The St. Croix Review

The St. Croix Review

The St. Croix Review speaks for middle America, and brings you essays from patriotic Americans.

Survey of Conservative Magazines: Lies and Consequences

Fayette Durlin and Peter Jenkin

Fayette Durlin and Peter Jenkin write from Brownsville, Minnesota.

James Piereson has written an essay, "The Making of a Martyr," in the fall issue of The Claremont Review that convincingly explains our rancorous domestic politics of the last 50 years, a history largely determined by the lies told about the Kennedy assassination. Everything grows out of the initial lie, promulgated almost at once by influential leaders and columnists, that the President's death was fostered by an atmosphere of hatred, fostered since the 1950s by right wing ideologues, an indictment that essentially effaced Lee Oswald, who became the forgotten man of the story. Oswald was a Communist sympathizer who had actually moved to Russia, married a Russian woman, fired a shot at Edwin Walker, head of the Dallas chapter of the John Birch society, and tried desperately to get to Cuba to see his hero, Fidel Castro.

If Jack Ruby had not intervened, it is probable that Oswald's motives would have been exposed at a trial and the liberal lies would not have had such an easy time, but Ruby killed him, and thereafter Oswald was, for all intents and purposes, written out of the story.

. . . so the assassination came to be encrusted in layers of myth, illusion, and disinformation strong enough to deflect every attempt to understand it from a rational point of view.

Those last words - "rational point of view" - are the crux of the matter. With Oswald and his leftist motive essentially masked, the way was clear for the "blame America, especially rightward Americans, for its bigotry and hatred" line that had already been widely disseminated. The diminishment of Oswald, however, left a hole at the center, which was filled with proliferating conspiracy theories. Three quarters of Americans today believe that the assassination was a conspiracy.

Meanwhile another lie - that Kennedy was really a martyr in the cause of civil rights - was being crafted by the President's widow, as well as Lyndon Johnson, who used the lie to aid the passage of the civil rights law, about which Kennedy was actually very lukewarm. As Piereson points out, the assassination was an incident in the Cold War, nothing else. By making Kennedy a martyr in a domestic cause, and by indicting America, especially the Right, the liberal establishment set the stage for the wave of anti-Americanism that was to infect the country during the next decade, culminating at the Democratic convention in 1968. Liberalism was giving way to radicalism in the Democratic Party, with results we see today.

It was wrong for national leaders in 1963 to invent a story of President Kennedy's assassination that deflected responsibility from the real assassin to the nation's culture or to a group of Americans who played no role in the President's death. In formulating a story that fit comfortably with assumptions of the time, even though it was at variance with the facts, they sowed the seeds for distrust and division in the body politic that are still with us today.

The lie did not actually create the liberal hatred and demonization of the Right, which had begun in the late 1940s and early 1950s when Communist infiltration of government agencies and then McCarthyism became big public issues. Liberals were on the defensive at first; the Wallace campaign in 1948 had sobered them, but the crudity and malevolence of McCarthy roused them to excuse or forget fellow-traveling naivete. That's when, pursuing the opening McCarthy gave them, liberals began to demonize the Right. The lies about the assassination and the fabrication of Kennedy as a martyr for civil rights, and then the whole Camelot nonsense, created a master narrative of a shining liberal figure brought down by reactionary bigots of the Right, which helped to inspire the radicals of the 60s and beyond. What this excellent essay does it to make us see how significant the lies about the assassination have been in the formation of the rancorous mess we face today. *

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 11:34

Letters from a Conservative Farmer - Sow Walk

Letters from a Conservative Farmer - Sow Walk

Jigs Gardner

Jigs Gardner is an Associate Editor of the St. Croix Review. Jigs Gardner writes on literature from the Adirondacks, where he may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
From long experience in the world this female [sow] was grown very sagacious and artful. When she found occasion to converse with a boar she used to open all the intervening gates, and march, by herself, up to a distant farm where one was kept; and when her purpose was served would return by the same means. -Gilbert White, The Natural History of Selborne, Letter XXXIII, May 1776.

When I missed the big sow leaning over the wall of her pen, barking for her breakfast, a suspicion stirred in my mind, but suspicion became certainty when I looked in the pen and saw Mrs. Pig sitting back on her haunches, looking at me fondly; her last breeding had not been successful. Just to be sure, I gave her the definitive test. Climbing into the pen, I bent over in front of the sow for just the wink of a moment. Even as I straightened up and scrambled for the wall, she was trying to mount me - all 500 pounds of her.

Jo Ann looked up from the milking stool.

"Sow's in heat."

"Oh, no!"

"Don't worry, I'll manage it some way."

We talked it over at breakfast when we got back from the barn. It was a two-mile drive through the woods to the boar, but before I even got started I would have to spread the manure that was on the wagon, remove the wagon body and replace it with a bigger one, and finally, inveigle Mrs. Pig into her traveling crate and hoist that on the wagon. Ordinarily, this would not present a problem, but Jo Ann was coming down with something and was feeling rottener by the minute, so I would have to do everything alone - not an impossible job, but not a desirable one, either.

By the time the dishes were done, nothing had been decided, but I said again, as I went out the door, "Don't worry, I'll take care of it." I added jokingly, "Maybe I'll lead her on a rope." Jo Ann laughed.

The truth was, the passage from White's Natural History had lain in the back of my mind for years, waiting for this moment. I knew very well what I was going to do; I was going to walk the sow to the boar.

