I have to admit, as much as I dislike Senator Elizabeth Warren’s politics, I enjoyed her grilling of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf. It appears that the bank put extreme pressure on employees to use questionable policies to meet sales goals. First, over 5,000 lower level employees were fired, as if the buck stopped with them. Then, one of the major players got booted, but was given $100 million on the way out the door. All John Stumpf got was a grilling by Senator Warren.
There was something distasteful about the Senator’s berating of Mr. Stumpf though. She is just one of a long line of lawmakers who have used their committee seats as sanctimonious soapboxes. It wasn’t until I read a commentary from FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) that I realized how hypocritical Senator Warren’s moral outrage was. (Note, Senator Warren was a TARP administrator when Mr. Stumpf was given a $25 million bonus after the 2008 financial meltdown.)
“Though Warren may “speak truth to power” to Wall Street, she often turns mute on some of the worst abuses of government. Like most statists, she sees the speck in her brother’s private eye while failing to see the beam in her own public eye. A whole manner of sins, it seems, are forgiven once one is “serving the public” in government.”
Senator Warren has no monopoly on hypocrisy in Washington though. From far right to far left, those who have the inclination toward power are, for the most part, always willing to sacrifice consistency, logic, ethics, and fairness to kick an opponent or to protect their power. It is inherent in the nature of politics.
Supporters of Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz have expressed their dismay at the apparent compromise of their candidates’ principles. Congressmen regularly trade favors with their adversaries in hopes of claiming a political win. Campaign promises are quickly forgotten on the second Wednesday of November. Can you name a single national level politician that hasn’t lied to us?
Are these people somehow less principled than the average citizen? Have they lost their ethical compass? Are they the evil power mongers that we (myself included) make them out to be? Some (many!) are, but most are just ordinary people with extraordinary egos. Let’s not lose sight of that fact by putting them on undeserved pedestals.
At the same time, realize that someone needs to do the dirty work of politics. Our friends and family who join campaigns of imperfect politicians are doing important work. Some of us may find it distasteful, but without allies working on the inside, there is little hope of winning important ideological battles later.
Fight for liberty in whatever way moves you, and have respect for those allies who choose different weapons and tactics. We’ll never agree on what tactics are best, but we must learn to work together for common goals. Let us always remember who the real enemies of liberty are.
It is estimated that more than 50 million students are enrolled in elementary and secondary public schools this fall. Another 5 million are enrolled in private schools and more than 20 million are enrolled in post-secondary schools. All this adds up to more than 75 million students entering classrooms in the next couple of weeks.
Hundreds of thousands of families have chosen to opt out of the standard education system though. This year, more than 1.5 million students will be homeschooled. More than an act of love and concern for their own children, homeschooling is a brave act of defiance to a statist system of indoctrination and conformity. Staying outside of the perceived “norm” of society, these families are trailblazers. They are defining a new way of thinking about some of society’s most influential institutions.
Another group of families has gone even further by unschooling their children. Unschooling lets education be directed by the interests of the child. It sounds radical to those of us who are products of the factory schools, but it has proven to be effective for some children. A recent study discussed in Psychology Today looked at adults who had been unschooled. It found that they had higher rates of completing advanced degrees than conventional students.
Participants in the unschooling survey “wrote about the freedom and independence that unschooling gave them and the time it gave them to discover and pursue their own interests. Seventy percent of them also said, in one way or another, that the experience enabled them to develop as highly self-motivated, self-directed individuals.”
The idea that school is not for everyone or that it is a prison is nothing new. In Book VII of Plato’s Republic, Socrates says; “…Because a freeman ought not to be a slave in the acquisition of knowledge of any kind. Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body, but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind. “
H.L. Menken said; “The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda – a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make ‘good’ citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive citizens.”
Unschooling works for some children, homeschooling for others, and, for many, a conventional public or private education is best. We should not understate the great work being done every day by dedicated public school teachers. They often struggle in a seriously flawed system, yet still manage to deliver a valuable education to America’s youth. There is a downside to mass education though; a sickness of staleness and conformity. In the market of ideas, it is likely that the unschoolers and the homeschoolers will lead the way out of dark side of the public factory education. In our battle for freedom, we must protect those who are leading us to a better way.
