The St. Croix Review

The St. Croix Review

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

Friday, 23 October 2015 15:40

Immigration and Destiny

Immigration and Destiny

Harry Neuwirth

Harry Neuwirth writes from Silverton, OR.

An attentive reading of history confirms that earth's real estate has changed hands often, usually through the agency of war. Even the Americas, insulated from the rest of the world by intimidating oceans for millennia, have experienced tribal wars, land grabs, enslavements. The suggestion that "Native American" status is somehow superior to that of other people is spurious. That their ancestors migrated over the Alaskan ice bridge very long ago does not make them unique; it simply places them among the continent's early immigrants. Americans now hold legitimate sovereignty over the heart of this continent and need apologize to no one.

Now that the ice bridges have melted away, the earth is no longer flat, and citizens of the world communicate with one another at the speed of light, the oceans that once sheltered this continent have become as nothing, seriously increasing the need for sovereignty-maintenance. Unfortunately the Ellis Island paradigm that served the U.S.A. so well for so long fell into disuse decades ago, though the need for the border security has increased dramatically. A recent American president recognized this when he said "A nation that cannot control its borders cannot control its destiny." And no nation in history has had a more significant destiny than ours, not just for our own well-being, but as an example to a world that, now more than ever, needs a model of stable success.

"Ellis" monitored the health of entering immigrants, took a cursory look at their backgrounds and motives, then set them on course toward learning English and American history; put them on a direct course to becoming citizens as professed in their "Ellis" declarations: They were here. We knew they were here. And they had declared a desire to be naturalized; to become citizens of the nation that had enticed them away from their homeland, not just for a season, not just for a job, not just for a supplemental income for the folks "back home," but to become one with us.

But Washington has permitted immigration to run wild for the past fifty years until, not surprisingly, illegal immigration has become a highly emotional controversy and a serious problem. We know that many millions of Latinos have sneaked across the border illegally, yet we timidly observe that since they are good, hardworking, family-oriented people they somehow deserve privileged status; good people, wonderful people, but they are here illegally while other equally good people wait offshore to enter under proper circumstances.

United States immigration enforcement is a disgrace. And until we seize control of our borders, there is no immigration policy. There can be no policy. And it should be noted that ours is more than just a nation providing comfort and safety to those of us lucky enough to belong here, but one that provides a stable model for other nations as well as continuity for those in our trail in a world that, even with our stellar example, is spinning out of control.

Our good fortune at owning citizenship in this greatest of nations is patently coupled with a responsibility to help keep it great. A significant part of that responsibility is in the forming of public opinion that becomes the national momentum. We know that Congress can't resist intense public opinion. So we--you and I--need to inform our Congressmen in no uncertain terms that our borders must be secured, and immigration policy restored to sanity. If illegal residents have the chutzpah to parade through our streets protesting their privileged status, surely we can parade our legitimate claims past our congressmen. *

"You can't hardly find a law school in the country that don't, through some inherent weakness, turn out a senator or congressman from time to time . . . if their rating is real low, even a president." --Will Rogers

Friday, 23 October 2015 15:40

George Washington and the Press

George Washington and the Press

David J. Bean

David J. Bean is a freelance writer living in California.

Several articles have appeared about the rough time George W. Bush has had with the current media. There can be no doubt that the mainstream press has trumpeted much of the trouble the president has encountered. Perhaps that goes with the territory as even American icons like Lincoln and Washington had to contend with a hostile press. O.K., most people know about the hard time Lincoln had with the "Peace Democrats" but who ever heard that the Father of our Country, the man who was twice elected to the presidency by a unanimous electoral vote had to contend with the same thing?

Yes, though Alexander Hamilton was the chief villain in the press, the moratorium on Washington himself ended as both Freneau's National Gazette and Benjamin Franklin Bache's Aurora, two of the largest newspapers at the time, began targeting Washington as either a senile accomplice or a willing co-conspirator in a Hamiltonian plot to establish an American monarchy. Joseph J. Ellis reports in his outstanding book on Washington His Excellency that Washington found the personal attacks "outrages on common decency." But usually Washington suffered silently, telling friends:

The arrows of malevolence, however barbed and well pointed, never can reach the most vulnerable part of me; though, while I am up as a mark, they will be continually aimed.

The trouble probably began during Washington's first term when Alexander Hamilton completed his study of the financial mess left over from the war. Hamilton proposed a three-part solution: funding the war debt at par; assuming all state war debts; and creating a national bank. All three of these were viewed by Jefferson and Madison as too much "consolidation" which they identified as being too close to "monarchy." The Virginians viewed this as a hostile takeover of the Revolution by northern bankers and speculators. The sectional strife that eventually led to the Civil War was gaining a permanent hold on the politics of the United States. In spite of the heated opposition of Jefferson, Madison, and Randolph the controversial plan was finally adopted.

Though Colin Powell has been pictured as being opposed to some of the Bush doctrines, Bush never had the internal problems that Washington experienced. Madison, Jefferson, and Randolph remained in the cabinet while actively pursuing an agenda contrary to that of their leader. Washington embraced republican ideals but believed that interests, not ideals, drove nations. Jefferson was outspoken in the belief that American ideals were American interests. He was greatly influenced by his experiences in France during that country's revolution and thought that America should actively support their effort. Washington disagreed even though he appreciated what France had done for America during the war, and also, he had a personal liking for Lafayette and for Rohambeau's soldiers at Yorktown. Washington believed that the most important thing for America to do was to consolidate the country. Hamilton and Adams viewed the French Revolution as just an eruption in the conflict between European stability and anarchy. Supporters of the French labeled their opponents "Anglomen" and "monarchists" but in the end, Hamilton's strategic assessments, not Jefferson's, were accepted by Washington.

The question of federal or state sovereignty carried into Washington's second term. Hamilton had willingly deflected most of the criticism to himself on most issues except in the one instance of control of the Indians by the states-the failure fell on Washington's shoulders. Washington really didn't want a second term but the widening gap between Jefferson and Hamilton persuaded him that he had to stay. Behind the scenes Jefferson accused Hamilton of plotting to commandeer the government when Washington left, establishing his banker friends as a new American aristocracy and himself as King. Hamilton charged Jefferson with working behind the scenes to undermine the administration's fiscal program and subvert Washington's policy of neutrality. The hatred between the two men had become fierce, mutual, and personal. This was the beginning of political parties even in an embryonic form. What is now seen as a great contribution to political life was regarded by its creators as a curse. Madison wrote several anonymous essays for the National Gazette and other newspapers, which gave a distinct shape to the core arguments of their "party."

Madison was one of the key players in this whole drama. He led the fight in Congress against both federal jurisdiction over slavery and the entire Hamiltonian fiscal program. Jefferson joined him in mobilizing the opposition, claiming he had been "duped by Hamilton" to support the Bill that assumed the States war debts. Together, Madison and Jefferson toured the Connecticut River Valley drumming up support for their opposition to Hamilton's program. Though both were trusted members of the cabinet, they launched an orchestrated attack on the administration they were officially serving. England and France were at war, and Jefferson, who sided with France, secretly hired Philip Freneau, a prominent essayist, to write articles in the National Gazette castigating Washington's policy of neutrality as a repudiation of America's obligation to France.

Madison's newspaper articles described the aggregation of power by the federal government as a second coming of the British that the Revolution should have banished forever. They charged that the executive branch had become a royal court; that northern bankers were "monocrats" and "stockjobbers" who enjoyed privileged access to power at court. Hamilton's program was a homegrown version of the Stamp Act and the federal government was an imperial power that treated the states as mere colonies.

