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Jacques Maritain - French philospher of the 20th century
Bernie Sanders' Program Proposals Raise Alarm
The Age of Entitlement .... by Christopher Caldwell

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Jacques Maritain - French philosopher of the 20th century

Maritain was born in Paris in 1882. His father was a lawyer; his mother the daughter of a French statesman. He attended the Sorbonne where he got degrees in both philosophy and natural sciences. Maritain was raised as a Protestant, but by the end of college, he had become basically irreligious or even atheistic from studying various modern philosophers

Things were so bad that he and his girl friend, Raissa, vowed to commit suicide in one year if they were unable to find a philosophy that gave them hope. They found Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, got married, and lived half a century together.

In 1921 he was named a full professor of philosophy at the Institut Catholique in Paris where he taught for several years. In the 1930's he began too accept teaching assignments in other places. He taught in South America in the 1930's and was named a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters while at the same time being condemned in Chile as a “man of the left”. He spent WWII in Toronto and New York. He taught at both Columbia and Princeton and helped Voice of America prepare broadcasts aimed at the areas of France under German control. In 1945 he helped France by serving as its ambassador to Vatican City. Later he helped UNESCO draft the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Pope Pius XII asked him to become a lay Cardinal of the Catholic Church, but he declined this very rare honor.

When Maritain’s wife preceded him in death (1960) he choose to live his remaining years with a Catholic religious order in Toulouse, France where he died in 1973. He is buried next to his wife at Kolbsheim (Alsace) France.

General View of Philosophy

As an undergraduate, Maritain had been a student of both physical science and the modern philosophers (e.g. Spinosa, Kant, Kierkagaard, etc.). This lead him to his early despair, but it also gave him deep understanding of the shallow, circular arguments these modern philosophers promoted. However, Maritain realized that simply promoting Thomas Aquinas was not going to counter these moderns. Aquinas needed to be restated and perhaps augmented to deal with the modern mind. That restatement became Maritain’s life’s work.

Modern philosophers had focused primarily on the study of “how we know things”. Maritain realized that the first study must be the study of “who we are”. For Maritain, the study of philosophy must begin with man’s situation.

During his lifetime Maritain developed a wide set of friendships with social reformers and artists. He had a long term relationship with Saul Alinsky, the radical reformer whose work later inspired a community organizer named Barack Obama. When asked about Alinsky, Maritain said “I don’t know if Saul Alinsky knows God, but I can assure you God knows Saul Alinsky”.

Maritain felt that both art and science speak to us about ourselves, about God, and about His universe which surrounds us. Maritain felt intuition should join logic as a means for figuring out proper attitudes toward God, proper behaviors for individuals, and the proper design of our communities and the world. Maritain was prepared to take ideas from Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and even Saul Alinsky to create his new philosophy which both his admirers and critics called “existential Thomism”. Maritain once summed up his view of life by saying “we do not need a truth to serve us, we need a truth that we can serve”.

Metaphysics (i.e. the study of reality, of first principles, the study of being) is Maritain’s starting point. He notes that each person has a self awareness and an awareness of the universe about him. Man understands innately that he has a relationship with this universe and its source. Each man knows he’ll have an earthly end just as he had a earthly beginning; however, he innately senses that somehow he always was and always will be attached to this greatness about him.

Here Maritain uses Aristotle and Aquinas’ distinction between the matter of a thing that determines its individuality and the essence of a thing which is defined by the class of things in belongs to. So while the matter may have a limited life, the essence of a thing may have a finite or infinite life depending upon its group characteristics. For instance humans have the ability to grasp the scope of the universe and the infinitude of its creator. Therefore they attached to this universe, its creator, and its infinitude even as they realize their physical bodies will die.

Going further, this understanding is, for Maritain, a matter of “eidetic” intuition. This is a gift, which he admits not all man possess. This is “a perception direct and immediate .... it is a very simple sight, superior to any discursive reasoning or demonstration .... of a reality which it touches and which takes hold of it” in other words “it is an awareness of the reality of one’s being ... [an awareness] which is decisive and has a dominant character”.

