a Student Riot in our American Future?

 Why not?  Aren’t we developing the same breed of entitled teen age cattle mob as the Brits?  When one lives in a culture built on the myth of entitlement, what else can one expect, when the entitled don’t get their guaranteed rewards they have been told  they deserve?

Here in our northland  yesterday’s Americans  were civil, hard working, undrugged, unaborted, unpretentious, still  influenced by the wafts from  benevolent Christianity, used to run the Minnesota “culture show.  My mother and father were made adults very early in life, that life being almost entirely without cushions.   My in-laws were no different.

I was a half-breed  adult for most of my life….. adult as a student, a father and teacher, strongly influenced by those I had admired,   less so outside those chapters.    A divorce later in life  forced me to become at least adult-like.  I was broke, without a career,  and suddenly found myself totally alone.   Now, I had to really grow up and do so quickly.   

Today’s college-age world  is overwhelmed  by the ectasies of pleasure-seeking centered around the sexual narcissisms of perpetual adolescence.  Todays American  deserves to have perpetual pleasure from kindergarten to the deathbed.   One deserves to be comfortable.  One deserves to be successful and to own whatever is  wanted  to own.  In Europe the European Union had enacted a law which declares “travel” as a sacred human right.

Our  young animals come from a political and ‘religious’ culture whose elite insists they have a basic right to possess  self-esteem and self-love  and so, are  programmed to be given that right, whether these know-nothings earn anything or not.    The mere act of being alive, this political education elite  explains,  gives license  to a ong  list of additional entitlements…….all carvings according the religious dogmas  of  Marxist Progressives.

If this list is not provided the modern American young, the modern political duty for the unreceiving is to denounce one and all and ‘rape, pillage,and burn” until a government “stands and delivers”.

Brit young are more advanced than our American counterparts in receiving the various guarantees of entitlements.  Great Britain was a full fledged Marxist-oriented state for a couple of generations.   Students have long been ‘protected’ from having to grub in the dirt for work while enjoying ‘studenthood’.  

Check out this past week’s student activities resulting from an increase in ‘tuition’ at your local college around the corner.  Click on here:


Christopher Hitchens Doesn’t Like Glenn Beck! Surprised?

Mr. Hitchens wrote the following article at Vanity Fair, “Tea’d Off:

“As I started by saying, the people who really curl my lip are the ones who willingly accept such supporters for the sake of a Republican victory, and then try to write them off as not all that important, or not all that extreme, or not all that insane in wanting to repeal several amendments to a Constitution that they also think is unalterable because it’s divine! It may be true that the Tea Party’s role in November’s vote was less than some people feared, and it’s certainly true that several of the movement’s elected representatives will very soon learn the arts of compromise and the pork barrel. But then what happens at the next downturn? A large, volatile constituency has been created that believes darkly in betrayal and conspiracy. A mass “literature” has been disseminated, to push the mad ideas of exploded crackpots and bigots. It would be no surprise if those who now adore Beck and his acolytes were to call them sellouts and traitors a few years from now. But, alas, they would not be the only victims of the poisonous propaganda that’s been uncorked. Some of the gun brandishing next time might be for real. There was no need for this offense to come, but woe all the same to those by whom it came, and woe above all to those who whitewashed and rationalized it

“It is often in the excuses and in the apologies that one finds the real offense. Looking back on the domestic political “surge” which the populist right has been celebrating since last month, I found myself most dispirited by the manner in which the more sophisticated conservatives attempted to conjure the nasty bits away.

Here, for example, was Ross Douthat, the voice of moderate conservatism on the New York Times op-ed page. He was replying to a number of critics who had pointed out that Glenn Beck, in his rallies and broadcasts, had been channeling the forgotten voice of the John Birch Society, megaphone of Strangelovian paranoia from the 1950s and 1960s. His soothing message:

These parallels are real. But there’s a crucial difference. The Birchers only had a crackpot message; they never had a mainstream one. The Tea Party marries fringe concerns (repeal the 17th Amendment!) to a timely, responsible-seeming message about spending and deficits.