When you think about the events in human history that have transformed the very fabric of society and have spurred on the evolutionary, technological progression of the world we tend to think in terms of tangible items like vaccines, electricity, automobiles, telephones, etc. Asked to think deeper we might mention nuclear power, landing on the moon or cracking the human genome. But if we go deeper, think not of something tangible in the immediate, nor a monumental historical event we find that the most fundamental, life altering (for the world), all encompassing discovery and utilitarian event in modern human history was the discovery and development of oil.
Mechanization made the work day easier, shorter, cooler, warmer, safer. Travel became quicker, safer. Food became less contaminated and could be shipped across Continents. Today, a wounded soldier in Afghanistan (however seriously) can be airlifted and in ICU within a few hours. Each, and every step of the way, because of the development of oil.
Third World, abjectly impoverished nations are the worst hit whenever a climate related disaster takes place. Western economies can handle such things because of our use of oil. It is not the use oil (causing Climate Change) that creates death and destruction in such areas it is the lack there of. A drought in Ethiopia kills millions. A drought in California means grapes cost a dollar more. A flood in Sir-Lanka creates a refugee crisis. A flood in Ohio and Serve-Pro arrives.. Like it never even happened.
The benefit of oil is there for us all to see. The risk is also there for us all to see. But the former outweighs the latter and we can mitigate those risks. Conversely, abandoning our use of oil is unproven, problematic, un-foreseen, un-knowable and fraught with risk. Risks we neither know how to mitigate if we can at all.
Oil is in every facet of our lives so much so we cannot fathom it, yet enjoy it’s abundance. Oil removed from every facet of our lives is abundantly un-fathomable.
M&P Conservative Media Network CEO
Worcester Tea Party Dean of Journalism
The Constitution of the United States of America, the longest lasting written constitution in world history – is a document written over 200 years ago, during the time of many competing philosophies of which Rational (based on facts or reason) and Empirical (by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic) are but two. Well-reasoned and intelligently thought out, it is a document for the ages with goals that are fairly simple and straightforward.
The time of Rationalism (also known as ‘The Enlightenment’) gave us scientific and political revolutions and changed the world, hurtling us into Modernism; it was during this time that our Constitution was born. Based on what was happening in many nations in Europe, our Founders were determined to create a better government, designed to “secure the ‘blessings of Liberty’ to ourselves and our Posterity.” In the Declaration of Independence, the Founders stated:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Based on the failures of government by Oligarchy, Monarchy, or other Authoritarian Rulers at that time, and to prevent a Tyrannical Government, the Founding Fathers, fearing tyranny in every form, created in the Constitution a 3-pronged approach to keeping Freedom and Liberty: the Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, and Federalism so that Tyranny could not be easily established.
Our Constitution is a Gift from those who came before and is our only protection from those who wish to impose their Tyranny upon us; we must work to make sure it is properly upheld from within, or face the dire consequences. If you are not already involved in ensuring Liberty within the United States, please join with us in doing so and to protect the government ‘of the people.’
Hundreds of thousands of high school and college students are celebrating their commencements this June. These academic achievements are sources of pride for parents, students, grandparents, and teachers. Hats off to those who have made it through! Now, you get to sit through a 90 minute speech telling you how to enter the real world.
In the minds of the grads, they’re probably thinking “I’m finally done!”, yet, ironically, the ceremony noting their accomplishment is called a “commencement”. It’s derived from an Old French word, comencier, meaning “to start.” It’s a cruel joke. “What do you mean I’m starting? No! No! No! I just finished. I’m not starting!”
We older and wiser sages know that they really are just beginning. They may get some direction from the education that they received, but life will deal them some zigs and zags that will send them to places they never planned on going.
Our national elections should be commencements. They should be new beginnings. We should have a chance to wipe the slate clean of the mistakes of the past, while being guided by what we’ve learned from making them. It doesn’t seem to work that way though. We make the same mistakes over and over. We spend and borrow and hack away at our Constitution after every new election.