I got Mrs. Pig out the door and into the barnyard all right, but then my troubles began. The hardest part of the whole journey was getting the sow away from the vicinity of the barn. Walking behind her, I used a long, slender stick as a guide: if she started a left deviation, I reached over and tapped her on the left jowl, and so on. Guiding her near the barn, however, was difficult, because there was no road, no path, just an expanse of barnyard and then pasture before we reached the woods. In the middle of the pasture, I almost gave up and turned back. Mrs. Pig would not go forward, only sideways, with a strong inclination for backwards. I gained new appreciation for the term "pig-headed." So I kept myself always between her and the barn. I leaned against her, I halted her left and right deviations, I uttered soft sounds of encouragement, and eventually, grudgingly, Mrs. Pig allowed herself to be pushed through the gate and into the woods road.

The narrow road did not offer the sow the invitation to wander sideways but, of course, she wanted to root around in the mossy duff underfoot, so our progress was leisurely: amble and root, amble and root.

Walking behind her, urging her on from time to time, I thought about the road ahead. In a half mile, the woods road would strike a power line, and there we would be at a crossroad. I wanted to turn left, following the power line for about a half mile until it reached the old abandoned portion of Robinson Road, which we could follow almost to the boar. The other way, straight across the power line, offered us more open fields and a longer walk on a main graveled road.

The problem, of course, was whether the sow could be turned out of her straight road, and there I had doubts. For one thing, I had never transported her that way in the wagon; we had always gone straight ahead. For another thing, it seemed to me that Mrs. Pig was using her nose as a guide, and I had been over the straight road with another sow in a wagon just a few days before. There'd be no such scent the other way. Well, we would see.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed the sights and sounds of the woods in early May in a way - a slow walk - that is unusual for me in the spring when I'm so busy with fencing and cultivating and the myriad tasks the farm cries out for me to do. Lately, I had traveled in these woods only with the team, and the navigational hazards of a narrow woods road - low branches, boggy spots, projecting roots, sharp turns, and so on - have held my attention. For instance, just before we reached the power line, noticing some chickdees in a spruce beside the road, I stopped to watch them and was rewarded with a sight, not of the common black-caps, but of the rarer brown-caps. I should not have seen them at all if I had not been just ambling along behind Mrs. Pig.

When we reached the power line, my forebodings were borne out; the sow would not turn left, insisting instead on sniffing her way straight across the power line. Knowing the futility of arguing with a sow that size, I followed her along the road until it ended in a field above my neighbors' farmhouse. Here I anticipated more backing and filling and sideways wandering, but Mrs. Pig fooled me by heading right for the farmhouse and then on down the long lane.

Even the main road didn't faze her; as directed, she turned left and stepped right along. I began to think we might make it, and I considered how to reveal, with maximum effect, my exploit to Jo Ann. Running through, in my mind, some different approaches, I finally settled on the cool, casual act: "Where were you?" "Oh, just strolling over to the Lewises' with Mrs. Pig." Something like that.

My daydream was disturbed by the sound of a car behind me. Great Heavens! What will the sow do? Whiz! And the car was past us, and lo! Mrs. Pig immediately chased it at a fast trot, ears flopping and tail wagging, until the car was out of sight. One other car passed us, and she chased that one, too. A kind Providence did not send us any cars from the opposite direction.

When we came in sight of our destination, Lewis, the boar's owner and manager, was walking toward the barn. He stopped and stared at us for a long moment before he hustled to the barn and let out the boar. Mrs. Pig trotted straight into the barnyard, there to cavort and gambol with the boar while Lewis and I went in the kitchen for tea and cookies.

Lewis told me that he had never seen such a feat, though his father used to lead a sow 400 yards down the road to a boar at the next farm. But two miles! It was a triumphant moment for me, and I was so pleased with Mrs. Pig's performance that I left her there to enjoy the boar's company overnight.

But it was the triumph at home I looked forward to, though the scenario was not quite what I had envisioned. My casual act never had a chance because Jo Ann had figured out what I had done, but she did not disappoint me:

After a long while, seeing that the wagon was still parked in front of the barn, I went up to see what was going on, and when I saw the empty pen, my mouth just fell open!

And she gave me a kiss. *

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 11:34

The Obamacare Surveillance System

The Obamacare Surveillance System

Twila Brase

Twila Brase is a registered nurse, a public health nurse, and president and co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom. CCHF supports patient and doctor freedom, medical innovation, and the right of citizens to a confidential patient-doctor relationship. CCHF is a non-profit foundation that solicits contributions. Its email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; its telephone number is 651-646-8935.

There is an Obamacare surveillance system. Surveillance is national news today, except in health care. That needs to change. The National Security Administration (NSA) is not the only agency spying on citizens without their consent or knowledge. And the problem is going to get worse under the federal reform law, empowering the IRS in ways we've never seen before.

In fact, 700 pages of the 2,700-page Obamacare law were a rewrite of IRS code, according to expert testimony at the Minnesota legislature, giving the IRS 47 new tax provisions to administer and essentially establishing the IRS as a police force for implementing and imposing Obamacare.

The health insurance exchange system will build it. It begins with the state-based websites (e.g.,,, It continues with the computerized information technology network that stretches from each website into the Federal Data Services Hub. The Hub then uses this vast national IT infrastructure to reach into the databases of state government agencies and federal government agencies to grab data on individuals and employers applying for Exchange coverage. All that private data is captured and sent to a new Federal System of Records called the "Health Insurance Exchanges Program."

The IRS and other federal and state agencies will use the data in this new centralized surveillance system to monitor compliance with Obamacare and police the Obamacare mandate that requires everyone to purchase private insurance, enroll in government coverage or pay a penalty-tax.