 The more one looks at this, the more wrong it becomes (as does that giveaway phrase “responsible-seeming”). The John Birch Society possessed such a mainstream message—the existence of a Communist world system with tentacles in the United States—that it had a potent influence over whole sections of the Republican Party. It managed this even after its leader and founder, Robert Welch, had denounced President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a “dedicated, conscious agent” of that same Communist apparatus. Right up to the defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964, and despite the efforts of such conservatives as William F. Buckley Jr. to dislodge them, the Birchers were a feature of conservative politics well beyond the crackpot fringe.

Christopher Hitchens

Now, here is the difference. Glenn Beck has not even been encouraging his audiences to reread Robert Welch. No, he has been inciting them to read the work of W. Cleon Skousen, a man more insane and nasty than Welch and a figure so extreme that ultimately even the Birch-supporting leadership of the Mormon Church had to distance itself from him. It’s from Skousen’s demented screed The Five Thousand Year Leap (to a new edition of which Beck wrote a foreword, and which he shoved to the position of No. 1 on Amazon) that he takes all his fantasies about a divinely written Constitution, a conspiratorial secret government, and a future apocalypse. To give you a further idea of the man: Skousen’s posthumously published book on the “end times” and the coming day of rapture was charmingly called The Cleansing of America. A book of his with a less repulsive title, The Making of America, turned out to justify slavery and to refer to slave children as “pickaninnies.” And, writing at a time when the Mormon Church was under attack for denying full membership to black people, Skousen defended it from what he described as this “Communist” assault.

So, Beck’s “9/12 Project” is canalizing old racist and clerical toxic-waste material that a healthy society had mostly flushed out of its system more than a generation ago, and injecting it right back in again. Things that had hidden under stones are being dug up and re-released. And why? So as to teach us anew about the dangers of “spending and deficits”? It’s enough to make a cat laugh. No, a whole new audience has been created, including many impressionable young people, for ideas that are viciously anti-democratic and ahistorical. The full effect of this will be felt farther down the road, where we will need it even less.

I remember encountering this same mentality a few years ago, when it was more laughable than dangerous. I didn’t like Bill Clinton: thought he had sold access to the Lincoln Bedroom and lied under oath about sexual harassment and possibly even bombed Sudan on a “wag the dog” basis. But when I sometimes agreed to go on the radio stations of the paranoid right, it was only to be told that this was all irrelevant. Didn’t I understand that Clinton and his wife had murdered Vince Foster and were, even as I spoke, preparing to take advantage of the Y2K millennium crisis—remember that?—in order to seize power for life and become the Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu of our day? These people were not interested in the president’s actual transgressions. They were looking to populate their fantasy world with new and more lurid characters.

There is an old Republican saying that “a government strong enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have.” This statement contains an essential truth that liberals have no right to overlook. But it is negated, not amplified, if it comes festooned with racism and superstition. In the recent past, government-sponsored policies of social engineering have led to surprising success in reducing the welfare rolls and the crime figures. This came partly from the adoption by many Democrats of policies that had once been called Republican. But not a word about that from Beck and his followers, because it isn’t exciting and doesn’t present any opportunity for rabble-rousing. Far sexier to say that health care—actually another product of bipartisanship—is a step toward Nineteen Eighty-Four. Ten percent unemployment, on the other hand, is rather a disgrace to a midterm Democratic administration. But does anybody believe that unemployment would have gone down if the hated bailout had not occurred and GM had been permitted to go bankrupt? Why not avoid the question altogether and mutter about a secret plan to proclaim a socialist (or Nazi, or Jew-controlled: take your pick) dictatorship?

Again, there is a real debate about the pace and rhythm of global warming, and about the degree to which it has been caused (or can be slowed) by human activity. But at the first Tea Party rally I attended, at the Washington Monument earlier this year, the crowd—bristling with placards about the Second Amendment’s being the correction—was treated to an arm-waving speech by a caricature English peer named Lord Monckton, who led them in the edifying call-and-response: “All together. Global warming is?” “Bullshit.” “Obama cannot hear you. Global warming is?” “bullshit.” “That’s bettah.” I don’t remember ever seeing grown-ups behave less seriously, at least in an election season.