Those of us who have been advocating for the rebirth of liberty are repeatedly dismayed by each election. We shouldn’t think of these as failures though. Have faith in individuals, in millions of citizens who struggle to overcome the barriers set up by broken systems, broken institutions, and a broken government. Most of these individuals attend “youniversity”. They have everything that they need to graduate. No one is going to hand them a certificate of completion, yet they go to “class” every day, supporting their families and their communities.
The next few months are going to be tumultuous. Many will be dismayed by the choices that we are being offered. In the end, it’s up to each of us as individuals to spit in the face of the broken systems that impede millions of Americans from achieving economic success and real freedom. We do this by thriving. Use the benefit of “youniversity.” Learn, write, speak up, act up, and volunteer. “You got everything you need to graduate with first class accomplishments put in you! YOU can do it!”
This year, the Jewish Passover falls at the end of April (4/20-4/30). Passover traditionally begins with a Seder, a ritual meal full of symbolism and the retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. This is the story told in The Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible (what many Christians refer to as the Old Testament).
Since the original story of Exodus, the same story has been lived out many times, by many people, in many lands. People seeking freedom from tyranny have suffered hardship and death over and over again, even to this day. Just like the Israelites of 3,000 years ago, refugees from the war scarred 20th century sought liberation. Today, we see the suffering of Iraqis and Syrians fleeing ISIS and Assad. We see refugees from war and terrorism seeking a better future for their families. Three thousand years after Moses, the thirst for freedom and safety remains unquenched
Many of the “plagues” of today are easy to show on the evening news. It’s very graphic and heart breaking to see women and children driven from their homes. There are other plagues which are not so easy to visualize. For these plagues, we don’t see blood being spilled or bombs dropping or children being beheaded. They are no less of a threat to freedom. These plagues are propagated in legislatures and voting booths; in campaign headquarters and courtrooms; in newsrooms and college lecture halls. These are the places from which come the threats to freedom in much of the world.
Perhaps we could wish for boils and frogs and locusts to descend on Washington, D.C. to convince our modern day tyrants to set us free, but I’m afraid that part of the Exodus story won’t be repeated. Moses isn’t coming to help us this time. There is no Moses running for President this year, although Bernie Sanders may have been around for the Exodus.
The Jewish tradition of retelling the story of their liberation from slavery gives them an opportunity to give thanks for their liberation and to remember their suffering. We all should remember the bitterness of oppression and seek to eliminate it. It may take another 3,000 years, but it is our responsibility to carry on the legacy of those who worked for liberty before us and for those who will follow us.
Jews conclude the Seder with a hope for their Messiah “L’shanah haba’ah b’Yerushalayim hab’nuyah!”- “Next year in the rebuilt Jerusalem!” It’s in recognition of an imperfect world, but a world in which next year may bring them closer to spiritual perfection. We do live in an imperfect world, yet this is the best time in the history of mankind to be alive. With your help, I know that the future will be better and freer. We don’t need Moses to continue the struggle for freedom that has been fought through the millennia. That struggle has been left to us.
The Worcester Tea Party is a response to the abuses of our government by a corrupted political class. In ways both large and small our government has not been used to serve the vast majority of the people of our nation. The vast wealth of our nation has been squandered with little lasting good to show for it. A few connected individuals have profited while most of us struggled to keep up. In too many cases the rich and powerful have evaded justice while injustice has been inflicted on the poor and powerless. Our reputation in the world has been pockmarked by their feckless policies. Our friends no longer feel they can trust us. Our enemies see us as a joke.
The Worcester Tea Party is our commitment to a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Self-selected special interests have thwarted the will of the American people and brought our nation to the brink of bankruptcy and decay. It is this corrupted political class that has failed. They have failed our founding ideals. They have failed all of us. We believe that all of our problems can be solved, and will be solved by the American people.
The Worcester Tea Party is a free education organization Political correctness is a tool used by the corrupted political class to control and silence their opponents. We are committed to having the freest and most open conversations about the challenges facing our nation. We believe that the future of our nation depends on us forging solutions out of ideas. We do not hold some secret solutions, but a proven method by which we can determine solutions. We believe in the right of people to think for themselves and make the choices they think are best.