Data gathering will be extensive. Individuals, employers, employees, various entities, and government contractors will all be included. According to the federal document announcing the new centralized federal surveillance system there are seven categories of individuals whose data will be stored:

The system will contain personally identifiable information (PII) about the following categories of individuals who participate in or are involved with the CMS Health Insurance Exchanges Program: (1) Any applicant/enrollee who applies, or on whose behalf an application is filed, for an eligibility determination for a qualified health plan (QHP) through an Exchange, insurance affordability program, or for a certification of exemption; (2) Navigators, Agents, Brokers, individuals or entities that are required to register with an Exchange prior to assisting qualified individuals to enroll in QHPs through the Exchange; (3) officers, employees, and contractors of the Exchange; (4) employees and contractors of CMS (e.g., marketplace assisters, appeals staff); (5) contact information and business identifying information of QHPs seeking certification; (6) persons employed by or contracted with an Exchange organization who provide home or personal contact information; and (7) any qualified employer and the qualified employees whose enrollment in a QHP is facilitated through a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). [Emphasis added.]

What kind of information will be stored? The February 6 [2013] announcement of the new surveillance system provides the answer. The following list is not inclusive about the data to be collected and stored, but it is indicative of the extensive surveillance system being built:

* Applicant's first names, last name, middle initial
* Mailing address or permanent residential address
* Social Security Number
* Taxpayer status
* Gender
* Ethnicity
* Residency
* Email address
* Telephone number
* Information that will verify the information provided by the individual/enrollee . . . that will enable a decision about an applicant's eligibility
* Citizenship or immigration status
* Enrollment in Federally funded minimum essential health coverage (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP), Veterans' Health Administration (Champ VA), Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Department of Defense (TRICARE), Peace Corps)
* Incarceration status
* Indian status
* Enrollment in employer-sponsored coverage
* Requests for and accompanying documentation to justify receipt of individual responsibility exemptions, including membership in a certain type of recognized religious sect or health care sharing ministry
* Employer information
* Status as a veteran
* Limited health status information (pregnancy status, blindness, disability status)
* Household income, including tax return information from the IRS, income information from the Social Security Administration, and financial information from other third party sources.
* Applicant's enrollment in a qualified health plan (QHP)
* Premium amounts and payment history
* Name and address of the employer who uses the SHOP exchange
* Number of employees of the employer who uses the SHOP exchange
* Employer identification number
* List of qualified employees
* Tax ID numbers of qualified employees

Almost nobody knows about the Obamacare surveillance system. The system of records became effective on March 6, 2013, just 30 days after the notice was released. I have contacted the Department directly and discovered that during those 30 days, not one person, not one company, not one organization made a public comment. It is likely that few people even saw the notice. Or like us, when we discovered it, there was no more time to comment.

Access to the data is extensive. There are nine broad types of entities who can have access to all this data under what is called "Routine Use." As an example, the routine use section includes the following use:

To disclose information to another Federal agency, agency of a State government, a non-profit entity operating an Exchange for a State, an agency established by State law, or its fiscal agent to (A) make eligibility determinations for enrollment in a QHP through an Exchange, insurance affordability programs, and certifications of exemption from the individual responsibility requirement, (B) to carry out the HIX Program, and (C) to perform functions of an Exchange described in 45 CFR 155.200, including notices to employers under section 1411(f) of the Affordable Care Act.

This new federal surveillance system will be used to enforce Obamacare and monitor individual and employer implementation. It will allow the IRS to profile individuals, to identify and find the non-compliant individuals and employers, and to find and penalize anyone who refuses to conform to the Obamacare mandate that everyone buy a private policy, buy government Exchange coverage, or submit to being enrolled in government-approved coverage. *

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 11:34

Charles Krauthammer - A Bulwark for Freedom

Charles Krauthammer - A Bulwark for Freedom

Barry MacDonald - Editorial

Things That Matter, Three Decades of Passions: Pastimes and Politics, by Charles Krauthammer. Crown Publishing Group, Copyright 2013, ISBN 978-0-385-34917-8, pp. 388, $28.

In a city, Washington D.C., where politicians who are motivated by principles are few and far between, where pundits and journalists are politically correct (in a bigoted sort of way), where many manipulate power to advance themselves, but few take the betterment of all Americans to heart, Charles Krauthammer enunciates sincerely held and skillfully-elaborated conservative views.

In a city flowing with bureaucratic data and regulation - from the Environmental Protection Agency or Health and Human Services for instance - overwhelming the ordinary, intelligent Americans' comprehension (are these bureaucrats truthful or are they skewing the data for their own benefit?) Charles Krauthammer provides reliable information. Charles is the expert who holds the "experts" accountable.

In a policy debate involving intricate history and a multitude of facts, Charles is never at a loss. His fund of knowledge seems inexhaustible.

In a nation, the United States, weary of fancy, lawyerly talk, Charles displays sharp intellect and direct language. He exudes dignity, showing respect for those who disagree with him but at the same time he is capable, when encountering a politician or pundit bantering arrogance, falsehood, or foolishness, of lashing to the point of ridicule his target with exactly the right answer, and doing so with a calm and courteous manner. Charles can eviscerate a faulty talking point with rapier wit and an astounding economy of words: punctured egos deflate like air coming out of a balloon.

In a cynical, sour, left-wing culture that promotes self-indulgence and imprudence, Charles exhibits poise and restraint quite remarkable for a man who has worked in Washington D.C. for three decades. He hasn't fallen captive to the lures of money, prestige, and power that are so mesmerizing in the city where vast sums of taxpayer money are divvyed up.

It can't be said that Charles Krauthammer is modest, because he does enjoy displaying his intelligence, but he does so with sangfroid and humor, and he always seems more admirable than his opponents. He has a swashbuckling spirit, confident, and deeply committed to his ideals. While too many Republican politicians or spokespeople habitually assume defensive postures, Charles is relentlessly on offense. He is an American character who most Americans from any other previous period of our history would admire, because he is courageous, and courage has always been an American virtue.