Most epochs are defined by one or another anxiety. More important, though, is the form which that anxiety takes. Millions of Americans are currently worried about two things that are, in their minds, emotionally related. The first of these is the prospect that white people will no longer be the majority in this country, and the second is that the United States will be just one among many world powers. This is by no means purely a “racial” matter. (In my experience, black Americans are quite concerned that “Hispanic” immigration will relegate them, too.) Having an honest and open discussion about all this is not just a high priority. It’s more like a matter of social and political survival. But the Beck-Skousen faction want to make such a debate impossible. They need and want to sublimate the anxiety into hysteria and paranoia. The president is a Kenyan. The president is a secret Muslim. The president (why not?—after all, every little bit helps) is the unacknowledged love child of Malcolm X. And this is their response to the election of an extremely moderate half-African American candidate, who speaks better English than most and who has a model family. Revolted by this development, huge numbers of white people choose to demonstrate their independence and superiority by putting themselves eagerly at the disposal of a tear-stained semi-literate shock jock, and by repeating his list of lies and defamations. But, of course, there’s nothing racial in their attitude …

Comment:   Mr. Hitchens occasionally is a purist.  His pudding has a piece in it  he doesn’t like.   Well I’m not surprised.   Almost all of Mr. Hitchens’ friends are lefties.   Remember, he wrote the above  article for the world at Vanity Fair.   He has to do some positioning or another to keep their powder dry.  Besides I am always interested in the pieces he doesn’t like as well as the ones he does.

By the way I think he has described a bit of Beck very accurately.  I,too, remember Robert Welch and the John Birch Society of yesteryear.  I do not know which axes they sharpen these days, however.   Democrats own Marxist Barack Obama, and he is president.   Should he be disowned and sent to Siberia to make the Party “clean” again?

 I don’t mean to pull out my “older than you” trump card, but I am going to anyway.   We live in a time where America has been shorn of adults.   My view point, of course.   Our president, Mr. Obama is retarded as an adult.  His undeveloped character limits his problem solving.  He is still a boy frozen in the times of his teen age narcissism.  He enjoys performing in public where he can perpetually preen himself.   Turn off the teleprompter and his preening falls apart. 

I find patient B, Glenn Beck,  a similar performer…..a smart assed kid who is in love with himself and his preenings.  He offers more information to his public than patient A…Mr. Obama, and so, stirs more thinking.  After all, Mr. Beck is not a Marxist.   Marxists need only to rule, to dictate Marxist policy…..there is no need to stir thinking in  Marxist clans.

Keep reading Christopher Hitchens…..he isn’t a Marxist for he does stir thinking.

What We Don’t Need to Know From Wikileaks’ Criminal Snoops

I think I know pretty well what others think of me….the good and the bad.  I am sure I would be in their agreement.  I can’t imagine the sane in the world aren’t much different, so when those “sane” read in Wikileaks what others in their diplomacy business write privately about them, they  shouldn’t be too upset.   “What goes around, comes around.” 

There is more to the Wikileak crime than gossip.   

The following is an article by James Traub at Foreign Policy, “The Sunshine Policy”.

“The most delicious aspect of the WikiLeaks cables is overhearing Mommy and Daddy gossip about the neighbors: Qaddafi’s a nut, Prince Andrew a boor, Sarkozy a megalomaniac, and so on. Of course, we already knew all that — and the fact that we did has given rise to the dismissive reception of the documents in some parts of the commentariat. In the New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg writes that because the cables offer “no grand revelations of epic lying, deceit, or criminality,” the chief lesson we draw from them is that “the private face of American foreign policy looks pretty much like its public face.”