Maritain insists people must emphasis the “act of existing”, and for this reason he is called an “existentialist”. He maintains this point of view is presumed in St. Thomas’ philosophy.

It should be noted that Maritain’s “existentialism” is quite different from the existentialism of the moderns like Kierkegaard, Marcel, and Sartre who used the same word in a different way. (Note: It is appropriate to recall that Sartre once said “the only important decision for each man is deciding when to commit suicide”.)

Maritain held that, as we hold this intuition of our being, we are naturally lead to investigate the deeper questions of our being, our creator, our purpose, etc. This takes our thinking to God, his desires for us, and other core metaphysical beliefs; thus Maritain adds “eidetic” intuition to Thomas Aquinas’ famous five proofs of God from the 13th century.

Epistemology - (the study of knowing or knowledge)

Although he assigned this branch of philosophy a secondary place, Maritain did not ignore it. Here Maritain follows the lead of Thomas Aquinas with a largely practical, realist view of knowing (i.e. what you perceive is what is). He rejects the modernist view that much of what humans perceive is simply created by their own minds.

Maritain holds that things exist in reality and once things are seen or otherwise perceived by the human mind they also exist, in a way, within that human’s mind. Going further Maritain said the human mind can perceive something which it has only grasped intellectually such as a concept or ideal. These realizations led Maritain to say knowing an object has two aspects: the passive reception of a sense impressions and the active constructing of actual knowledge from those received impressions.

The forgoing allows Maritain to insist we can “know” about material things, but we can also know about abstract things and processes: such as mathematics, such as self reflection, .... such as mystical things including God himself, etc. Maritain argues that to know something is to know “why it is”. He argues that the scientific way of knowing by sampling and testing is very limited because it fails to get to the essence of things, the true “why it is”. Maritain refers to superficial knowledge of something as knowledge at the first “degree of abstraction”. Knowledge expressed with qualifications, numbers, or exponents is knowledge at the second degree of abstraction. Finally, he notes that deeper knowledge is knowledge at the non-material level. It looks at the essence of things, particularly such things as poetry, art, sublime ideas, or God. It is knowledge at the third degree of abstraction. Maritain points out that knowledge of this third category is often arrived at through analogical reasoning, an indirect process that involves referring mentally to other things or creatures.

After studying Augustine and John of the Cross, Maritain further applies categories to this third degree of knowledge. He speaks of “theological wisdom” which can be known by both reason and the teachings of the church. He notes there is “mystical knowledge” which is knowing about God from “outside”, of knowing God by “connaturality”. This is knowledge acquired by “mystical contemplation” and is found in many religious traditions. This Maritain creation, namely knowledge by “connaturality”, is something like “knowledge by intuition”. Martian feel this sort of knowledge is manifest in religious settings but it is also manifest in and through the arts: paintings, poetry, plays, etc.

Philosophy of Nature - (a search for the first principles of physical things, the things of scientific studies including the most important physical thing, human beings).

Here Maritain reminds the reader that his early college training was in the physical sciences so he feels comfortable commenting on this area of philosophy. He notes that this branch of philosophy operates between metaphysics and the individual sciences. It acknowledges the important role that the sciences play in measuring and quantifying the physical world, but it looks beyond measurements per se, it looks to the essences of the physical things, of the real world. It is in the focus on “essences” that the philosophy of nature moves to a level deeper than science itself.

This difference is well illustrated in the current debate about the use of fetal body parts and stem cells in America. Abortion is itself problematic but when the product of abortion is lauded by men of science as a source of desirable by-products, the philosopher of nature steps in to say “lets look at the essence of this process”. These philosophers ask important questions “what is the true nature of the aborted baby?” and “is it a good idea to destroy one life to improve the life of another living person?” and finally “is it prudent for a society to hold out the destruction of a unborn life as a positive good because living persons benefit from the spare parts and/or stem cell thus obtained?”. The typical scientist is not trained to sort out the “essences” here; whereas, the philosopher of nature is better equipped to think through these profound questions.