Only now, because our American zeitgeist is permeated with left-wing ideology, is Charles Krauthammer liable to be underappreciated.

Charles pushes forward a good cause. He believes in the benevolence of America, the rightness of capitalism and free markets, individual rights, the rule of law, and the need to limit government power. There just are too few public intellectuals today promoting conservative views.

Charles Krauthammer reaches millions of Americans. He writes for the Washington Post, and his column is syndicated throughout American newspapers. I love watching Charles during Bret Baier's "Special Report" on Fox News (5:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday). In the last twenty minutes of the show Charles usually dominates the round-table discussion among pundits.

Americans have lost respect for and trust in our political leaders. Most of us believe America is headed in the wrong direction, but we can't agree on where we should go - Charles Krauthammer points the way.

If our Republican form of government is to survive, we need people who can articulate principles of limited government. We need such people in prominent positions who can reach millions of Americans, because ordinary, intelligent Americans these days are bereft of essential knowledge.

They don't know that the writers of the U.S. Constitution framed a system intended to protect Americans from the overbearing and unjust impositions of government. Americans don't know how historically unique the Constitution is. Never before had a people the opportunity for a fresh start on new continent, with a gathering of educated and idealistic Founders who prized liberty.

Intelligent Americans today should know that before the U.S. Constitution, people lived at the mercy of their rulers. But the U.S. Constitution ushered in, and sought to practice, new dimensions of freedom for the individual.

The pairing of Justice and Liberty is the enduring strength of the U.S. Constitution, and all intelligent Americans should know it.

But the vast bulk of Americans don't recognize the value of Liberty and Justice, because the knowledge of their importance isn't being successfully transmitted through generations. American government for decades, at the state and federal level, has been bribing Americans. We give up liberties, little by little, in exchange for government benefits that we did not earn.

Americans are losing the capacity to think and act as freeborn individuals, and we, not knowing what we are giving up, are setting above us a behemoth of overseers and regulators. Our "leaders" are growing in arrogance, and their grasp of control over vast areas of our individual lives takes the breath away.

Charles' book, Things That Matter, covers many topics: "The Good and the Great," "Manners," "Pride and Prejudices," "Follies," "Passions and Pastimes," "Heaven and Earth," "Conundrums," "Body and Soul," "Man and God," "Memory and Monuments," "The Jewish Question, Again," "The Age of Holy Terror," "The Age to Come."

The book is humorous and profound. Charles gives the focus of his attention predominately to politics because, as he points out, if people don't get their politics correctly, as the Germans didn't in the 1930s, they are heading for disaster. We should pay attention. *

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 11:21

Summary for December 2013

The following is a summary of the December/January 2013 issue of the St. Croix Review:

In "Goodbye to the Filibuster, for Now," Barry MacDonald writes about the importance of minority rights as an inherited American freedom.

Mark Hendrickson, in "The Palpable Politicization of Science by Global Warming Alarmists," cites mountains of evidence showing the corrupting influence of politics on science, and he calls for the separation of federal funding from scientific research; in "William Graham Sumner: The Forgotten Man Who Reminds Us About 'The Forgotten Man,'" he reveals a great scholar who lived during America's vigorous growth, who wrote the perfect answers to present-day problems; in "Burglarizing JPMorgan Chase and Slapping Down Prudential: The New, Tyrannical Normal," he writes that banks are being reduced to "servile vassals carrying out the will of the federal government"; in "'Average Is Over'-rated: Comments on Tyler Cowen's Doom-and Gloom Scenario," he debunks the idea that our society, through the advancement of technology, is fragmenting in to a tiny elite and a huge underclass - the more entrepreneurs we have the better off everyone is; in "The Federal Government Shutdown Raises a Crucial Constitutional Question," he reveals the less-than-noble behavior of the President, Democrats, and Republicans.

Herbert London in "Schadenfreude and the Government Shutdown," believes our president is vindictive, and that such a bad motivation harms our nation; in "Freedom as a Natural Condition?" he expresses how care, discipline, and strength are necessary for the exercise of fruitful freedom; in "UN Week in New York," he relates the experience of watching the world's diplomats converge in New York for shopping, frivolity, and debauchery; in "Who Are We?" he looks at our historical, defining, national creed, but does not see the nation in today's America; in "The World I've Known Has Come to an End," he describes America with its new Orwellian qualities;

Allan Brownfeld, in "What Vladimir Putin Got Wrong about American Exceptionalism," uses the observations of statesmen, historians, and writers to prove that that America is a blessed nation; in "Want to Bash a Dead White Male? Try Karl Marx!" he explores the irony of political correctness at American universities - the liberal hero, Karl Marx, was a fervent racist and anti-Semite; in "Disapproval of Congress Reaches an All-time High - and with Good Reason, as Evidence Grows That We Have the Best Congress Money Can Buy," he presents evidence of Republican and Democrat corruption; in "Lobbyists Want to Change Their Name - But Their Perverse Influence on Our Political Life Will Remain the Same," he writes that senators and representatives are putting in time until they can indulge their true ambition - to become lobbyists and make big money,

Paul Kengor is taken aback, in "The Progressive's Progress," by the election of Bill de Blasio, a man with ties to Communists regimes, as mayor of New York City - despite having won the Cold War, America is still being infiltrated by the hard left; in "The Progressive Crusade Against Tax Cuts," he refutes the progressive argument for high tax rates by citing the success of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon in the 1920s - Mellon lowered tax rates and thereby increased tax revenue by growing the economy; in "Bonding Over Baseball," he relates how he became close to his cousin through texting about the Pittsburg Pirates; in "Patton, Ike, and My Teenage Boys," he shares the inspiring experience of hearing a WWII veteran's story.