That may be broadly true, but the “public face” of U.S. diplomacy does not include the following, from Sept. 6, 2009: “President Saleh pledged unfettered access to Yemen’s national territory for U.S. counterterrorism operations.” Or this, from a conversation in January between Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and then-Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus: “Saleh rejected the General’s proposal to have USG personnel armed with direct-feed intelligence present inside the area of CT operations, but agreed to have U.S. fixed-wing bombers circle outside Yemeni territory ready to engage AQAP should actionable intelligence become available.” (USG is U.S. government, CT refers to counterterrorism, while AQAP stands for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.)

 “Unfettered access” — that’s quite a surrender of the sovereign authority that ex-colonies usually defend with furious passion. The documents show us that Saleh got a good deal for his open-door policy, as U.S. intelligence chief John Brennan, his interlocutor for the September 2009 conversation, arrived with a personal letter from President Barack Obama apparently pledging economic aid as well as an invitation to come to the White House — “the prize he has been chasing after for months,” according to the cable, signed by then-U.S. Ambassador Stephen Seche.

If Yemen were a democracy, Saleh would be in big trouble for letting those bombers lurk at the border in exchange for a photo-op. Of course, it’s not. But the United States enjoys similar, if less sweeping, arrangements with democracies as well and will almost certainly be seeking to make more of them in future.

The supreme example of this sort of transaction is, of course, Pakistan, where military and civilian leaders have pretended for years to protest U.S. drone strikes in North and South Waziristan which, in fact, they have fully accepted. This cover, too, has now been blown. In an August 2008 cable, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is quoted as saying, “I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.” More damaging still, the cables reveal that Pakistan has approved the deployment of small units of American forces on the ground. An inflamed sensitivity over alleged “neocolonialism” has made Pakistan one of the world’s most anti-American countries. So far, critics have focused their contempt on Pakistan’s politicians rather than on the American presence, but political leaders have generally been able to redirect this venom toward the United States. Good luck with that now.

So yes, it may well be true — and it would be a relief to know it — that U.S. diplomats no longer routinely engage in epic lying, deceit, and criminality, as perhaps they did during the Cold War. But the war on terror has its own diplomatic exigencies, and the WikiLeaks cables remind us of the extraordinary demands that American officials now make of U.S. allies. Those allies accommodate American demands out of self-interest, of course: Cables printed by the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar, but not yet released by WikiLeaks, disclose that in 2008 Lebanon asked to have American spy planes conduct surveillance of Hezbollah at a time when the Shiite group threatened to overrun the state. But the Lebanese people would have been shocked to hear of Operation Cedar Sweep, as it was picturesquely known, and the revelation has already produced an outcry.

Operation Cedar Sweep took place during President George W. Bush’s administration, which was hardly known for respecting the sovereignty concerns of other countries (see: extraordinary rendition). Obama’s administration prides itself on its respect for international law and global public opinion, but the sort of consensual infringement of sovereign authority described in the cables has been a growth industry under Obama, as the examples of Pakistan and Yemen attest. And we are sure to learn a great deal more about such practices, in Southeast Asia and West Africa as well as in the Middle East, as more cables come to light.

The exposure in the 1970s of the CIA’s dirty tricks put an end to at least some of the epic lying and criminality of the Cold War. I imagine that Julian Assange and his fellow leakers hope that the leaked cables will have the same effect on clandestine American patrolling of Middle Eastern airspace, not to mention on the widening practice of drone warfare. Should we make this analogy ourselves? Should we recoil from these practices, too? I do think there’s a case to be made, moral as well as pragmatic, against assassination-by-drone. I don’t buy it, but I may be wrong. But if, as is often said, the United States should not be fighting terrorism with battalions of soldiers occupying foreign territory, then it must do so with small numbers of intelligence and special-operations forces and manned and unmanned aircraft. What’s the alternative? Homeland security?

The real question, then, is what to do when these operations become matters of public knowledge, as we can now be sure they will. Both the U.S. and host governments will have to do a much better job of explaining to their citizens why these forces serve local interests as well as American ones. The Pakistani government has so far refused to take this risky step; now it may have to. Given the low credibility of the United States in the Islamic world, the burden of explanation will fall on countries like Pakistan, Lebanon, the Philippines, and Indonesia. (Rulers in the Persian Gulf and the Arab world have the advantage of being answerable to no one.)