Washington refused to believe the rumors that named the originators of these attacks but the attacks did bother him. For one thing he felt the situation was vastly different from that of America's previous relationship with England: he had been duly elected, as had all the members of Congress, unlike the situation with George III and Parliament. Washington also felt that the opposition was confusing a strong executive with monarchy when all he wanted to do was complete his job and go home. Besides, he knew first-hand how ineffective a weak central government could be from his experience with a starving army at Valley Forge under the Continental Congress.

Whenever Washington mentioned his physical fatigue and his declining energy in private conversations with Jefferson or Madison they took these as evidence of his growing mental deterioration and so reported to their newspaper friends. A few friends tried to warn Washington. One wrote him to:

Beware, be on your guard. You have cherished in your Bosom a Serpent and he is now endeavoring to sting you to death.

But Washington underestimated the extent of the treachery and chose to regard Jefferson as a prodigal son who would soon recognize the error of his ways. He continued to meet with Jefferson over breakfast and to keep him in his confidence. Jefferson and Madison rationalized that they were not betraying him personally; they felt that he simply did not know what was going on. With the signing of the treaty negotiated by John Jay with England over disputes about the great northwest, the Republican press increased their criticism of Washington. But in reality the treaty only codified what was already a fact: trade with England was the lifeblood of the United States. But newspapers like the Aurora that held Jefferson's sympathy for France sparked the protesters to burn Jay in effigy and caused huge crowds to gather around the presidential mansion in Philadelphia demanding war against England and cursing Washington.

Edmund Randolph, who succeeded Jefferson as secretary of state in the second term, felt the same as Jefferson: that Washington was a dazed, over-the-hill patriarch and the dupe of northern bankers. Like current thinking in many quarters about president Bush, this was an overheated and melodramatic depiction of the purported evil lurking in Washington's administration. As today, the conspiratorial mentality was so widespread that the believers lost all perspective as to its effect. Jefferson and Madison actually tried to sabotage the Jay treaty in the House despite the constitutional conflict. But the treaty was passed and Madison was humiliated. However, Washington was stung by the personal attacks and confessed to Jay that the willful misrepresentations were ominous signs of a new kind of party politics for which he had no stomach.

It wasn't until after he was retired when incontrovertible proof was brought to him about the disloyalty of Jefferson, Madison, and Randolph that Washington finally realized what he had been up against. His extensive correspondence with Jefferson terminated and for a long time he refused to discuss it at all. President Bush does not seem to have "leakers" among his cabinet leaders but he sure has had his problems with some in the various government departments. At least he knows where the problems are even if he can't do much about it. *

"The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we would appear to be." --Socrates

Free to Choose: A Conversation With Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1946-1976. Dr. Friedman received the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science in 1976, and the National Medal of Science and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988. He served as an unofficial adviser to presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and Presidents Nixon and Reagan.
The following is an edited transcript of a conversation between Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn and Milton Friedman, which took place on May 22, 2006, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, California, during a two-day Hillsdale College International Leadership Seminar celebrating the 25th anniversary of Milton and Rose Friedman's book, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement.
Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, the national speech digest of Hillsdale College,

Larry Arnn: In Free to Choose in the chapter on "The Tyranny of Controls," you argue that protectionism and government intervention in general breed conflict and that free markets breed cooperation. How do you reconcile this statement with the fact that we think of free markets as being competitive?

Milton Friedman: They are competitive, but they are competitive over a broad range. The question is, how do you make money in a free market? You only make money if you can provide someone with something he or she is willing to pay for. You can't make money any other way. Therefore, in order to make money, you have to promote cooperation. You have to do something that your customer wants you to do. You don't do it because he orders you to. You don't do it because he threatens to hit you over the head if you don't. You do it because you offer him a better deal than he can get anywhere else. Now that's promoting cooperation. But there are other people who are trying to sell to him, too. They're your competitors. So there is competition among sellers, but cooperation between sellers and buyers

LA: In the chapter on "The Tyranny of Controls." you seem gloomy about the prospects for India. Why?

MF: I was in India in 1955 on behalf of the American government to serve as an economic adviser to the minister of finance. I concluded then that India had tremendous potential, but none of it was being achieved. That fact underlies the passage you are referring to in Free to Choose. Remember, Free to Choose aired in January 1980, and as of that time there had been no progress in India. The population had grown, but the standard of living was as low as it had been in 1955. Now, in the past ten or fifteen years, there has been movement in India, and maybe those hidden potentials I saw in 1955 will finally be achieved. But, there is still great uncertainty there.

LA: In that same chapter, you wrote the following about China:

Letting the genie of . . . initiative out of the bottle even to this limited extent will give rise to political problems that, sooner or later, are likely to produce a reaction toward greater authoritarianism. The opposite outcome, the collapse of communism and its replacement by a market system, seems far less likely.

What do you think about that statement today?

MF: I'm much more optimistic about China today than I was then. China has made great progress since that time. It certainly has not achieved complete political freedom, but it has come closer. It certainly has a great deal more economic freedom. I visited China for the first time in 1980 right after the publication of Free to Choose. I had been invited by the government to lecture on how to stop inflation, among other things. China at that time was in a pretty poor state. The hotel we stayed in showed every sign of being run by a communist regime. We returned to China twice, and each time, the changes were tremendous. In 1980, everybody was wearing the dull and drab Mao costume; there were bicycles all over the place and very few cars. Eight years later, we started to see some color in the clothes, there were things available for sale that hadn't been available before, and free markets were breaking out all over the place. China has continued to grow at a dramatic rate. But in the section of Free to Choose you refer to, I talked about the political conflict that was coming-and that broke out in Tiananmen Square. The final outcome in China will not be decided until there is a showdown between the political tyranny on the one hand and economic freedom on the other-they cannot coexist.

LA: Let me ask you about demographic trends. Columnist Mark Steyn writes that in ten years, 40 percent of young men in the world are going to be living in oppressed Muslim countries. What do you think the effect of that is going to be?

MF: What happens will depend on whether we succeed in bringing some element of greater economic freedom to those Muslim countries. Just as India in 1955 had great but unrealized potential, I think the Middle East is in a similar situation today. In part this is because of the curse of oil. Oil has been a blessing from one point of view, but a curse from another. Almost every country in the Middle East that is rich in oil is a despotism.

LA: Why do you think that is so?

MF: One reason, and one reason only-the oil is owned by the governments in question. If that oil were privately owned and thus someone's private property, the political outcome would be freedom rather than tyranny. This is why I believe the first step following the 2003 invasion of Iraq should have been the privatization of the oil fields. If the government had given every individual over 21 years of age equal shares in a corporation that had the right and responsibility to make appropriate arrangements with foreign oil companies for the purpose of discovering and developing Iraq's oil reserves, the oil income would have flowed in the form of dividends to the people-the shareholders-rather than into government coffers. This would have provided an income to the whole people of Iraq and thereby prevented the current disputes over oil between the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds, because oil income would have been distributed on an individual rather than a group basis.

LA: Many Middle Eastern societies have a kind of tribal or theocratic basis and long-held habits of despotic rule that make it difficult to establish a system of contract between strangers. Is it your view that the introduction of free markets in such places could overcome those obstacles?

MF: Eventually, yes. I think that nothing is so important for freedom as recognizing in the law each individual's natural right to property, and giving individuals a sense that they own something that they're responsible for, that they have control over, and that they can dispose of.

LA: Is there an area here in the United States in which we have not been as aggressive as we should in promoting property rights and free markets?