Twila Brase, in "Federal Genetic Profiling of Newborns?" writes about the dangerous implications of the federal government's plan to record DNA profiles of each newborn.

Shawn Ritenour, in "Staggering Facts on America's Rising Debt," explains the negative consequences of debt and deficit spending.

In "The Line in the Sand Against Tolerance," Thomas Martin puts tolerance and intolerance in context with love, forgiveness, and virtue.

In "Letters from a Conservative Farmer - Production," Jigs Gardner writes about the results of thirty years of effort working with poor soil on his farm in Cape Breton.

In "Teddy Roosevelt: The Whole Man," Jigs Gardner reveals how much our nation has changed- Teddy Roosevelt held strong opinions in his own time, but today his intelligent and forcefully expressed views are outrageous.

Fayette Durlin and Peter Jenkin, in "Half a Loaf," show how conservative writers still don't recognize the menace environmentalists pose to our economy.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 11:21

Survey of Conservative Magazines: Half a Loaf

Survey of Conservative Magazines: Half a Loaf

Fayette Durlin and Peter Jenkin

Fayette Durlin and Peter Jenkin write from Brownsville, Minnesota.

When it comes to social and cultural movements that are not immediately and obviously political, conservatives are so dense that they are willing victims of movements inimical to them, and nothing exemplifies the truth of that statement more than Greenism, a menace to us and to our country blandly ignored by the conservative press. So it was with some surprise and hope that we noted an article in the 10/14 issue of National Review, "Divestment Du Jour," by Stanley Kurtz, with the subtitle "Obama endorses a crusade against fossil fuels."

It is a fair exposition of the Green campaign for a return to pastoral "simplicity" via economic sabotage, namely the movement to persuade institutions like colleges to divest themselves of stock in fossil fuel companies, thinking that such a movement, if widespread - and they are busily working to that end - would make the companies moral pariahs, which would lead the government to impose a steep carbon tax bankrolling a shift to renewable energy sources and the eventual destruction of the fossil fuel industry.

Quoting a speech by President Obama at Georgetown,

Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices. Invest. Divest . . .

According to Mr. Kurtz, the word "divest" immediately aroused activists in the divestment movement that has been pushed on campuses across the country in the last year. Mr. Kurtz then devotes several paragraphs to the views of Bill McKibben that envisions, as our colleague Jigs Gardner explained in his article on Greenism in the December 2012 issue, the replacement of modern industrial society by the so-called simple life of pastoralism in a re-wilded America. "A post-growth society is McKibben's goal, and he's willing to risk some social and economic disruption to get there." Remember that quote, we'll come back to it.

McKibben has an ally in Naomi Klein, an anti-capitalist promoter of Occupy Wall Street who wants to nationalize oil companies to make "them pay for the transition to a post-fossil fuel economy." The article goes on to discuss the success of the divestment movement on campuses where dissenting opinions hardly exist or are easily suppressed. Mr. Kurtz cites instances at Vassar and Swathmore where contrary voices were so crudely countered that they inspired a contrary movement at Vassar to circulate a statement by the Center for Industrial Progress calling for open debate.

Mr. Kurtz quotes The New York Times to the effect that President Obama "needs a mass political movement pushing for stronger action against the fossil fuel industry," which would explain his Georgetown speech, and he thinks Republicans should attack President Obama's covert support of the divestment movement:

Would the public be on board with a government-imposed shutdown of America's conventional-energy industry, leaving 80 percent of America's fuel reserves in the ground, well before wind or solar becomes an economically viable substitute?

Mr. Kurtz's political advice to advocate resistance to the divestment movement is sound, but it's clear that he does not understand the ideology of Greenism, how far it has gone in corrupting our thinking, how utterly perverse really is its vision of how society interacts with the environment, and how destructive its goals, which can only be achieved in a totalitarian manner. We called attention earlier to that quote about McKibben's goal: "willing to risk some social and economic disruption to get there." "Some"? To dismantle industrial society and return to a supposedly simple pastoral life in clearings in a "re-wilded" America - the stated goal of many Green leaders, not just McKibben - risks "some disruption"? And the last quote - "well before wind or solar becomes an economically viable substitute" shows that Mr. Kurtz knows nothing about wind or solar, which can never be viable in any economic or practical sense. Otherwise, Greens would not advocate them.Greens are against energy because they know it is the key to development, which they adamantly oppose. *

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 11:21

Letters from a Conservative Farmer - Production

Letters from a Conservative Farmer - Production

Jigs Gardner

Jigs Gardner is an Associate Editor of the St. Croix Review. Jigs Gardner writes on literature from the Adirondacks, where he may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This is a lesson in petty capitalism; it is also an implicit lesson in the thermodynamic constraints that lie behind all systems of production.

I do not think we realize what a blessing we have in American farmland. It is all we know and we think it's the norm. We took our prodigious production in Vermont for granted. The cold cellar under our kitchen was twelve feet from dirt floor to ceiling, the granite block walls were fifteen feet on a side, and we filled the room with food: four barrels of cider, a barrel of salt pork, a barrel of curing hams and bacons, a twenty-five gallon crock of sauerkraut, cabbage and carrots and beets buried in sawdust, shelves loaded with jars of canned beans, tomatoes, corn, juices, pickles. We needed it because we were feeding twelve, nine of them growing boys, and we had many visitors, sometimes seating twenty-five at table, but the point I want to make is that we thought we could manage that kind of production anywhere.