Is it possible to honestly engage these publics on cooperation with U.S. counterterrorism efforts? When I was in Mali in 2007, I was told that President Amadou Toumani Toure had publicly acknowledged the presence of a handful of American forces hunting for al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and that the forces had even been featured, positively, on local television. This was possible because Mali was a democracy, because citizens genuinely feared Islamist extremism, and because the United States is much more popular in West Africa than in the Arab world. It will, of course, be much harder to make the case in places where the United States is feared and loathed.

Everyone wonders how WikiLeaks will change the world. Will diplomacy become impracticable in an age when everyone everywhere knows everything? That seems unlikely, but the possibility that any given assessment or policy could become known will hugely increase the cost of doing something that must remain hidden. This, in turn, will put a premium on being able to publicly justify and explain what you’re doing. Would that be such a terrible outcome?”

Comment:  I wonder about the clause above where Mr. Traub writes, “when everyone everywhere knows everything.”  One thing certain here, the collection of these everys will never include the President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama, a person set in stone.

Walter Russell Mead: “The Crisis of the American Intellectual”

I, Glenn H. Ray, have always been curious about “intellectuals”.  Especially American ones.  I am not one of them.  I like learning…..I like learning a lot of things and always have.   But I have no discipline and other required tools to be or become an intellectual, but I think alot about things intellectuals might write and debate about.  I have my own observations and ideas as well.

Until rather recently one could not become an intellectual without being a socialist….especially  of the Marxist variety.  Having spent much time studying things Russian, therefore Soviet in my day,  and spent some time in the good old USSR,  Marxism was beyone my pale by some measure.   And I was even a lefty in those days.

Walter Russell Mead writes about the modern American Intellectual.  His website is at Via Meadia.  I encourage Prager fans to look it up.

“America has everything it needs for success in the twenty-first century with one exception: a critical mass of thinkers, analysts and policy entrepreneurs who can help unleash the creative potential of the American people and build the new government and policy structures that will facilitate a new wave of private-sector led growth.  Figuring out why so many of our intellectuals and experts are so poorly equipped to play a constructive role — and figuring out how to develop the leadership we currently lack — may be the most important single thing Americans need to work on right now.

Regular readers of these posts know that I think that the world is headed into a tumultuous period, and that the United States is stuck with a social model that doesn’t work anymore.  Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I don’t need to reproduce those arguments here; readers interested in the gathering storms can look here to see what I mean, and readers curious about the failure of the Blue Social Model can get started here.

There’s a lot of work ahead to enable the United States to meet the coming challenges.  I’m reasonably confident that we remain the best placed large society on earth to make the right moves.  Our culture of enterprise and risk-taking is still strong; a critical mass of Americans still have the values and the characteristics that helped us overcome the challenges of the last two hundred years.

But when I look at the problems we face, I worry.  It’s not just that some of our cultural strengths are eroding as both the financial and intellectual elites rush to shed many of the values that made the country great.  And it’s not the deficit: we can and will deal with that if we get our policies and politics right.  And it’s certainly not the international competition: our geopolitical advantages remain overwhelming and China, India and the EU all face challenges even more daunting than ours and they lack our long tradition of successful, radical but peaceful reform and renewal.

No, what worries me most today is the state of the people who should be the natural leaders of the next American transformation: our intellectuals and professionals.  Not all of them, I hasten to say: the United States is still rich in great scholars and daring thinkers.  A few of them even blog.

But the biggest roadblock today is that so many of America’s best-educated, best-placed people are too invested in old social models and old visions of history to do their real job and help society transition to the next level.  Instead of opportunities they see threats; instead of hope they see danger; instead of the possibility of progress they see the unraveling of everything beautiful and true.

Too many of the very people who should be leading the country into a process of renewal that would allow us to harness the full power of the technological revolution and make the average person incomparably better off and more in control of his or her own destiny than ever before are devoting their considerable talent and energy to fighting the future.