The Worcester Tea Party is an opportunity for all those that wish to take it. All are welcome to attend, listen, present and debate. Because we believe it free exchange of ideas we believe there is nothing that cannot be tested. Controversial opinions will be voiced and debated and when appropriate rejected. There can be no barriers allowed to block our pursuit of the truth.
The Worcester Tea Party is our duty to our children and our parents. As Americans we stand on the shoulders of giants. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, all have contributed to elevating us by helping forge ideas into institutions. Today we are the inheritors of their labor and inspiration. We do not shirk from our role in making our politics and our government work. Quite the contrary we jealously guard our duty to this great experiment. Our actions are informed by the knowledge that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” We received these gifts from our parents, we will make our contributions, and as mortal beings we will pass these great gifts on to the next generation of Americans.
“Independence is my happiness,
and I view things as they are,
without regard to place or person;
my country is the world,
and my religion is to do good.”
Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man
When Thomas Paine wrote these words in 1791, he was writing in opposition to Edmund Burke’s defense of the aristocracy and the corrupt system that they had built for their own benefit. In a previous 100 years, the taxes imposed by the English government had increased almost tenfold (from 1.8 million pounds to 17 million pounds). By comparison, the budget of the U.S. government has increased to 14 times the U.S. budget of 100 years ago (after adjusting for inflation). Much like U.S. citizens of the 21st century, English citizens were oppressed by a government gone wild. The aristocrats were shielded from the taxes and regulations that were causing much grief among the lower classes.
Paine pointed out how useless the aristocrats were:
Paine believed that the national character of the English had changed over the previous century and that this was why they put up with the abuse:
“It would have been impossible to have dragooned the former English, into the excess of taxation that now exists; and when it is considered that the pay of the army, the navy, and of all the revenue officers, is the same now as it was about a hundred years ago, when the taxes were not above a tenth part of what they are at present, it appears impossible to account for the enormous increase and expenditure on any other ground, than extravagance, corruption, and intrigue.”
Like the English of the 18th century, has the national character of Americans changed such that we continue to believe the lies put forward by Progressives for the past 100 years? Dismally, it almost looks so.
Many freedom loving Americans are confounded by the 2016 Presidential campaign. If the polls are to be believed, we are headed for one of most bizarre choices in the history of Presidential politics. How did we get here? It seems like far too many Americans have lost sight of some of the most fundamental aspects of liberty. We are being driven by personalities and policies, but lack the rudder of principle.
Thomas Paine was a man of principle, who had suffered much by the end of his life because he refused to compromise those principles.
“To me, who have not only refused offers, because I thought them improper, but have declined rewards I might with reputation have accepted, it is no wonder that meanness and imposition appear disgustful.”
Some of the choices offered to us for President this year seem to be lacking principle altogether. Can we survive? Yes! What is important is that the citizenry adhere to principles based on limited government, a free market, and individual rights. These are the principles that the Tea Party movement sprouted from.
Do not worship those who fail to acknowledge the most basic principles of liberty, of the free market, and of our natural rights. What is the most important characteristic that you are looking for in our next President? Is it only that they beat the other team? Is it that they are the least offensive? Or, is it that your choice has the resolve to defend liberty?
As an organization, the Worcester Tea Party does not endorse candidates, but we do ask that you consider their belief in our principles. Are they for limited government, Constitutional rights, and a free market? It’s a tall order, but you should not settle for less.
“The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Anyone that studies politics and history understands that mankind has fought culture wars since the dawn of civilization. Culture wars are fierce contests of ideas. Religion vs. secularism. Socialism vs. capitalism. Democracy vs. tyranny. Judicial activism vs. restraint. There will be no end to the culture wars. And this is how it should be.
In its most basic form, the culture war is a battle between those who seek to protect and retain what came before and those would discard it and force something that is promised to be better. It’s not a battle solely for political power. It is a battle to control the direction of society. Will society be allowed to adapt to new ideas on its own or will ideas be forced onto society for its own good.