When we moved to Cape Breton, however, we found ourselves in an agriculturally marginal environment on podzols, those soils of the north stripped of minerals by glaciation, heavy unyielding clays. We did not realize what we were up against, but we had sense enough to lime the land (thrice in our first ten years), which helped the hay to improve, but we were never able to get a significant second cutting, and the pastures, pervaded by native grasses which I couldn't plow so often, were inferior to the hayfield. Of course, for summer milk production first-rate pasture is necessary, so none of our cows produced much more than 10,000 pounds. I sometimes felt that we were pushing production out of the land, struggling with a grudging environment.

I have been thinking about this because I am writing an account of our thirty years in Cape Breton, delving into our voluminous records and journals. Yesterday, for instance, I asked Jo Ann if she could recall what she sold at her first craft sale in 1986, and at once she reached into a drawer to produce a thick envelope of inventories from the fourteen years to 2000: she started with jam and herb salt, and by the end was selling cheese, herb tea, soap, dried flowers, horehound, rag dolls, mittens, potpourri, herb blends, flower seeds, basil, dill, and mint vinegars, booklets of her recipes, and copies of her books. By then she was earning as much as $2000 at a Friday-Sunday sale.

Speaking of money, that's all in the record, too. We earned nothing, and I mean nothing, the first two years and we spent $5000 each year out of our savings. That's what we spent every one of those thirty years, give or take one or two-hundred dollars. We began to earn something, $1700, in our third year, and although the amount fluctuated, we were in the black by 1976 and never looked back. In 1992 we made $8,486 from farm sales, $4,912 from craft sales, and $6,851 from writing. Jo Ann had three books in print and we were both writing for magazines.

What were we actually producing? I have already mentioned our low milk production, which was, however, sufficient for our needs. We didn't sell much milk, but we did a good business in butter, cheese, curds, buttermilk. Here are some figures that I found surprising: from 1962 to 2007 we made 10,417 pounds of butter, 2,330 cheeses from 1966 to 2007, and Heaven knows how many pounds of curds - I got tired of all the addition. It's not so much when you average over the years, but still, I'm impressed.

We always canned a lot, even after we bought a tiny freezer in the mid-1980s. In 1979 we canned: sausage, headcheese, lard, horseradish, rhubarb, string beans, blueberries, pickles, chicken soup, apple sweetmeats, plums, shell beans, broad beans, catsup, pickled beets, chard, salmagundi (pickled herring), codfish, smelt, smoked herring and mackerel and salmon, tomato juice, apple butter, venison stew, nasturtium relish, and the following fruit juices - rhubarb, strawberry, elderberry, grape, cranberry/apple, raspberry, black currant. We picked 512 quarts of strawberries and 187 of raspberries, and we dried three gallons of apples and made two and a half feet of apple leather. By the 1990s Jo Ann was making over 500 jars of jam each year for the craft sales.

The demands of the sales taught us much and made us work harder. There were four major ones in Sydney, the big city on the island, in November and December, from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, with 200-250 exhibitors, so popular that admission was charged. Five thousand people might pass Jo Ann's booth on a Saturday afternoon. I think the popularity was due to the fact that people were only a generation or so away from living crafts when they had woven cloth, spun wool, reddled flax, carved handles, built boats and woods sleds as part of their lives. I knew people who had done all those things, and I even knew a man who had built a sawmill from scratch, forging metal parts in a potbellied stove.

Once Jo Ann induced customers to sample her herb salt, she had her foot in the door, and gradually she added other herb and flower products to her repertoire, which meant we had to produce more and do it more efficiently. We had been harvesting from all our gardens, but it wasn't enough; they couldn't sustain gleanable growth, leaves and blossoms, throughout the summer. Earlier we had discovered the answer to the soil infertility problem in our vegetable gardens by building raised beds lined with plastic and filled with soil made of rotted manure, sawdust, and eel grass, so we made one sixty-five foot long and four foot wide just for harvesting herbs and flowers. Of course we limed and manured and fertilized all our gardens, and we trimmed and cleaned them in the fall, but we were more meticulous with the harvest bed. Not a trace of weeds or plant debris was left to harbor pests or diseases, and the earth outside the logs was scraped with a hoe to kill slugs and cut worms. All added manure was carefully worked in with a fork. In spring a sprinkling with an all-purpose fertilizer like 10-10-10 ensured heavy leaf growth and sustained fruiting and budding.

Not all harvesting was confined to the bed. Apple blossoms were needed for one of the potpourris, and since we had a dozen trees around the house, we spread sheets on the ground in June and every day we would pick them up and shake the fallen blossoms into a tub. For rose petal jelly we had a thick hedge of Rosa rugosa "Rubra Plena," and in the afternoon we would pick the abundant blooms. Rosa gallica "Officinalis," Apothecary Rose, is more fragrant when dried, and that was the basis for Jo Ann's rose potpourri. We drove the express wagon out on the roads in July to gather White Sweet Clover or Melilot (Melilotus alba) with its lovely fragrance of new mown hay, coumarin. In October we walked a couple of miles through the woods to a lagoon near the lake where we picked cranberries. These were the gleanings from the natural world on which we could not always depend, but the harvest bed never failed us.

We sold the farm, and now it is a rarely used summer home. An old friend went by there not long ago, and he writes that the daffodils still bloom beside the lane; a lilac, badly in need of pruning, still grows beside the house, but of the harvest bed nothing remains but a tangle of brush and traces of rotted logs. Nevertheless, here are the account books filled with firm writing, done at the end of a day of work I can hardly imagine doing today, and yet we did it and here are the figures to prove it, to show that with some thought and determined labor the force of entropy in an inimical environment can be overcome for a time. We cannot ask for more than that; we must not settle for less. *

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 11:21

The Line in the Sand Against Tolerance

The Line in the Sand Against Tolerance

Thomas Martin

Thomas Martin is the O.K. Bouwsma Chair in Philosophy at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Along with his fellow colleagues who are dedicated to the study of the Great Books, he teaches the works of Plato, Aristotle, G.K. Chesterton, Dostoyevsky, and Solzhenitsyn, to mention a few.