I’m overgeneralizing wildly, of course, but there seem to be three big reasons why so many intellectuals today are so backward looking and reactionary.

First, there’s ideology.  Since the late nineteenth century most intellectuals have identified progress with the advance of the bureaucratic, redistributionist and administrative state.  The government, guided by credentialed intellectuals with scientific training and values, would lead society through the economic and political perils of the day.  An ever more powerful state would play an ever larger role in achieving ever greater degrees of affluence and stability for the population at large, redistributing wealth to provide basic sustenance and justice to the poor.  The social mission of intellectuals was to build political support for the development of the new order, to provide enlightened guidance based on rational and scientific thought to policymakers, to administer the state through a merit based civil service, and to train new generations of managers and administrators. The modern corporation was supposed to evolve in a similar way, with business becoming more stable, more predictable and more bureaucratic.

Most American intellectuals today are still shaped by this worldview and genuinely cannot imagine an alternative vision of progress.  It is extremely difficult for such people to understand the economic forces that are making this model unsustainable and to see why so many Americans are in rebellion against this kind of state and society – but if our society is going to develop we have to move beyond the ideas and the institutions of twentieth century progressivism.  The promises of the administrative state can no longer be kept and its premises no longer hold.   The bureaucratic state is too inefficient to provide the needed services at a sustainable cost – and bureaucratic, administrative governments are by nature committed to maintain the status quo at a time when change is needed.  For America to move forward, power is going to have to shift from bureaucrats to entrepreneurs, from the state to society and from qualified experts and licensed professionals to the population at large.

This doesn’t mean that government becomes insignificant.  The state will survive and as social life becomes more complex it will inevitably acquire new responsibilities – but it will look and act less like the administrative, bureaucratic entity of the past.  The professional, life-tenured civil service bureaucrat will have a smaller role; more work will be contracted out; much more aggressive efforts will be made to harness the power of information technology to transfer decision making power from the federal to the state and local level.  All this change runs so deeply against the grain for many American intellectuals that they have a hard time seeing it whole, much less helping make the reforms and adjustments these changes demand.

Second, there are the related questions of interest and class.  Most intellectuals today still live in a guild economy.  The learned professions – lawyers, doctors, university professors, the clergy of most mainline denominations, and (aspirationally anyway) school teachers and journalists – are organized in modern day versions of the medieval guilds.  Membership in the guilds is restricted, and the self-regulated guilds do their best to uphold an ideal of service and fairness and also to defend the economic interests of the members.  The culture and structure of the learned professions shape the world view of most American intellectuals today, but high on the list of necessary changes our society must make is the restructuring and in many cases the destruction of the guilds.  Just as the industrial revolution broke up the manufacturing guilds, the information revolution today is breaking up the knowledge guilds.  Guild methods are too expensive given society’s rapidly increasing need for the services they provide; we must drastically raise productivity by re-imagining the way our society makes and distributes the services that, currently, the guilds and the learned professions provide.

Guilds are not very good at mass production, and our need for the services they produce has become so great that only a much more efficient production process can serve.  Health care, education and legal services are all economic sectors where prices have been rising more rapidly than the overall rate of inflation.  These professions must be fundamentally restructured; a Marxist would speak at this point about the proletarianization of the petit bourgeois intellectual professions.

Fortunately for the rest of society if not for the guilds, developments in IT and telecommunications now make it possible to reduce costs dramatically in the learned professions.  Outsourcing and automation between them can transform the production and delivery of these services.  Moreover, the process of disintermediation will enable many Americans to dispense with the expensive services of the professional classes.  Basic legal services and advice can increasingly be found, free or at very low cost, on the internet.  Many Americans have substituted tax software for accountants; more and more activities once performed by highly paid professionals will be performed by computers and the internet.

Ultimately one suspects that services once reserved for elites will be available for the masses, just as the industrial revolution enabled mass ownership of goods that had once been the preserve of small elites.  The effect will not only be to raise living standards for most people by improving their access to useful services.  It will also be to transfer power and authority from the provider of such services to the consumer.  When my grandfather was a doctor, his patients mostly did what he told them to do.  He was the expert and there was no rival source of information — especially as many of his patients had little or no formal education and in some cases struggled to write their own names.