MF: Yes, in the field of medical care. We have a socialist-communist system of distributing medical care. Instead of letting people hire their own physicians and pay them, no one pays his or her own medical bills. Instead, there's a third party payment system. It is a communist system and it has a communist result. Despite this, we've had numerous miracles in medical science. From the discovery of penicillin, to new surgical techniques, to MRIs and CAT scans, the last 30 or 40 years have been a period of miraculous change in medical science. On the other hand, we've seen costs skyrocket. Nobody is happy: physicians don't like it, patients don't like it. Why? Because no one of them is responsible for themselves. You no longer have a situation in which a patient chooses a physician, receives a service, gets charged, and pays for it. There is no direct relation between the patient and the physician. The physician is an employee of an insurance company or an employee of the government. Today, a third party pays the bills. As a result, no one who visits the doctor asks what the charge is going to be-so nobody else is going to take care of that. The end result is third party payment and, worst of all, third party treatment.

LA: Following the recent expansion in prescription drug benefits and Medicare, what hope is there for a return to the free market in medical care?

MF: It does seem that markets are on the defensive, but there is hope. The expansion of drug benefits was accompanied by the introduction of health savings accounts-HSAs. That's the one hopeful sign in the medical area, because it's a step in the direction of making people responsible for themselves and for their own care. No one spends somebody else's money as carefully as he spends his own.

LA: On the subject of Social Security, let me read to you a passage from Free to Choose:

As we have gone through the literature on Social Security, we have been shocked at the arguments that have been used to defend the program. Individuals who would not lie to their children, their friends, their colleagues, whom all of us would trust implicitly in the most important personal dealings, have propagated a false view of Social Security. Their intelligence and exposure to contrary views make it hard to believe that they have done so unintentionally and innocently. Apparently they have regarded themselves as an elite group within society what knows that is good for other people better than those people do for themselves.

What do you think of these words today?

MF: I stick by every word there. But there has been progress since then. Let me explain: Free to Choose was produced and shown on television for the first time in January 1980. President Reagan was elected in November 1980. To get a clear picture of what has happened since the publication of Free to Choose, we really need to look at what happened before and after the election of Ronald Reagan. Before Reagan, non-defense government spending-on the federal, state, and local levels-as a percentage of national income was rising rapidly. Between the early 1950s and 1980, we were in a period of what I would call galloping socialism that showed no signs of slowing. Following the election of Ronald Reagan, there was an abrupt and immediate halt to this expansion of government. But even under Reagan, government spending as a percentage of national income didn't come down: It has held constant from that time to now. Although the early years of the current Bush presidency did see spending increases, national income has risen, too. We have achieved some success at our first task: stopping the growth of government. The second task is to shrink government spending and make government smaller. We haven't done that yet, but we are making some progress. I should also mention as a cautionary tale that, prior to Reagan, the number of pages in the Federal Register was on the rise, but Reagan succeeded in reducing this number substantially. However, once Reagan was out of office, the number of pages in the Register began to rise even more quickly. We have not really succeeded in that area.

There have been real changes in our society since Free to Choose was published. I'm not attributing them to Free to Choose--I'm not saying that's the reason--but in general, there has been a complete change in public opinion. This change is probably due as much to the collapse of the Soviet Union as it is to what Friedrich Hayek or Milton Friedman or somebody else wrote. Socialism used to mean the ownership and operation of the means of production, but nobody gives it that meaning today. There is no country in the world attempting to be socialist in that sense except North Korea. And perhaps Russia is moving in that direction. Conversely, opinion has not shifted far enough in terms of the dangers of big government and the deleterious effects it can have, and that's where we're facing future problems. This clarifies the task facing institutions such as Hillsdale College: We must make clear that the only reason we have our freedom is because government is so inefficient. If the government were efficient in spending the approximately 40 percent of our income that it currently manages, we would enjoy less freedom than we do today.

LA: In Free to Choose you discuss Abraham Lincoln's "House Divided" speech, which you relate to the great task that the American people face. Like Lincoln, you argue that a house divided against itself cannot stand: America is going to be a government intervention country or it's going to be a free market country, but it cannot continue indefinitely as a mixture of both. Do you still believe that?

MF: Yes, I very much believe that, and I believe that we've been making some headway since Free to Choose appeared. However, even though it is real headway compared to what was happening before, we are mostly holding ground.

LA: What do you think are the major factors behind the economic growth we have experienced since the publication of Free to Choose?

MF: Economic growth since that time has been phenomenal, which has very little to do with most of what we've been talking about in terms of the conflict between government and private enterprise. It has much more to do with the technical problem of establishing sound monetary policy. The economic situation during the past 20 years has been unprecedented in the history of the world. You will find no other 20-year period in which prices have been as stable-relatively speaking-in which there has been as little variability in price levels, in which inflation has been so well-controlled, and in which output has gone up as regularly. You hear all this talk about economic difficulties, when the fact is we are at the absolute peak of prosperity in the history of the world. Never before have so many people had as much as they do today. I believe a large part of that is to be attributed to better monetary policy. The improved policy is a result of the acceptance of the view that inflation is a monetary phenomenon, not a real phenomenon. We have accepted the view that central banks are primarily responsible for maintaining stable prices and nothing else.

LA: Do you think the Great Depression was triggered by bad monetary policy at a crucial moment?

MF: Absolutely. Unfortunately, it is still the case that if you ask people what caused the Great Depression, nine out of ten will probably tell you it was a failure of business. But it's absolutely clear that the Depression was a failure of government and not a failure of business.

LA: You don't think the Smoot-Hawley tariff caused the Depression?

MF: No. I think the Smoot-Hawley tariff was a bad law. I think it did harm. But the Smoot-Hawley tariff by itself would not have made one quarter of the labor force unemployed. However, reducing the quantity of money by one-third did make a quarter of the labor force unemployed. When I graduated from undergraduate college in 1932, I was baffled by the fact that there were idle machines and idle men and you couldn't get them together. Those men wanted to cooperate; they wanted to work; they wanted to produce what they wore; and they wanted to produce the food they ate. Yet something had gone wrong: The government was mismanaging the money supply.

LA: Do you think our government has learned its lesson about how to manage the money supply?

MF: I think that the lesson has been learned, but I don't think it will last forever. Sooner or later, government will want to raise funds without imposing taxes. It will want to spend money it does not have. So I hesitate to join those who are predicting two percent inflation for the next 20 years. The temptation for government to lay its hands on that money is going to be very hard to resist. The fundamental problem is that you shouldn't have an institution such as the Federal Reserve, which depends for its success on the abilities of its chairman. My first preference would be to abolish the Federal Reserve, but that's not going to happen.

LA: I want to talk now about education and especially about vouchers, because I know they are dear to your heart. Why do you think teachers unions oppose vouchers?

MF: The president of the National Education Association was once asked when his union was going to do something about students. He replied that when the students became members of the union, the union would take care of them. And that was a correct answer. Why? His responsibility as president of the NEA was to serve the members of his union, not to serve public purposes. I give him credit: The trade union has been very effective in serving its members. However, in the process, they've destroyed American education. But you see, education isn't the union's function. It's our fault for allowing the union to pursue its agenda. Consider this fact: There are two areas in the United States that suffer from the same disease-education is one and health care is the other. They both suffer from the disease that takes a system that should be bottom-up and converts it into a system that is top-down. Education is a simple case. It isn't the public purpose to build brick schools and have students taught there. The public purpose is to provide education. Think of it this way: If you want to subsidize the production of a product, there are two ways you can do it. You can subsidize the producer or you can subsidize the consumer. In education, we subsidize the producer-the school. If you subsidize the student instead-the consumer-you will have competition. The student could choose the school he attends and that would force schools to improve and to meet the demands of their students.