Natural Theology and the Philosophy of Religion - (a study of ultimate truth and right behavior ) -

Here Maritain holds with Aquinas that there is no conflict between true faith and true reason. He goes further saying religious truths should be open to rational examination, and he believes many religious truths can be philosophically demonstrated. Maritain’s position stands in square opposition to most modern philosophers. Maritain goes further saying philosophy and theology are complementary studies with philosophy serving as the “handmaid of theology”.

In this area, Maritain’s assertion that human intuition is a proof of God and serves as an example of philosophy bolstering religious truth. This insight was augmented by Maritain in several ways; for instance, he felt each man had a sort of sharing in God’s infinitude. Since God has known for all time that each of us would be born and since each of us has a soul that will survive forever, it could be said each of us has an infinite existence.

Maritain, while acknowledging that philosophy can rationally show the existence of God, notes it is not capable of flushing out as much detail as God has provided through scriptures and revelation.

Moral and Political Philosophy plus the Philosophy of law -

Here Maritain builds on the Aristotelian-Thomistic natural law tradition. Although Maritain honors Aristotle’s contribution, he notes that this ancient philosopher developed his moral philosophy without knowing man’s ultimate ends. Maritain also felt Thomas was correct in saying nature provides guidance in these things. By studying each item in nature including himself, man can gain insight into each thing’s proper moral use. As Maritain says: natural law is “an order or disposition that the human reason may discover and according to which the human will must act to accord itself with the necessary ends of the human being” . He then says this law “prescribes our most fundamental duties” and is coextensive with morality.

Maritain held that there is one single natural law governing all human beings and that basic law can be known “connaturally”, not necessarily rationally or through concepts. This Maritain idea is similar to Aquinas’ idea of syndesis. So natural law is “natural” because it not only reflects human nature but can be known naturally by humans. Maritain acknowledges that certain people are intellectually limited while others come out of cultures where natural law is not followed very closely. Maritain also notes that the requirements of the natural law unfold gradually even to the most diligent student and no one knows all of its nuance.

Intimate to any discuss of natural law is a discussion of human freedom. Maritain notes that a desirable end for humans is freedom which he differentiates from license. He clarifies by saying humans define themselves by their acts of free choice, however, these free acts should be compatible with the social order of society. Maritain has been both praised and criticized for subjecting the free choice of the individual to the needs of the broader social order.

Maritain realized he had to explain how a person can be given free choice but is limited at the same time. He explained thusly. A person’s temporal needs or desires must be subjected to the common good; whereas, his spiritual good comes ahead society’s requirements. He went further and said is times of societal stress (e.g. war, natural disaster, etc) the society has the right to preempt personal freedom (e.g. the draft, compulsory evacuation, etc.).

Maritain view of larger social systems was mixed. He liked representative democracy but was unsure about the desirability of capitalism. Most of all, he felt governmental institutions must operate with theocratic humanism, remembering that all men have both a physical and spiritual side. The state, therefore, should legislate to help meet man’s physical requirements (e.g. security needs, fire protection, streets, etc.) while respecting his need for freedom and his right to practice his religion. In short, a God centered state that honors the individual.

Maritain identified four types of law: eternal, natural, common law of civilization, and positive. Each deserves a short discussion. Eternal law is the law of God as revealed by God through the scriptures and His Church. Natural law is learned from “connaturality” and stems from understanding God’s design of man, man’s purpose in this life, and nature more generally. The law of the civilization is the extension of natural law to the overall society where we find ourselves, encompassed here are traditions and culture. Positive law is the law enacted by the government at a particular time. These various laws are not of equal merit. They rank in the order presented. Accordingly, a positive law that runs counter to say a natural law or eternal law is actually no law at all. An example might serve to illustrate. The eternal law and the natural law and the law of our civilization would all indicate that praying to God is a good thing and should be encouraged in the youth. So when the Supreme Court issues a decision banning prayer in school, one could, probably should, argue that the court decision is against the more important types of law and should be considered “no law at all”.