Today, well-educated patients (many of whom have college and advanced degrees and must routinely master complicated bodies of knowledge in their own work) check with the internet and search the archives of web-based support groups to challenge their doctors’ prescriptions.  Increasingly, people will seek and acquire more control over the decisions that shape their lives.  People not only want to be more affluent in the future than they are today; they want to be more powerful, less beholden to the men in white suits.

Third, there’s training.  America today has many technical intellectuals – people like doctors, engineers, and others who are able to carry out complex tasks – and we are extraordinarily rich in specialist intellectuals who have a deep knowledge of a particular subject.  Our educational and professional systems are set up to train and support the large numbers of people needed to fill these roles.  We are much less effective at teaching and supporting people who are able to master the essentials of many complex subjects, integrate the insights from this kind of study into a coherent social or political vision, and communicate what they have learned to a broad general lay audience.  The more complex a society and the more rapidly it is changing, the more need it has for multi-disciplinary, synthesizing intellectuals who are focused on communicating serious ideas to a large audience.  Otherwise, a gap grows between the technical and specialist intellectuals and the values and ideas of society at large.

There’s another, equally serious problem.  In most of our learned professions and knowledge guilds today, promotion is linked to the needs and aspirations of the guild rather than to society at large.  Promotion in the academy is almost universally linked to the production of ever more specialized, theory-rich (and, outside the natural sciences, too often application-poor) texts, pulling the discourse in one discipline after another into increasingly self-referential black holes.  We suffer from ‘runaway guilds’: costs skyrocket in medicine, the civil service, education and the law in part because the imperatives of the guilds and the interests of their members too often triumph over the needs and interests of the wider society.

Almost everywhere one looks in American intellectual institutions there is a hypertrophy of the theoretical, galloping credentialism and a withering of the real.  In literature, critics and theoreticians erect increasingly complex structures of interpretation and reflection – while the general audience for good literature diminishes from year to year.  We are moving towards a society in which a tiny but very well credentialed minority obsessively produces arcane and self referential (but carefully peer reviewed) theory about texts that nobody reads.  Political science is becoming more mathematical and dogmatic – while fewer and fewer Americans understand the political foundations and ideas behind American institutions.  Similar problems unfortunately exist in many disciplines.  Academic discourse becomes more self-referential and remote from public concerns; the public discussion suffers from the absence of the intellectual rigor and historical perspective that serious students and thinkers can bring to it.   (The natural sciences are in much less bad shape as the process of empirical verification imposes a certain necessary honesty on the intellectual process, but those who try to connect the sciences to the world of philosophy, policy, theology and politics suffer many of the same problems as intellectuals in the humanities and social sciences.)  At the same time, the edifice of academic studies is becoming so expensive and top heavy that except at a relative handful of very wealthy institutions the whole system of tenured teaching appointments looks steadily less sustainable.

We can see the same unhappy pattern in knowledge-based American institutions beyond the groves of academe.  The mainline Protestant churches have a hyperdeveloped theology, an over-professionalized clergy – and shrinking congregations.   The typical American foundation is similarly hyperdeveloped in terms of social and political theory, over professionalized in its staff – and perhaps thankfully has a declining impact on American society because its approaches are increasingly out of touch.  With the New York Times in the lead, American journalism was moving in this direction until the rapid onset of financial problems began to force change.

So there you have it.  The foundational assumptions of American intellectuals as a group are firmly based on the assumptions of the progressive state and the Blue Social Model.  Those who run our government agencies, our universities, our foundations, our mainstream media outlets and other key institutions cannot at this point look the future in the face.  The world is moving in ways so opposed to their most hallowed assumptions that they simply cannot make sense of it.  They resist blindly and uncreatively and, unable to appreciate the extraordinary prospects for human liberation that this change can bring, they are incapable of creative and innovative response.

For the sake of the country’s position in the world, for the sake of our economic development , for the sake of American democracy and for the sake of our intellectuals themselves, this needs to change.