LA: Although you discuss many policy issues in Free to Choose, you have turned much of your attention to education, and to vouchers as a method of education reform. Why is that your focus?

MF: I don't see how we can maintain a decent society if we have a world split into haves and have-nots, with the haves subsidizing the have-nots. In our current educational system, close to 30 percent of the youngsters who start high school never finish. They are condemned to low-income jobs. They are condemned to a situation in which they are going to be at the bottom. That leads in turn to a divisive society; it leads to a stratified society rather than one of general cooperation and general understanding. The effective literacy rate in the United States today is almost surely less than it was 100 years ago. Before government had any involvement in education, the majority of youngsters were schooled, literate, and able to learn. It is a disgrace that in a country like the United States, 30 percent of youngsters never graduate from high school. And I haven't even mentioned those who drop out in elementary school. It's a disgrace that there are so many people who can't read and write. It's hard for me to see how we can continue to maintain a decent and free society if a large subsection of that society is condemned to poverty and to handouts.

LA: Do you think the voucher campaign is going well?

MF: No. I think it's going much too slowly. What success we have had is almost entirely in the area of income-limited vouchers. There are two kinds of vouchers: One is a charity voucher that is limited to people below a certain income level. The other is an education voucher, which, if you think of vouchers as a way of transforming the educational industry, is available to everybody. How can we make vouchers available to everybody? First, education ought to be a state and local matter, not a federal matter. The 1994 Contract with America called for the elimination of the Department of Education. Since then, the budget for the Department of Education has tripled. This trend must be reversed. Next, education ought to be a parental matter. The responsibility for educating children is with parents. But in order to make it a parental matter, we must have a situation in which parents are free to choose the schools their children attend. They aren't free to do that now. Today the schools pick the children. Children are assigned to schools by geography-by where they live. By contrast, I would argue that if the government is going to spend money on education, the money ought to travel with the children. The objective of such an expenditure ought to be educated children, not beautiful buildings. The way to accomplish this is to have a universal voucher. As I said in 1955, we should take the amount of money that we're now spending on education, divide it by the number of children, and give that amount of money to each parent. After all, that's what we're spending now, so we might as well let parents spend it in the form of vouchers.

LA: I have one more question for you. You describe a society in which people look after themselves because they know the most about themselves, and they will flourish if you let them. You, however, are a crusader for the rights of others. For example, you say in Free to Choose--and it's a very powerful statement--a tiny minority is what matters. So is it one of the weaknesses of the free market that it requires certain extremely talented and disinterested people who can defend it?

MF: No, that's not right. The self-interest of the kind of people you just described is promoting public policy. That's what they're interested in doing. For example, what was my self-interest in economics? My self-interest to begin with was to understand the real mystery and puzzle that was the Great Depression. My self-interest was to try to understand why that happened, and that's what I enjoyed doing-that was my self-interest. Out of that I grew to learn some things-to have some knowledge. Following that, my self-interest was to see that other people understood the same things and took appropriate action.

LA Do you define self-interest as what the individual wants?

MF: Yes, self-interest is what the individual wants. Mother Teresa, to take one example, operated on a completely self-interested basis. Self-interest does not mean narrow self-interest. Self-interest does not mean monetary self-interest. Self-interest means pursuing those things that are valuable to you but which you can also persuade others to value. Such things very often go beyond immediate material interest.

LA: Does that mean self-interest is a synonym for self-sacrifice?

MF: If you want to see how pervasive this sort of self-interest is that I'm describing, look at the enormous amount of money contributed after Hurricane Katrina. That was a tremendous display of self-interest: The self-interest of people in that case was to help others. Self-interest, rightly understood, works for the benefit of society as a whole. *

"If you have 10,000 regulations, you destroy all respect for the law." --Sir Winston Churchill

Friday, 23 October 2015 15:40

Another Black Woman

Another Black Woman

Winkfield F. Twyman Jr.

W. F. Twyman, Jr. is a former law professor who has written about race and relationships. He is a Harvard Law School graduate. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

She has two young children out of wedlock by different fathers. She lives in a rental house with a man whose wages are garnished to support a child by another woman. The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program provides health care for her children. And she's going to need those benefits because her three-year-old and one-year-old have been diagnosed with lead-based paint poisoning. She has a good heart but few other assets. At the age of thirty-eight she has no career, just a series of dead-end jobs that have ranged from saleslady at the mall and concession work at the local drive-in to toll booth attendant, clerical work at a graveyard, and factory work in a condom plant. She's between jobs now, so money is tight which explains why the phone was cut off last week. She must move out of the house to stop the slow leaden death of her children's minds. But she has no money, her father doesn't want to take her into his small three-bedroom house, and the live-in man doesn't want to live under her father's roof.

And I watch this drama play out from 3,000 miles away. My niece and nephew deserve better.

How did my sister reach this point? What happened along the way?

We have the same parents and grandparents. We grew up in the same homes, attended the same grade schools, faced the same obstacles. As youngsters, we knew the same people--Linda Kay Lewis across the street, the Johnsons next door, and the Edwards family in the brick house at the end of Jean Drive. Sundays meant service at Ebenezer A.M.E. Church on Terminal Avenue and after church visits with grandma.

As a writer, I could paint my life in bold contrast to my sister's. I grabbed opportunity at every turn, graduating from the University of Virginia with high honors and Harvard Law School, a stint at a Park Avenue law firm, service on Capitol Hill as a staffer, a life of the mind as a law professor, my current gig as a government litigator. That I married a Yalie from an Old Family and live minutes from the ocean in San Diego makes for a Hollywood story of poor boy makes good. But my real life is more of a muddle--disaffection with the practice of law, mediocre grades in law school, a lost teaching career, failed bar exams. The truth is more complex than golden son, loser daughter.

Carl Jung, a famous Swiss psychiatrist, proposed in the 1920s that definable psychological types could be found among his patients. A template governed the range of reactions to the outside world. For example, people could tend to be more introverted or extroverted. Introversion and extroversion stood at opposite ends of a continuum. Another spectrum ran from extreme intuition to extreme sensing. Possibility energized intuitives. Concrete facts and reality moved sensing types.

Growing up on Jean Drive, I felt a constant suffocation, a sense that life offered far more than what I saw and knew. Because I was smart, I earned good grades in school. My mom had had the foresight to move us out to Chesterfield County where the public schools were among the best in Virginia. My father did not have a clue. I read all the time, a habit that further expanded my mental horizons. I cannot recall my sister reading for fun as a youngster. Nor do I recall her having lofty ambitions and aspirations. There may have been three college graduates on my all-black street, all school teachers and alumni of black schools.

If I had taken my life cues from my surroundings, I would be cleaning floors at the local elementary school. My mom often remarked that my father could teach me nothing about the larger world, save how to get a job slinging a mop. My mom did not mince words.

And this insight explains how Mrs. and Mr. Twyman could raise a Harvard Law School graduate and an unwed mother on welfare under the same roof. The surface answer would say I was ambitious and my sister was not. The easy answer would say I was gifted and my sister was dull-minded. Others might argue I made good choices in life. My sister made poor choices.

The deeper answer lies in Jung.

My introversion and intuition saved me.

I lived in the inner world of ideas. I read a book a day in junior high school to better understand the world. I learned about social class and how the powerful gained power. I read and re-read books on the Gilded Age, Theodore Roosevelt, and social stratification. That I attended a middle-class, republican school only whetted my appetite for the larger world beyond Jean Drive and Chester. When it came time to attend college, my Aunt Charlotte took me aside one Sunday at church and encouraged me to attend the local community college. She meant well but it was all she knew. I knew better because of my reading and because of my peer aspirations in school. My academic peers were talking about Princeton, William and Mary, and the University of Virginia, not John Tyler Community College. Had I taken my cues from family, my life would have been very different.