Going even further, Maritain argues that it is a natural right of each person to seek moral and spiritual perfection, and society has a duty to make the means available so this “seeking after perfection” might occur. This places a positive duty on society which critics have argued is not even found in the 1948 U N. Declaration of Human Rights. Maritain argues that this is true today, but he says recognition of human right is like recognition of natural law, that is that such recognition comes only slowly and with careful thought.

All the foregoing explains why Maritain favored a liberal democratic state inspired by Christian values and yet accommodating individual desires and pluralism. His desires seem naive in the 21st century. Many liberal democratic states today are experiencing unrest as diverse pluralistic groups use their democratic rights to undermine the liberal and Christian values of their societies (e.g. the Muslims in modern France). Maritain had foreseen this possibility, so he also recommended smallish states working together in federation rather than the large “polyglot” states we see today (e.g. China, Russia, the U.S.A., etc.).

Some have noted that Maritain might have been thinking about the kind of country the American founders envisioned in 1776, a federation of more or less independent “smallish” states working together on matters like - the military, foreign affairs, and interstate commerce.

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art -

Maritain had a life long interest in the arts and artists. His thinking was shaped by his wife’s interest in poetry and the many artists in their lives. The Maritains counted Chagall, Rouault, Laurie, Borneans, Cacti, and Green in their list of friends.

Maritain felt art was an example of the practical intellect making something beautiful. He noted that the processes of making something beautiful stimulated the intellect and intuition which in turn brought one closer to understanding the meaning of life. He particularly admired the fact that art involves both thinking and making. Since art involves the creation of something beautiful, it necessarily involves the transcendentals: goodness, truth and unity.

Going further Maritain felt the artist requires freedom from the state and religious authority to create. However he warns the artist’s freedom must not be license. He said even art is limited to expressing only the true and must be subject to “the spiritual conditions of honest work”. He felt human art was analogous to God’s creative activity and is the “highest natural resemblance to God’s activity”. Thus honest, truthful artistic endeavor perfects the artist.

Maritain rejects art which is simply the reproduction of earlier ideas through mechanical technique. He wanted to see intuition and a grasping for new insight. He felt such effort stimulated his precious “connaturality” in the artist and caused new philosophical insights to emerge.

He had a profound influence on the creative people of the 20th century. The American writer Flannery O’Connor said “she cut her artistic teeth” on Maritain. Morley Callaghan, a Canadian author, said “Christian artists were finding new dignity and spiritual adventure” in Maritain’s work.

General Assessment

Although at the time of his death Maritain was undoubtable the best known Catholic philosopher in the world, today his work is most highly prized by political scientists and civil rights leaders. The ideas he inserted into the UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 have found there way into a number of constitutions and declarations of rights adopted in the 20th century. The number of new constitutions adopted in this period is noteworthy as many colonies became stand alone countries and many eastern European countries emerged from Soviet domination. Also both Paul VI and John Paul II have memorialized his ideas in their various official pronouncements.

His ideas on the arts and the formation of youth have found purchase in Latin America and French speaking Africa.

His politics were definitely in the middle of the road neither clearly conservative nor clearly liberal. He was no strong supporter of capitalism, and he joined Pope John Paul II in condemning “liberation theology” which was one of the many excesses that grew out of the Second Vatican Council.

Today there is a Jacques Maritain Center on the campus of Nortre Dame University and that university arranged to publish his complete works in English in the mid 1990's. ...... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 12/15/2019)

Bernie Sanders' Program Proposals Raise Alarm

Looking at the math, Bernie Sanders has proposed some 50 Trillion of new programs over 10 years - say 5 trillion per year.

There are about 500 billionaires and 500,000 multi millionaires in America. If the average billionaire has 10 billion and there are 500 of them then all their wealth comes to 5 trillion. If the average millionaire has 5 million that comes to 2.5 trillion. So if Bernie wipes out all the rich guys we cover a year and one half of Bernie's programs. So how does America pay for last 8.5 years of his new free stuff?

The basic problem is America is 1/3 third world and 2/3 first world. That means every married couple in the first world group has to support themselves, their family, the institutions (e.g. churches, local schools, etc) that make a middle class life possible, and at the same time, in one way or another, support a member of the third world side of the economy (e.g directly with support payments (e.g. food stamps, housing assistance, medicaid) and indirectly by cleaning up after their anti-social behavior (e.g. crime, children out of wedlock, etc.)).