Right now, too many intellectuals try to turn this into a left/right debate rather than one about the past and the future.  There is a liberal case for the radical overhaul of our knowledge industries as well as a Tea Party one.  People who want to extend government protections to more groups need to be thinking how government can be radically restructured so it can be more effective at a lower cost.  People who want more education to be available for the poor need to think about deep reform in primary and secondary education, and they need to think up ways to reduce the spiraling costs of university education.  Those who like the public services provided in troubled blue states like New York, Illinois and California need to redesign state government and find alternatives to the tenured civil service bureaucracies built one hundred years ago.  Those who want more access and more equal access to education, to legal services and to medical care need to think about how we can use technology to radically restructure the way we organize and deliver these services — and the more you care about the poor the less you can care about the protests of the guilds.

In a society like ours, the future is always unexpected, always surprising.  The emerging American future will both fulfill and confound the expectations and hopes of people from all different political backgrounds.  Because American society is undergoing a chaotic process of accelerating change, no one can really know what will be needed tomorrow – what ideas and what institutions will be useful as we move forward into the unknown.”

Comment:  I am not so doom and gloom as I read above,  although I was a year ago, November 4, 2008, I admit.  

I was even more depressed about America’s “thinking”  future  in the mid 1990s  when a  friend, many years my younger, whom I hadn’t seen for many years  happened to be in line at a Deli where I was eating lunch.   He shouted out to me insisting I join him and his girl friend for lunch.  I was thrilled to see him so we could talk  about good times past.  And so was he, but   “We  have to listen to Rush first…….I always listen to him now.”  he said.

I had no idea what he was talking about, but we rushed over to his convertible in the crowded parking lot with food in hand, met his girl friend and another couple seated in the back,  and sat in the front  exposed to  the midday sun so they all could listen  to some guy named Rush Limbaugh. 

The first time I ever voted for a Republican was for Ronald Reagan as an angry Democrat in 1980.  Four years later I voted for him as a conservative.   Since the cultural revolution and violence  in the streets in the 1960s and 1970 I had lost faith in the country’s democratic and civilized future….intellectual and  otherwise.   There will always be intellectuals…..it was the “otherwise” which more deeply worried me. 

My lost faith in the country’s future remained low until that noontime baking in the sun sitting in Jeff’s fancy convertible.    There was about a half an hour of this  Rush Limbaugh talking left.  I had to keep quiet until he was finished.   He was complaining  about socialized medicine, its costs and how it would  destroy how Americans in the future might value things…..Then he turned to telling about several  idiocies some feminist nut group was plotting.   This guy was talking my language…….But why are these young people all hooked on this guy Limbaugh.

It was the first time I had ever heard anyone in America talk so confidently and clearly from a conservative prospective on radio or anywhere else for over  30 years.    However satisfying that was to hear, the bigger awakening for me was that this guy, Jeff, who  never had shown any interest in learning anything about his country except for sports, made me wait and be quiet so he and his friends could listen to some conservative talk politics. 

I confronted him jokingly about his political discovery.  The four of them insisted that a lot of their friends had discovered this conservative and listen to him nearly every noon hour of each week day.

I was similarly thrilled this Spring and Summer when so many tens of thousands of  conservative Americans spent time at caususes,  confronting politicians , and then growing into the Tea Party movement……this is a good time to be a conservative American, make no mistake about that.

From the middle 1950s to 1970 most of the rational and forthright thinkers were Liberals (not the Marxist variety we face with the Obama crowd but people who were thoroughly American.  At university everyone expected the world to become a socialist democracy…..there was no coherent opposition….actually almost no opposition at all.   Republicans became ‘me too, but not as much’  Liberals in practice.    No one defended or explained American values.

Attacks on Christianity began in earnest with the street revolutions. 

Today nearly all of America’s serious thinkers are conservative……That should be a sign of some kind.   As Dennis Prager often notes…..these days the Left defends its tenets by calling conservative names, to stir hate and hide behing the censorship of political correctness.