My father opposed my attending the University of Virginia. He felt I should attend a good black school like Virginia State College.

When it came time to apply to law school, my father opposed Harvard Law School. He urged me to "be average" and go to Howard Law School. I did not relent. I took my cues from within.

I knew possibility even while I lived in a blue-collar world. That I might have appeared strange to my neighbors did not matter. Some applauded my successes. Others were jealous. And still others believed that a janitor's son had no right attending Harvard Law School. It wasn't right. It was unnatural. I could not have cared less. If there were scholarships and loans available, I would use them to reach a better place. It is easy to forget the restrictions of the old life. I did not attend a movie until I was in college. I never flew on an airplane until I visited Harvard Law School as an admitted student. I had not been west of Roanoke, Virginia, until law school.

While introversion and intuition saved me, extroversion and sensing ensnared my sister. She took her cues from the outer world of family and neighbors. She chose friends who did not think out of the box. And to get along, she went along. She lacked the sense of possibility that could have uplifted the veil of working class ignorance about a lettered life. I often urged her to think about college and to take difficult classes. But I was one person in a sea of voices content to live an unambitious life. My father never said it was a sin to be ambitious but by his actions he provided a model that my sister followed.

But the same introversion and intuition that shielded me from the street left me vulnerable and ill-equipped for the larger world of law practice. The practice of law in major law firms is about client development and developing relationships with constituencies. I have never felt the need to grease social relationships. And so my personality limited my ascent in the legal profession. The law requires a fact-retentiveness and attention to detail that are anathema to my intuitive soul. I am prone to mistakes of fact, a lethal handicap in my profession.

And so my personality lifted me up into the legal class while guaranteeing my discontent in my chosen profession. Had my sister grown up in an upper-middle class setting and received constructive signals from family and friends, she would probably have become a more satisfied professional than her lawyer brother. But her birth into the segregated black world of the working class sealed her extroverted sensing fate.

Much research needs to be done on the lever of temperament and black success. Do African-American introverts excel at a disproportionate rate compared to black extroverts? If so, does this personality dimension explain the high numbers of black professional women compared to men? Women tend to be more introverted and intuitive than men, so this bias may be shielding women from the injuries of segregated black life. Can a knowledge of temperament save black futures from self-destruction?

I do not know the answers.

What I do know is that my sister's life is now a stereotype. And while I plan for the future, she takes life one crisis at a time.

Postscript: Yesterday, my sister fought with her man. He said, "You're just like a person in the projects." Blind to any responsibility for his one-year-old son, the man left my sister for good. And as he left, he left my three-year-old niece screaming and crying in the driveway for the only father she's ever known. My sister and her two children are now living with my 74-year-old father and his second wife in a three-bedroom house. *

"No written law has ever been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion." --Carrie Chapman Catt

Peace Through Prosperity: Why Trade Can Bring Peace To the Middle East

Thomas G. Travis

Thomas G. Travis is managing partner of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., a customs and international trade law firm. He is the author of Doing Business Anywhere (John Whiley & Sons, 2007).

Washington, D.C. (August 2006)-As Israeli troops move out of southern Lebanon and U.N. Interim troops take their place, the world is watching to see if the cease-fire will turn into a lasting peace. Sadly, such an outcome is hard to imagine. The Middle East has been rife with conflict for centuries, as followers of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity have fought to take possession of sacred areas central to their religions. Small wonder that so many of us assume such deep-rooted conflicts will never be mollified. But there is at least one reason for optimism: new trade programs that have been successfully introduced in the region.

Although the violence generally takes center stage, inroads to peace are quietly being paved on an economic foundation. Today, two countries in particular, Egypt and Jordan, are working with Israel, quite successfully I might add, to find peace through prosperity thanks to a little-known trade agreement.

Here's how the agreement works: In 1996, the U.S. invited Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories (the West Bank and Gaza Strip) to designate certain industrial parks and facilities as Qualifying Industrial Zones, or QIZs. The articles produced in the zones can gain duty-free access to the U.S. if at least 35 percent of the value of the article is produced in Arab-owned and operated QIZ or in Israel. The upshot? Goods produced in an Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories with Israeli inputs are afforded the same beneficial trade rules as goods manufactured entirely in Israel.

The QIZ program is, in essence, a mechanism to foster trade relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors. When it was initiated, the hope in the U.S. was that these relationships would bring prosperity, and through prosperity, peace to the region. And amazingly, it worked!

Stage 1: Patience. The relationships that the new trade agreement proposed weren't initially welcomed with open arms. Many thought the idea that trade between Israel and Arab nations could be successful (and even produce a peace dividend) was ridiculous. Due to political reasons, Egypt wouldn't even open its first QIZ until 2005. But as with any new business paradigm, it takes only one brave entrepreneur to seize an opportunity and prove it will work. In the case of the QIZ programs, that entrepreneur was 28-year-old Jordanian Omar Salah.

Salah immediately recognized the benefits that the trade agreement offered. Armed with a healthy dose of patience, he set out to find an Israeli entrepreneur who would be willing to work with a Jordanian. After many cold-calls to Israeli apparel companies, Salah found his partner in Dov Lautman, owner of Delta Galil. Recognizing opportunity when he saw it, Lautman agreed to work with Salah in order to take advantage of the less costly Jordanian labor.

However, the program was not without its detractors. Century Investment Group, Salah's Jordanian holding company, was blacklisted by the Anti-Normalization Commimee, a Jordanian group dedicated to ending all links with Israel. Others looked at employment in a cooperative venture with Israel as nothing short of treason.

But the men persevered. The apparel they produced at their new joint venture, Century Wear, would receive duty-free and quota-free access to the U.S. The business created some 850 new jobs, each with salary rates that exceeded similar Jordanian payrolls by 40 percent.

Entrepreneurs like Salah and Lautman are necessary for these trade agreements to work. Salah had the patience to find the right person to partner with, and both men had the business sense and the courage to ignore those who didn't want the relationship between Jordan and Israel to move forward.

Stage 2: Prosperity. To the surprise of many (excluding Salah and Lautman, of course!), sales at Century Wear topped $10 million in the first year of operation. The men had proven that by working together for a common cause, Israelis and Jordanians could benefit from the trade agreement. Seeing the success of Lautman and Salah, other Jordanian entrepreneurs followed suit, forming additional QIZ parks, and by 2002 more than 30,000 Jordanians were employed in QIZs, and exports topped $400 million.

Between 1996 and 2001, U.S. imports from Jordan rose from $50 million to $250 million. In 1985 when the original trade agreement was passed, Israel exports totaled about $2 billion. Today that number has risen to $12 billion.

In 2005 Egypt followed suit and opened its first designated QIZ. With an already sophisticated garment industry, the country could offer customers the economic benefits of long-standing, sophisticated, vertically integrated operations that could handle everything from fabric creation to garment completion. At the time, the Israeli press reported that due to the QIZ program, Egypt's trade with Israel rose 130 percent in 2005 and created an estimated 15,000 new jobs in 2005, with 30,000 new jobs expected by the end of 2006.

U.S. companies looking for alternatives to paying high duty rates on imports from Asia and other regions have benefited as well. The QIZ allows them to import goods duty-free from the QIZ, compared to paying as much as 31 percent duty on the same item from Asia. This savings can be passed on to the U.S. consumer, producing a win-win for all concerned.

The business opportunities created by the QIZ program are phenomenal. It's vital that these countries continue to take advantage of everything the programs offer in order to continue achieving very positive monetary results for the people of the region.