Basically numbers people (e. g. those with engineering degrees,accounting degrees, run smakk businesses, etc.) are worried America has already too far down this path, and now Bernie is saying "no stopping" .... we must go further. Thoughtful people are very concerned. ..... (prepared by Hugh Murray 2/1/2020)

..... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 12/20/2019)

The Age of Entitlement .... by Christopher Caldwell

About the Author

Christopher Caldwell is a 58 year old journalist who has written for such publications as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Weekly Standard.

Caldwell, a graduate of Harvard, is currently a fellow at the Clarmont Institute in Upland, California.

He has written one other book, Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West., which deals with increased Muslim immigration to Europe. The Economist newspaper called it "an important book as well as a provocative one: the best statement to date of the pessimist’s position on Islamic immigration in Europe." The Marxist historian Perry Anderson, though critical of his arguments, nonetheless called it "the most striking single book to have appeared, in any language, on immigration in Western Europe". Caldwell insists that he is "instinctively pro-immigration" and conscious of the media tendency to "sensationalize stories against Muslims".

Caldwell married the daughter of the late columnist Robert Novak and they have five daughters.

About The Age of Entitlement

This book is a tour de force analyzing the causes of America’s current political discontent. It does not point fingers at this person or that group, instead in looks deeper trying to find the foundational problem(s) that makes political conversation so difficult. The author believes America’s anguish stems from differences regarding the basic idea of America. He says America is currently operating with effectively two Constitutions in place. One is the actual Constitution and Bill of Rights implement in the 1788 to 1793 period; a document which directly or indirectly assures freedom of speech, association, and religion. The second constitution grows out of the Civil Rights Act and Immigration Act passed in the LBJ administration which opened the door for regulators and court decisions to micro manage your life, your business, your private institutions, and your local governmental institutions while flooding many neighborhoods with foreigners who had little idea of American culture and, in many cases, little interest in learning about that culture.

For instance, the founders who wrote the first amendment obviously felt Americans should have the right say what they wanted and associate with people they wanted to associate with and organize their local businesses and local institutions (e.g. schools, churches, civic exercise facilities, etc.). But today because of various laws, regulations, and most important judicial decisions these rights are called into question.

Today a small businessman night have to provide services that he would prefer not to provide and perhaps to people he would prefer not to serve. The manager of a exercise facility has to allow the man, who says “I feels I am a woman”, to use the women’s locker room. The principal of a public grade school has to say “no” when the parents ask to have a majority acceptable prayer said before each class or at the beginning of the school day.

These restrictions and requirements make some citizens feel their basic rights under the Constitution are being taken away. However, other citizens feel just as strongly that their needs and rights are now finally being fully realized which is good even if many of their fellow citizens feel abused and deprived of their rights. This is for Caldwell the crux of our national discontent.

How did this Chasm occur?

Here Caldwell gets into the weeds talking about new laws, new regulations, and court cases that moved the American understanding about basic rights, in some cases turning earlier understandings in totally new directions. The most pivotal points were the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Immigration Bill of 1965. These bills were written and aggressively implemented because of the racial unrest in the late 1950's and early 1960's plus the emotional times surrounding the assassination of John Kennedy.

Caldwell feels the fact of a Presidential assassination puts any subsequent corrective actions on steroids. After Lincoln got assassination the country didn’t stop with the 13th amendment, which gave blacks freedom, it also passed the 14th amendment which gave the Federal government great control over the states and has changed America in myriad ways having nothing to do with civil rights. In like fashion the Civil Rights Act was passed with no sunset provision and Immigration Bill was passed with no checks to make certain the numbers coming from non-Christian, non-Democratic places were not excessive. These failures have changed America dramaticly. In addition, they have triggered judicial and regulatory overreach which have also changed America.