Several years ago at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the following objective for Cultural Diversity was recommended:

To teach understanding, tolerance, and appreciation of cultural diversity.

If we hope to achieve a more peaceful and harmonious world, we must develop a tolerance for those whose values and lifestyles differ from our own.

I doubt if anyone is against the idea of a "more peaceful and harmonious world," especially if it can be achieved through college courses. However, we ought to ask how the professor will measure this and if the student might not just be mouthing the right answer for a grade.

Obviously, an instrument needs to be devised to measure the tolerance levels of a student.

How about a story!

Once upon a time there was a group of people who were going to stone a woman for committing adultery. They refused to tolerate her actions because she had broken the law, not to mention upsetting at least one family in their town. In addition, maybe she even upset some of the members of crowd who thought she might talk and expose them, who also knew her in a matter of speaking. Who knows, the story does not go into detail. All we know is that they were ready to execute the law: "Anyone who is caught in the act of adultery is to be stoned." Ready to pick up stones and throw them, they were stopped by a question: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

This question was not addressed to the mob, but to each of its members. The question did not ask them to tolerate the woman, or appreciate her "lifestyle," and it did not ask them to stop throwing stones. It simply asked if they were innocent. They answered with their feet, "being convicted by their own consciences."

This story draws a line in the sand between intolerance, love and forgiveness. When people reach the point where they can no longer tolerate each other, they need a strong police force, like the one in South Africa to keep the Zulu from hacking each other to death. Love, on the other hand, will forgive the person, but it will not tolerate his actions.

Imagine a nation where parents tolerate their children's actions, friends tolerate their friends' actions, and neighbors tolerate their neighbors' actions, no matter how vicious or cruel? Furthermore, imagine a man who is tolerant of his own actions and, therefore, never ashamed of himself.

The doctrine of tolerance is a sure road to mediocrity for man, as he wallows in his shortcomings, gluttony, lollygagging, lewdness, and envy, to mention a few.

In order to be moral, a human being needs to be discerning and intolerant.

Socrates thought he would fail to be human if he placed the idols of wealth, reputation, and honors before virtue. At the end of Socrates' apology, his speech given before the senate of Athens after they condemned him to death, he entrusted his sons to his accusers:

When my sons grow up, gentlemen, if you think that they are putting money or anything else before goodness, take your revenge by plaguing them as I plagued you; and if they fancy themselves for no reason, you must scold them just as I scolded you, for neglecting the important things and thinking that they are good for something when they are good for nothing.

This just man died because he was intolerant of his fellow countrymen, who could only tolerate tolerance. And, he did it out of love. *

"Of all conceivable things the most dangerous thing is to be alive." -G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 11:21

Staggering Facts on America's Rising Debt

Staggering Facts on America's Rising Debt

Shawn Ritenour

Shawn Ritenour is a professor of economics at Grove City College, a contributor to the Center for Vision & Values, and author of Foundations of Economics: A Christian View.

Once again there is panic running through the halls of Congress, the Oval Office and in the chattering classes that make up mainstream media over the prospect of shutting down the federal government. Most of the panic is a result of the inability of politicians to reach an agreement on government spending. If we hope to begin to recover true prosperity, then making real, significant cuts in government spending should be a top priority. Only true, substantial reductions in government spending will free necessary capital for entrepreneurs to use in productive investment. This investment, in turn, will allow for sustainable economic progress.

We are in the fiscal mess we are in because, since the early 1970s, tax revenues have been unable to keep pace with government spending. Real government spending has increased almost twice as fast as government revenue. In 1970 our total government debt equaled $371 billion. Today it stands at $16.8 trillion. Even if we adjust for inflation, federal government debt has increased more than eight times what it was in 1970.

Things have only gotten worse following the financial meltdown of 2008. It took from 1789 to 2001 to accumulate a federal debt of $5.8 trillion. However our government officials have added a nearly identical $5.8 trillion in four short years between 2007 and 2011.

The 10 highest monthly budget deficits have all occurred since February 2009. During the Obama administration, the federal government has accumulated more new debt than it did from the time that George Washington became president to the time that Bill Clinton became president. Since President Obama entered the White House, the national debt has increased by an average of more than $64,000 per taxpayer. In fact, Obama will become the first president to run deficits of more than a trillion dollars during each of his first four years in office.

Talking in trillions of dollars can easily boggle the mind. To provide some perspective on the magnitude of our current debt, think about this: If you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and spent one million dollars every day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars yet. This is staggering but true.

Last summer, the New York Times' columnist and economist Paul Krugman told Business Insider that in order to avoid an economic depression, "Somebody has to spend more than their income, and, for the time being, that has to be the government."

Krugman stands the economic problem on its head. Instead of not enough desired production, it is thought that our problem is not enough demand. The perceived solution is increased government spending. If people do not voluntarily demand enough, don't worry, the government will make up the difference.

The problem with this thinking is that government spending has to be paid for. It can be funded in only three ways: with taxes, borrowing, or inflation. All three of these funding methods have negative economic consequences.

Taxation consumes capital and discourages productive activity. It does so partly because higher taxes reduce the incentive for laborers to work and for landowners to rent land for productive uses. Additionally, taxes reduce the ability for people to save and invest. Taxes lower disposable income and they reduce the return for productive investments.

Less saving and investment reduces capital over time, decreasing our productivity. The economy output decreases, real wealth falls and people see a drop in their standard of living. Funding increased government spending by increased taxation is like pouring weed killer on your garden, all the while thinking that it is fertilizer.