Stage 3: Peace. The prosperity that results from these countries working together means more than just a boost in the region's economic stability. It means that because of the countries' successful business relationships, they are able to achieve and maintain peaceful political relationships. While violence is prevalent in other parts of the region, Egypt and Jordan, who both had very contentious relationships with Israel in the past, are still doing business with the country. The countries continue to benefit from their relationship and their close proximity, doing their best to move past their deeply strained past relationships. The great thing about the programs is that the peace that results doesn't come as part of a government mandate or order. It starts with the people of the nation.

In a 2001 interview with me, Dr. Mohammed Halaiqa, then Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan and Minister of Industry and Trade, said that in order for peace to be meaningful it had to involve the people, and involving the people means helping them achieve economic prosperity. The QIZ programs have enjoyed great prosperity, and through that prosperity have allowed Egypt, Israel, and Jordan to find a measure of peace.

The success of the QIZ programs shows that one trade initiative can have a global impact. The programs lower the cost of goods, create business opportunities, and contribute to the Middle Eastern peace process. Though detractors remain, the countries seem to be on the right track, and their continued success is sure to help them maintain their peaceful relationships with one another. If they pull out and start fighting for whatever reason, all of the countries lose and their citizens lose right along with them.

I heard a great story that illustrates the major role the QIZ programs are playing in changing minds and making people more willing to keep the peace. A high-ranking Hamas official discovered that his daughter was working in a QIZ park founded by Salah. He ordered her to quit her job because he didn't want her cooperating with the Israelis in any way, but she convinced him to come to the factory to see what was going on. He visited and saw that the workers were treated well, made more competitive salaries, and that the women were being empowered through economic opportunities that afforded them a decent wage and relative autonomy. Long story short, he liked what he saw and even admitted that the economic stability the QIZ factories brought to the region was beneficial to the Palestinian workers.

Perhaps not every Hamas official feels the way the man in the story does. But his change in position indicates that people within the region are willing to shift their attitudes regarding Israel. They see the economic benefits and the peace the programs bring to the nations that participate.

Results so far seem to indicate that when countries become linked by economic ties, they are less likely to jeopardize their economies by engaging in violence. As seen with Jordan, the programs also serve as great stepping stones to stronger diplomatic relationships. In 2000 King Hussein used the success of his nation's QIZ program to move to a full free trade agreement with the United States. As the existing programs continue in the Middle East and new programs are created between hostile nations, the better chance we have that the prosperity that results from the programs will spread peace throughout the region. *

"There are many fronts in our struggle against Islamic terrorists from the 7th century. The American people must be reminded of our challenges constantly in lieu of platitudes about the inevitable triumph of freedom and democracy. In short, our government should provide much more explanation of this complex war and far less simple declarations about it." --Victor Davis Hanson

Friday, 23 October 2015 15:40

Chilling Killing Guide

Chilling Killing Guide

Arnold Beichman

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) supplied the translation from the Arabic.

I have surfed the Internet over the years and have come across some real doozies in my time but I have never--until now--come across a web site that tells the reader how to commit murder and get away with it. Of course, the murder is to be carried out for religious reasons.

The modus operandi, according to the Islamist Al-Hesbah web site, is titled "Plan of Action for the Jihad Fighter: How to Kill a Crusader in the Arabian Peninsula." ("Crusader" is the favored jihadist euphemism for Christians. It is an historic reference to the Crusades, European expeditions undertaken in the Middle Ages, to deliver the Holy Places from Islamic rule.) The author of this Murder Manifesto, dated June 15, 2006, is Amer Al-Najdi, whoever he is.

Al-Najdi, a religious man, instructs his readers in some possible ways to kill a Westerner, from choosing the victim right up to the stage of the actual killing. Before committing the murder, says Al-Najdi, "pray to Allah to guide you on the good path." Having prayed to Allah, he then explains "the jihadist way of action and the security measures to be employed by the jihad fighter when he wants to kill a Westerner":

External appearance: Try as much as possible to look like someone who is not religious . . . and wear cheap dark glasses during the day and regular glasses at night. Your clothes must be long, and try if at all possible for them to be heel-length, or longer; don't be afraid of this. Wear a sport suit or a regular suit. Similarly, it is greatly preferable to be shaven.
Immediately get rid of everything in your car that indicates that you are religious, such as jihad cassettes. . . . The most important thing there must not be anything in the car indicating that the owner is a religious man . . . so that if the dogs of the security [apparatuses], the emergency [apparatuses], or the other [apparatuses] stop you in a suspicious place and search your car they will find nothing proving that you are religious, and will release you right away.
While you are carrying out the operation, be careful not to take your cell phone with you, especially if it has a camera, so that it won't cause you, or your friends whose numbers are in the phone, problems with unknown consequences. [Good thinking.]
In order to carry out the operation when the time comes . . . you must have a weapon, a pistol or a submachine gun or a good knife, if you are interested in slaughtering this infidel.

Next comes the problem of how to identify members of the "security apparatus" or a "Crusader" and how to kill them when they are identified. Here's how:

The first method: At about 7 a.m., pass by the settlement and check only how these Crusaders leave it, and what road they take. Beware, my jihad-fighting brother, to pass by only once, because the military dogs at the gates [of the settlement] might suspect you and detain you. Two or three days later, pass by the [same] settlement, but don't go near it as you did the first time. That is, go straight to the road where [the settlement residents] go, and wait for them by the side of the road, and when you see one of these Crusaders, follow him.
It is best to change vehicles each time, if you can. While following the Crusader, be very careful not to be exposed. For the most part, especially these days, they are feeling safer, because there are not many operations against them. But the jihad wave is approaching, and Allah will conceal this matter from them.
When [the Westerner you have selected] stops at a traffic light, try to be behind him, in the same lane, with at least two cars between you and him, or alongside him, but not exactly alongside him. While waiting at the traffic light, refrain from casual glances, and try to occupy yourself with something. . . . When you two turn onto the highway, try to pass the infidel on the right or left, and then slow down so that he will pass you, so as to remove suspicion for the next time.
A second way to find [a Westerner]: Sometimes there is no need to follow the infidel first thing in the morning; often we see them next to traffic lights or at the big marketplaces . . . often, they shop there, particularly in the morning, between 9:30 and 12:00. When you see an infidel in one of these places, follow him carefully, and you will quickly notice that for the most part he will be going to a settlement or to a house in one of the neighborhoods.
A third way to find [a Westerner]: Sometimes when you, the jihad fighter, are sitting with your colleague or with family, someone comes and says: "We have an American working for the company, who receives [a salary of] 150,000 . . ." When you hear this, you must find out the following things:
1) If you know where your colleague works -- fine. But if you don't know where he works and where his company is, immediately address your colleague, saying: "That's not true, this [salary] is exaggerated." He will immediately say, "You're wrong, and I can prove it." Tell him, "I know someone who works for such-and-such a company (give a name) and they have an American who gets [paid] 40,000, and their company is in (give a place)." Then tell him, "Your company is probably in the such-and-such area (north, for example)." And he will reply: "No, our company is in such-and-such a place." If the description so far is [still] unclear to you, say to him: "Oh . . . next to (give the name of a place)?" He will reply, "No, our company is in such-and-such a place" exactly. Then say to him, "This American you have must be a director if he gets [paid] such a sum," and then he will tell you what this infidel does [in the company]. Then say, "Surely, he has a fancy car if he gets such a salary," and then he will tell you the kind of car. Thus you have gotten the information that will help you in the future, without your colleague or anyone around him noticing.
How to Kill the Infidel and What Security Measures to Take: The best way to carry this out is to forge an ID card and a work ID, in order to rent a car.
After obtaining a suitable car, kill the Crusader, in accordance with the circumstances--if the Crusader works at a company where you work, or at a company where someone you know works, strike him on his day off, or somewhere far from [where the company is located] . . . if the Crusader lives next door to you or near you, and you want to kill him, it is best to kill him when he is outside work, so as to distance you from suspicion.
When you carry out the [killing] operation and make your escape, travel a route that you have planned in advance. It is best [to go] by the highway for five minutes, and then to move to secondary roads and then to neighborhoods, so as to distance yourself from the place of the operation.
After . . . [you have evaded being followed] park the car somewhere, [where] you have at your disposal another vehicle, extremely clean, that you will use to return home safely.
It is desirable to film the operation so it can be presented by the media, so that it has a broader impact.
Your brother Amer Al-Najdi
Arabian Peninsula
The l9th day of the fifth month, 1427 [June 15, 2006]. *
The Da Vinci Code and the Structure of the Church--Editorial