A More detail look at this book

The book is divided into two parts with eight large chapters:

Part I - The Revolution of the 1960s

Chapter 1 - 1965 - This is a chapter devoted to setting the stage for what is to come. Here the assassination of John Kennedy is discussed in terms of “unfinished business”. Recall the civil rights revolution was well underway following the Brown vs Board of Education decision, the standoffs at Central High School in Little Roach, the University of Mississippi, and Martin Luther King’s letter from the Birmingham Jail. The war in Vietnam was heating up. In addition, America’s elites had reach a consensus that American labor was too powerful and that the country needed an infusion of workers willing to work for lower wages. All these factors created huge divisions within America. Nevertheless Washington under the leadership of LBJ decided to enact both a major Civil Rights Bill and a major Immigration Bill. These bills broke the cultural tranquility and offered nothing to replace what they destroyed. The social calm of the 1950s began to recede very quickly.

Chapter 2 - Race - In this chapter, Caldwell documents how the Civil Rights Act was implemented. The act and its implementation were intentionally designed to exempt blacks from the traditional process of assimilation. A series of “preferences” were created which allow blacks to do “it their own way”. A Harvard sociologist named Patterson said “ Blacks can now transcend the culture where they live”. For Blacks every tradition was up for grabs. However, the rest of America felt all this black preference would be a “short lived” social experiment.

Chapter 3 - Sex - In 1963, Betty Friedan published the Feminine Mystic. In this book, she questioned the traditional roles of men and women. Her book kicked off the female revolution. The tools of the black civil rights movement were adopted by the women’s lib movement. By 1980 commentator were openly speculating that homosexuals would soon be using these same tools. Most American thought women’s liberation was fine in principle, but when in came to their neighborhood or family they were mostly opposed. The Equal Rights Act started off with a bang, but fizzled out under the steady opposition of Phyllis Schafly’s Eagle Forum which organized in many state capitals where it had to be ratified.

Chapter 4 - War - The Vietnam War escalated steadily in this period (late 60s and early 70s) causing great inter-generational discord. The older folks who recalled the great, successful effort of the Second World War were inclined to support the effort. Younger Americas were less certain; after all, they were the ones who were going to have to fight in this civil war in a place ten thousand miles away. Beyond the war, American began to lose faith in America’s greatness. They saw the discord on the streets from the war and civil rights protesters, they saw new American products that did not perform very well. Then Richard Nixon, had to resign; violent crime increased in the cities, etc.

Part II - The New Constitution

Chapter 5 - Debt - Here the author talks about the National Debt, Jimmy Carter, and the arrival of Ronald Reagan. As the bills came in for the new programs and regulatory agencies that accompanied the Civil Rights and Immigration bills there was little desire to raise taxes, so the country turned to debt. Under Carter there was massive inflation but Fed Reserve Chairman Voelker nipped it with high interest rates. The high interest rates hurt the economy, reduced tax receipts, and increased the need for debt. Ronald Reagan was not inclined to change course. His motto was “every man for himself” and that is not very different from the new culture’s motto “do your own thing”. Ronald Reagan was long on talk but short on action. The programs created in the civil rights era grew. America commitment to Globalism also grew. The rich elites saw great profits by moving operations overseas as the young strove for cultural independence. Both trends put demands on government programs and grew the national debt. Then Jude Winniski and Arthur Laffler came up with justifications for targeted tax cuts designed to “increase government tax receipts”. Ronald Reagan loved their ideas, after all he didn’t want to be “the tax collector to pay for Democratic welfare programs”.

Chapter 6 - Diversity - The baby boomers who approved of LBJ’s Great Society decided the cost had to be outsourced to a flood of low wage earning immigrants. Mature economies have trouble absorbing large numbers of poorly educated immigrants, nevertheless the U.S. decided to control wage inflation with low skilled immigrants, both legal and illegal. Then Ronald Reagan granted legalization and long term resident status to millions of these new arrivals in exchange for future border security. Ted Kennedy agreed with Reagan’s amnesty and called opposition to immigration un-American. However, polls showed such immigration was opposed by a ratio of 7:1. Sen Simpson and Rep Mazzoli attempted to impose employers sanctions on employers who hired the undocumented, but enforcement with sanctions was spotty. Of course, the promised border wall was never funded.