Taxes are politically unpopular, and because of this the government relies on borrowing money to fund deficit spending. There are two sources from which the government can borrow: The banking system and private savers.

Borrowing from the banking system is inflationary. Banks lend newly created dollars, thereby increasing the money supply with all of the associated negative consequences. Overall, prices increase and the purchasing power of the dollar falls. Additionally, artificial credit expansion - credit not funded by savings - creates the business cycle by spawning capital mal-investment. Artificial credit expansion makes many unwise investments (say, in residential and commercial real estate and financial derivatives) look profitable because of the accessibility of cheap credit, so business activity expands, manifesting itself in an inflationary boom. These unwise investments eventually must be liquidated, and the boom resolves itself in a bust whose twin offspring are capital consumption and unemployment.

Borrowing from private savers is not inflationary but does have serious negative economic consequences. This type of borrowing diverts savings from private investment to government consumption. Savings that would have been invested in productive activity will instead be spent on bureaucratic feasting.

The bottom line is that we are correct to be concerned with the fiscal situation facing the federal government. The larger the percentage of a nation's economy absorbed by government spending, the slower their economic expansion because real economic expansion is the product of wise entrepreneurs using capital that is funded by real savings.

As the deadline for the federal budget knocks on the door it is quite clear what is needed: fiscal reform. Only facing the melancholy music of drastically cutting government spending will put us back on the path to prosperity. *

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 11:21

Federal Genetic Profiling of Newborns?

Federal Genetic Profiling of Newborns?

Twila Brace

Twila Brace is a registered nurse, a public health nurse, and president and co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom. CCHF supports patient and doctor freedom, medical innovation, and the right of citizens to a confidential patient-doctor relationship. CCHF is a non-profit foundation that solicits contributions. Its email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; its telephone number is 651-646-8935.

The government wants every baby's genetic code. Today (September 4, 2013) the National Institutes of Health announced federal grants totaling $25 million over five years to four institutions to develop a process to sequence the genome - the DNA - of every child at birth:

* Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
* Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO
* University of California, San Francisco, CA
* University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC

Genomic testing would revolutionize newborn screening - but not in a good way. At birth, the newborn's DNA would be taken by the hospital and sent to the government (as it is today). There the genetic code would be analyzed, dissected, reported, and filed with the government. Every gene, every genetic sequence in the baby's DNA would be on record.

Newborn screening is already genetic testing, but it's quite limited in scope.

Today's newborn screening searches the baby's blood for specified, limited newborn genetic conditions for which there is a cure or helpful immediate care. These genetic conditions often have complex names such as "Trifunctional protein deficiency" or "Cmethylmalonyl-CoA mutase deficiency."

However, if newborn screening becomes newborn genomic sequencing, every child will be tested for the likelihood of getting every disease under the sun - from migraines to melanoma, from childhood-onset to adult-onset conditions. As federal official Alan E. Guttmacher says, "Genomic sequencing has the potential to diagnose a vast array of disorders and conditions at the very start of life."

When a reporter from Nature magazine, one of the top scientific journals in the world, called me yesterday for a comment on the grants, I warned about the dangers. For instance, even if asked for their consent, parents may not be fully informed about the long-term ramifications of being handed a comprehensive genetic analysis of their child. In addition, the child who grows up to hear that their DNA was sequenced by the government without their consent may not like it. Once sequenced, there is no turning back. Genetic privacy once lost cannot be regained. The data will be entered into the child's permanent medical record accessible to 2.2 million entities - and into the government's newborn screening database.

I also discussed a study that revealed the "collateral damage" of newborn screening as it exists today, before full sequencing is even considered. In short, as more conditions are tested for, the number of "false positives" rises. These are results that claim the child has a genetic condition, but are actually incorrect (false).

The study found that parents of children who receive "false-positive" diagnoses of newborn conditions treat their children differently. Even if a second test reveals the child has NO evidence of a genetic condition, the parents are not convinced. They worry that the first test was actually correct, not the second. The study found parent-child bonding is jeopardized, children are needlessly sheltered from normal life experiences, and some are fed differently long after the threat of getting the condition is over.

As the study's author says, "Years after everything appears to be fine, parents are still very worried." He calls these children, "patients-in-waiting."

Newborn screening must never become newborn genomic sequencing. Data is power. Imagine where this type of comprehensive genetic analysis of the 4 million children born each year could lead in the era of cost-containment, genetic manipulation, and designer babies.

Even today, most parents know little about newborn screening. For instance, they typically have no idea that newborn screening is a government genetic testing program. Many don't even know it was even done.

As parents learn the facts about newborn screening (government testing; state storage and ownership of baby DNA), some parents refuse to have it done and others seek private testing. Therefore, if government officials are truly concerned about the welfare of America's children, they should not convert today's limited newborn screening into a comprehensive genomic sequencing program. No government should be able to analyze every newborn's potential to be healthy, gifted, weak, disabled, or diseased.

But federal officials want American genetic codes on record. And so $25 million from taxpayers will be spent to build a DNA sequencing system that allows the government to analyze the genetic weaknesses and strengths of its citizens at birth. This system could be used to separate the strong from the weak even if genetic testing is only predictive, not prescriptive. The sequencing results could be seen as genetic "truth" even when they're not. As an example of the potential impact of these results on individual opportunity, watch the movie "Gattaca."

Our DNA is our private property. It's the blueprint of who we are. Opening our DNA up to the government at birth is a mistake. The $25 million Genomic Sequencing and Newborn Screening Disorders research program should be defunded. Call your member of Congress today and say so. We should not ever let state and federal officials get their hands on our genetic codes. *

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