“The two parties which divide the state, the party of Conservatism and that of Innovation, are very old, and have disputed the possession of the world ever since it was made. This quarrel is the subject of civil history. The conservative party established the reverend hierarchies and monarchies of the most ancient world. The battle of patrician and plebeian, of parent state and colony, of old usage and accommodation to new facts, of the rich and the poor, reappears in all countries and times. The war rages not only in battle-fields, in national councils, and ecclesiastical synods, but agitates every man’s bosom with opposing advantages every hour. On rolls the old world meantime, and now one, now the other gets the day, and still the fight renews itself as if for the first time, under new names and hot personalities.”
20th century conservative political philosopher Russell Kirk explained it this way:
“The conservative thinks of political policies as intended to preserve order, justice, and freedom. The ideologue, on the contrary, thinks of politics as a revolutionary instrument for transforming society and even transforming human nature. In his march toward Utopia, the ideologue is merciless.”
So much of liberal ideology espouses ideas that are contrary to human nature. Their economic proposals are based on emotions of envy that deny property rights. They fail to recognize the inherent need for people to defend their own property and lives. They try to silence differing ideas and crush religious freedom in the name of their own religion of secularism.
This battle between conservatives and progressives is healthy and necessary for our society to advance. When one side gets an artificial advantage, and seeks to silence the other, much damage will ensue. Today the forces flanking from the “left” have weapons forged in academia, in bureaucrats’ offices, and in courtrooms that have given them a huge advantage. It’s created a dangerous imbalance.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan said correctly that “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society”, but 21st century politics is crushing the normal adaptive nature of culture. Too many have fallen for demagogues who proclaim that politicians will determine the success of our society.
These are worrisome times in the culture war. It may seem that there is little room for our values. History has taught us that new is not synonymous with better. We can be secure in the knowledge that in the contest of ideas the truth shall be the ultimate victor. That security does not allow us to passively standby. It requires us to commit to the truth and join the contest. Each of us has an important contribution to make in this contest. Vote, Debate, and Participate, until we win!
December is a month where much of humanity defies the frigid darkness by celebrating what may be our most joyous holiday. Christians and non-Christians alike have taken to the spirit of Christmas to celebrate in their own ways. Words of peace and joy and good cheer are shared with all. This year though, we enter the season with a darkness spreading like the Shadow of Mordor across the free world.
Years of a foreign policy based on hubris and naive talk of containment have put the civilized world at risk in ways not seen since the Cold War. This combination of neglect and malfeasance have given the enemies of modernity and freedom the time, money, and brazen confidence to wreak death and fear across the globe. The world has realized that the once steady leadership of the United States is in shambles and they doubt our will and ability to confront evil. This holiday season, instead of wishes of Peace on Earth, the talk is of war.
A greater danger comes not from the terrible but unlikely act of a terrorist, but from more certain threat of a government which would respond to every crisis by eroding our freedoms. Those who are familiar with Robert Higgs’ book, Crisis and Leviathan, know that governments use fear and war to implement new laws and restrictions.
Often, the proposals are sold as only temporary, as the French are doing now with their three month state of emergency. Personal computers in France are now subject to administrative searches without a warrant. The internet is being censored. Other searches are now done at the whim of the police. If history is our guide, many of these policies will continue when the emergency ends.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Either we believe these words or we do not. If we meekly retreat and hide, then these are not real principles, but just pretty words to be discarded out of convenience. It would give the terrorists a veto on our rights. Fear should never be a justification for the abandonment of our rights.
In times like this, we need our reason, and our principles, and our faith. We need to prudently respond to security threats. As we respond, we need to be cautious about overreacting and calls to hand over our rights in the name of security. We must destroy evil with resolve, and we must also defend our liberty with that same resolve.
In this season nearly one third of the population of the Earth will celebrate the Light of a Savior. In this season the Jewish faith celebrates the light of the Maccabees’ oil. Many other faiths choose this time to celebrate the promise that the sun would bring warmth and light. We must not let the shadow of terror eclipse this season of light and joy, and we should pray that our country finds the courage to allow our light to banish that darkness.