However, the downward pressure on American wages was real as the inflation caused by the debt financing of the Great Society was offset by replacing high cost American workers by outsourcing of American manufacturing to Mexico or China and the importation of low skilled immigrants.

Low skilled immigration was augmented by family “chain migration” which allowed the parents and siblings of these new arrivals to come to the US as well. Many of these new comers put additional pressure on the Great Society programs design to compensate for earlier discrimination against African Americans and, of course, other support programs like Supplemental Social Security, medicare, and medicare.

The 80s saw the rise of intense lobbying by big businesses and the computer began to really impact work places. From the nation’s capital to the individual middle class work space change was everywhere.

Finally, the Presidency of Ronald Reagan saw America become more multi racial. The Martin Luther King holiday was installed as was black history month. Schools changed their curriculum and effectively adjusted the attitudes of the youth. Recently a pool showed that 18 year olds feel Martin Luther King and Harriet Taubman are more important to American history than George Washington or Mark Twain.

Chapter 7 - Winners - Because of computers, manufacturers, who formally had to do all the tasks in a single manufacturing facility because of the need for coordination among the plant’s various department, found they could move low skilled, labor intensive tasks to Mexico or China while keeping the final assembley or packaging in the US. The auto industry and computer industry have used this manufacturing techniques extensively.

Of course, the owners and managers of such companies benefitted disproprotionately from these efficiencies. Other winners were the highly educated people who could program and/or effectively use such computers. Finally, those who could make an “affirmative action” claim to a job because of their race, sex, etc., were also able to participate in this prosperity.

With the 2008 election, Obama took control of the civil rights agenda His focus was on education policy, working with young black men, promoting gay interests, etc. Bush’s Common Core for education policy attracted Obama’s attention, and he promoted the idea of structuring all education K-12 nationwide. Bloomberg had promoted a “my brothers keeper” program for young black men. Obama picked this up but didn’t want the restrictions Congress might impose so he ran the program out of the White House using money obtained from fines paid by offending financial institutions from the 2008 financial crisis. For instance, JP Morgan’s $20 billion fine helped fund this program. When North Carolina decided not to allow trans-gender men to use women’s restrooms, Obama threatened a cut off of Federal money and forced the state to back down. Trans-gender men had won. About this time the Supreme Court decided gays would be allowed to “marry’. Gays had won again.

Chapter 8 -Losers - The Tea Party movement emerged shortly after Obama’s election in 2008. PC (i.e. political correctness) was on the rise, and suddenly certain Republicans began to say the party needed to develop more of a spine, a bit of a rough edge. In the past Republicans had always prided themselves on their happy, polite demeanor. Now some were prepared to say “no”. The pundit, Sam Francis said “the right has failed to realize the old (political) order is dead” it died with FDR. An outsider, Pres. Orban of Hungary said America had lost its ideal. He felt America was no longer being directed by ideals but by political bosses and lobbyists. Closer to home Sen Rand Paul lamented the lose of personal freedoms at the hands of the civil rights agenda. The civil rights movement had some of the characteristics of a new religion, a religion everyone had to join.

Many whites had voted for Obama hoping that having a black in the White House would bring an end to the “civil rights/immigration” craze, but Obama’s eight years only saw race consciousness increase. Blacks, women, and certain gay groups were promoted, while mostly white men suffered. White men were being disadvantaged, but society’s leaders refused to let them claim victim status.

What were the costs?

There were programmatic costs that impacted the budgets of federal and state and local governments and some private employers as well. More welfare programs were implemented; there were now educational programs, affirmative action programs, preferential hiring programs (e.g. quotas), supplemental social security, easier disability requirements, and pressure on banks to wave usual lending guidelines to fascilate home ownership by minorities. Many of these costs were passed on to future generations by increasing the national debt. In 2008 the “no doc” home loans imploded and nation was thrown into a deep recession; finally the costs began to be born, at least in part, by America’s current generation. This because the size of America’s debt by 2011 made huge increases in debt burden problematic.