Angus MacDonald

My granddaughter in junior high school, aged thirteen, was given The Da Vinci Code to read by her school, which she read, as did her brother, a freshman in high school. Though my impression of the book gained by superficial information was that it was not good reading, I read the book. The book is brilliant, a page-turner, though it is historically inaccurate, misleading, and harmful.

The book is based on the myth of the Holy Grail, a legend of the twelfth century, in which Joseph of Arimathea is said to have received the grail from an apparition of Jesus and then sent it to his followers in Great Britain. Later writers of the legend said Joseph used the grail to catch the blood of Jesus while he was being interred. The myth has been the subject of many books during the centuries, finding its way into music and poetry. The one unifying theme is that the grail is holy, and he who seeks it must be holy if he is to find it.

The author of the book dismisses traditional descriptions of the grail and states that the true Holy Grail was the womb of Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene was a female follower of Jesus, and little is said of her in the scriptures, but our author says she was of royal blood. The church, according to our author, said she was a prostitute, defaming her. Our author says that Jesus and Mary were married and produced children whose descendants are alive today. There is no historical record for such a statement.

Jesus was the original feminist, according to the author, and he intended that the future of the church would be in the hands of Mary Magdalene. "She was the chalice that bore the royal bloodline of Jesus Christ." Mankind found God in sexual ecstasy and this pathway to God was contrary to the teaching of the church. To counter this claim the Vatican was in league with the Priory to prevent the true meaning of the Holy Grail being known and was willing to murder those who would reveal the truth. The church worked hard to demonize sex and recast it as a disgusting and sinful act. The greatest story ever told was changed into the greatest story ever sold.

The thesis of the book is nonsense, only fiction, as the author said, but it is an illustration of the attempts to undermine a religious basis of our society.

The author is correct in saying the Christian church was established by Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D. Constantine was handsome, brave, energetic, and a superb statesman, but his empire was decaying and he was determined to save it. He was ruthless in the pursuit of his goals. He executed his son for insubordination, and his wife for reasons that are not clear. The Roman state used religion to maintain morality, but none believed in the old gods. Sex ran riot in freedom while political liberty decayed. Many religions tried to fill the need, but none were adequate. Constantine decided that the Christian religion was best suited for the empire's needs, if he could stop the leaders from arguing about silly details. He called a council and made the bishops and lesser clergy agree in what we call the Nicene Creed. If the empire were to be saved, it had to have a creed all agreed to accept. He had his way and became a half-sincere Christian, never forgetting that the salvation of the empire was of first importance. The Nicene Creed repeated in churches today modified the original creed of 325, but only in detail.

The establishment of the church by Constantine was both good and bad. It was bad in that Christianity was directed to individuals while the church of Constantine was a political establishment. It was good in that without political establishment the church we know would not exist. The old Empire continued for another 1150 years, but, more importantly, the established church founded by Constantine fathered the Middle Ages, beginning the modern world. The church became the leader in law, science, philosophy, education, charity, and all things of worth.

The Reformation began March 15, 1517, when Pope Leo X promoted indulgences. Money was needed to repair St. Peter's and indulgences were an excellent method of raising money. With the payment of money, spokesmen for the church assured the faithful that their sins were forgiven and they would emerge from purgatory sooner. An indulgence could be bought for the dead as well as for oneself and family. The papal bull of indulgences never granted the power assumed by the sellers of indulgences, but the Vatican took the money.

Martin Luther posted October 31, 1517, ninety-five theses to the main door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, denouncing the indulgences. His purpose was not to deny the authority of the church but to protest the extravagant claims being made in the name of the church. He also made a translation of the theses into German so that they would be understood by the people. At this time the Pope wanted to tax Germany to finance a new crusade against the Turks. The Diet refused the request saying it had been taxed enough. This refusal, plus the objection to the indulgences, loosened a pent-up anticlericalism that had been growing for generations.

We are saved, Luther said, not by indulgences but by faith. He taught that good works cannot save us from hell and only the redeeming sacrifice of Christ can guarantee us salvation in an after-life. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." Luther's doctrine of salvation by faith was little different from salvation by indulgences, save that it was without money. Both relied on magic. He believed in predestination, as did Calvin. Because God is omnipotent and omniscient, the fate of man is decided whatever work man does. A strange belief from one who advocated autonomy in the understanding of the scriptures!

The Church of England (the father of the Episcopal Church) began November 3, 1539, by an act of parliament that wanted to reduce clerical wealth and power in England and was sympathetic to the desire of Henry VIII to have a male heir.

Henry's wife Catherine's four sons died, with Mary the only survivor, but she at the age of two was betrothed to the dauphin of France. If no son came to Henry, the King of France would also be the King of England. Henry needed the annulment of his marriage to Catherine so he could marry Anne Boleyn. Henry never received an annulment, though the Pope suggested the problem might be solved if he took two wives! The Pope was a captive of international politics and was unable to do anything for or against Henry.

In 1528 a "Supplication of the Beggars" asked the King to confiscate the wealth of the English Church. Extravagant claims were made that sat well with the English nobility: the best lordships, manors, and territories belonged to the church. They owned a tenth of the corn, meadow, pasture, grass, wool, colts, calves, lambs, pigs, geese, and chickens. In 1531 Henry insisted the clergy acknowledge him as "the protector and only supreme head of the Church and clergy of England"-that they should end their allegiance to the Pope. January 15, 1533, Henry married Anne, who was four months pregnant. November 11, 1534, parliament reaffirmed the king's sovereignty over church and state in England.

Henry remained a Catholic in doctrine and persecuted Protestants who disagreed, and he persecuted Catholics who denied his supremacy. This terror continued through the remainder of his reign, with Henry burning, hanging, or beheading those not obedient to him. He was still without a male heir. Anne was delivered of a dead child and he began to think of another wife and accused Anne of infidelity. She was executed. He married Jane Seymour who gave him, at last, a son who became Edward VI, but Jane died twelve days after his birth.

Henry was a cruel, wicked man, England's worst and strongest king, but he made England independent and gave it a freedom fit for its intelligence. Without Henry VIII, said Will Durant, Elizabeth and Shakespeare might never have been.


The problem for the church is to define the Christian faith. The New Testament description of Jesus is full of editorial comment by His followers, but the essential teaching is clear. Jesus revolted against the pretense of religion and preached simple goodness with such persuasion that the world in which He lived gathered to His support, and we have followed the example. The Christian religion as we know it is a flame; a light, but it lives in a human box that does not always reflect the genius of its origin. The church is a needed box, but always imperfect.