As women began to jump on this civil rights band wagon the idea of male oppression of women gained currency and schools decided to femininize boys so they would be less inclined to oppress women after they grew up.

Black boys seem to have escaped this process of feminazation. They have retained a raw masculinity which many women are drawn to and many men are inclined to follow.

Caldwell implies, but does not say, the moneyed people in America had to be induced to accept these increased regulations, with affirmative action, quotas, etc. The quid pro quo here was the freedom to move facilities offshore and sell their goods back into the US market duty free.

As homosexuals rights came along, same sex marriage was the natural extension. The courts had forced prayer out of public schools much earlier, now the court took a religious term, marriage, that had always describe a heterosexual union and gave its use to homosexuals as well.

But the sexual revolution did not stop there. There were those men who had sex change operations and they wanted to exercise their full rights as women. So we now see former men competing in women’s sporting events and using women’s locker rooms.

What is the bottom line?

Caldwell offers a few summary thoughts about all the forgoing:

1) The author recalls that Nietzsche said no society has gone from having a “superior race and an inferior race” to being a society where “everybody is now equal”. He said you can only do a switch where the old inferior race becomes the superior race. With this in mind, Caldwell thinks whites, particularly white men, are becoming the inferior race in America.

2) Caldwell thinks there are great differences between those who embrace all these changes and those who say we have had enough let’s get rid of the preferences. These differences are so great the two sides can hardly talk to each other about any political issue.

3) Regarding immigration, Caldwell says immigrants are not being assimilated partly because the current American society is so confused the immigrants don’t know which cultural values to adopt and which to reject. Many immigrants feel the cultures they left have more logical coherence than the American culture they see around them.

4) Caldwell fells Obama’s election was the electorate saying “enough already”, let’s have a black president for a while so we can show racism is behind us and so we can end all this civil rights nonsense. Then when Obama’s presidency lead to even more preferences and greater discord, the electorate, almost in despair, reached for the flamboyant reality star, Donald Trump.


A closing note by this reviewer:

The many problems pointed out by Caldwell were enabled by two widely separated events in American history.

First, in 1803 the Supreme Court issued an opinion which said the Supreme Court by itself has the right to decide what the Constitution and by extension the laws actually mean. This put the Supreme Court in the “cat bird seat” when deciding what the words governing Americans really said.

This was not a problem so long as the lawyers who were appointed to the high court were traditional and conservative in their thinking.

However, a second change was on the distant horizon. In the twentith century a new concept showed up in law schools. This was the idea of lawyers and judges taking positive steps to use judge made law to implement needed change in society. Well it was only a matter of time before these “positive law” ideas began to show up in the kinds of cases lawyers were presenting to the courts and then in the lawyers being appointed to the bench, including the Supreme Court, to decide cases.

Since about 1939, after FDR threatened the Supreme Court with “court packing” if it didn’t loosen up, the court has jettisoned it traditional and conservative preferences and began using its power to decide legal meanings in a “positive law” way. By 1958 the court was so confident in its powers, that in a case called Cooper v. Aaron, it actually wrote “the Constitution says whatever we say it says”. This has made every session of the Supreme Court a “mini Constitutional convention” where the Constitution rarely emerges without some significant change.

This “positive law” confidence grew and grew. The court eventually outlawed prayer in public schools (but interestingly not in Congress), allowed homosexuals to get married, compelled the busing of public school children great distances to accomplish socially “desirable” goals, rewrote State Constitutions, removed the protection of unborn babies, removed the right of the state to regulate drug sales inside their boundaries, etc. All done without any action by the political branches (e.g. the President, Congress).

All the forgoing explains why judicial appointments is now one of the most hotly discussed issues when Americans consider Presidential candidates. These judicial appointees will eventually decide which of the two Constitutions, that Caldwell has identified, will eventually control American life ............ (prepared by Hugh Murray on 3/7/2020)


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This page hopes to bring a common sense, old fashioned view to today's news. The comments displayed on this page were prepared by Hugh V. Murray, who can be reached at hvm@aol.com