The Reformation was a blessing for the Catholic Church because it was released from international politics and could return to its proper function. Has it done so? I get the impression the Pope does his best to influence the church for what is right and proper. On the other hand the Catholic hierarchy in the United States at the moment is calling for amnesty for illegal aliens, which is not its function. Religion is to be directed to individuals, not politicians.

Protestantism is in a state of confusion. The Bible is no longer thought of as the clear, dogmatic word of God because it has been written by men. Authors were searching for God, but they were men. The creeds are not believed, though they are recited every Sunday. Most denominations are ruled by national committees of the denominations, which is the same kind of structure as the Catholic hierarchy. National committees own the property of all churches, plus other assets, so that the life of the local pastor is in the hand of executives. If he does not follow orders, he is in trouble. At the moment, church executives are excited about homosexuality, feminism, and social action, generally of a liberal thrust. Some denominations have churches that are independent; that is, they own their property and can deviate from the hierarchical point of view. These are, largely, Baptist, Quakers, Disciples of Christ, Congregationalists. Congregational fellowships have been dismantled, and in the main, having been absorbed into the United Church of Christ, which now owns and controls every congregation.

The future of the Christian faith rests in the lives of local congregations who do their best to live good lives. They follow the inspiration of Jesus of Nazareth and are faithful to their congregations through all of its trials. They are the salt of the earth and of the Christian faith. Without dogmatism, they lead beautiful, practical lives. Church executives would do well to give their full attention to church members and forgo the temptations of power. I suggest church executives have limited terms of two to four years. I have known four bishops. Two were Christian gentleman and two were vain tyrants, one with a national reputation.

Perhaps true Christianity is best illustrated in the mega-churches of our time. They ignore everybody who does not help them do their best to be Christian, including church executives. They sit in seats usually used for theatres. They come in such numbers police are needed to direct traffic. I do not care for their rock music, but they are working at being good people.

We live in an age in which religion and decency are attacked in the name of freedom. All forms of the media are involved in this attack. The Da Vinci Code is a brilliant illustration. *

"Right actions for the future are the best apologies for wrong ones in the past." -Tyron Edwards

* The quotes following each article have been gathered by The Federalist Patriot at: http://FederalistPatriot.US/services.asp.

Friday, 23 October 2015 13:43

Summary for August 2006

The following is a summary of the August 2006, issue of the St. Croix Review:

In the editorial, "The Growth of George Washington" Angus Macdonald relates stories from the first president's youth that touch on his education, his work on the family farm, his first job as a surveyor, and his experience fighting for the British and against the French and Native Americans.

In a "Letter to the Editor" Justin Ingalls takes issue with the idea expressed in "The Cartoon Jihad" that freedom of speech is absolute.

Allan Brownfeld, in "Jamestown, 1607-2007: Preparing for America's 400th Birthday," recounts the story of Jamestown, and points out the vital contribution of British law and culture to American heritage; in "One Woman's Unique Journey--A Political and Social History of Texas," he tells how Marjorie Meyer Arsht became a pioneer of the Republican Party in Texas. She brought greater inclusiveness in civil rights to the party, and she was an early supporter of George H. W. Bush.

In "The Transatlantic Alliance and Nuclear Stability," Herbert London observers that Europeans seem united with the U.S. in diplomatic efforts prevent an Iranian nuclear threat, but he doubts Iranian resolve if diplomacy fails; in "Delusion v. Reality" he believes the world is divided into two classes: one awake to the threat posed by militant Islam and the other willfully blind to it; in "Inspiring Europe (?)" he comes away from a symposium in Switzerland with the view that Europeans are probably incapable of facing their cultural, demographic, and economic problems, and they are unwilling to acknowledge the hostility of the Islamic immigrants in their midst; in "Political Propaganda from the Academy" he reviews The Enemy of My Enemy-the author believes there is a convergence of militant Islam and the "right wing" in the U.S.

John Howard shows how the Continental Congress resolved not to publicize their conflicting views while drafting the Declaration of Independence, so that they could make necessary compromises, in "Independence Day."

Lt. Peter Hegseth of the 101st Airborne Division, who is stationed in Samarra, Iraq, gives us an on-the-ground assessment of the progress being made in "Samarra: The Long View." He cites developments that will never appear in mainstream media.

Winkfield Twyman Jr., in "The Introspection of a Nation," believes that Blacks are having a difficult time fitting in with the American mainstream because of a self-imposed personality trait: through centuries Black Americans have learned to be introverts. They have isolated themselves from needed relationships with those outside their comfort zone, and so they lack the friendships and contacts to be at home, and to succeed in business.

In "The Great Experiment" Martin Harris questions whether Vermont can continue to prosper while the numbers of newcomers who live off trust funds, and who stand in the way of development grow, and the traditional, wealth-generating industries decline.

Thomas Martin comments on how noisy the world has become in "On Silence and the Invasion of Privacy."

Jigs Gardner's next article in his series, "Writers for Conservatives: 4," is on Rudyard Kipling.

John D'Aloia Jr. reports on this year's earmark high jinks in "Mad Congress Disease."

Craig Payne writes answers to the questions he poses in "Nine Common Objections to Capital Punishment."

Nine Common Objections to Capital Punishment

Craig Payne

Craig Payne teaches at a community college in southeastern Iowa.

The perennial topic of capital punishment is in the news again. On the national level, according to a recent AP report, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the constitutionality of a Kansas law recommending that juries sentence a defendant to death (rather than to life in prison) when the evidence supports the imposition of capital punishment. However, writing for the dissenting minority, Justice David Souter said that the law is "obtuse by any moral or social measure."

Here in my home state of Iowa, similar thoughts were expressed during the recent Democratic run-off elections. As carried on a Des Moines news program, one of the three Democratic hopefuls was definitely against capital punishment, the next (Ed Fallon) called it "morally wrong" and asserted that "clearly as policy it doesn't work," and the eventual winner, Chet Culver, favored it only in highly qualified cases. Culver made it clear he was "not running to reinstate capital punishment."

These are strongly held judgments. Its opponents say that capital punishment is "morally wrong," for example, or even "obtuse by any moral or social measure." However, by now most of the logic behind these judgments can be boiled down to some fairly standard arguments. Since proponents of capital punishment (such as myself) typically run into some form of the following nine common objections, I would like to list these objections in order and attach a reply to each:

Objection # 1: "Capital punishment is not a deterrent to crime"-or, as Fallon put it, "Clearly as policy it doesn't work."

Reply: First of all, this common objection is not proven-there exist studies on both sides of the argument, along with anecdotal evidence to back up both sides as well. But secondly, how on earth could the deterrent effect of capital punishment on crime be proven? How could we possibly know how many people were not murdered because of the potential murderers' healthy fear of execution? In most cases, we should rely on the common-sense intuition that punishment deters.

Objection # 2: "It costs more to execute someone than to keep him in prison for life."

Reply: This may actually be true. However, the problem is not in the nature of capital punishment itself, but rather in the laxness of a legal system that allows almost unlimited appeals; the bills for these drawn-out appeals are not related to the execution, but to the process of getting to the execution. Reasonably limiting the number of appeals granted in clear-cut cases would reduce the costs.

Objection # 3: "It's morally wrong to keep someone on Death Row for years and years."

Reply: I agree. See response to Objection # 2, above.

Objection # 4: "What if the person on Death Row uses his time there to repent and be rehabilitated?"

Reply: Most people would welcome the news of the prisoner's repentance and rehabilitation. However, a prisoner's repentance does not remove the debt that prisoner still owes to society; the prisoner still should be punished for the crime committed.

Objection # 5: "But as long as the prisoner is alive, there is still the chance of repentance and rehabilitation. Execution removes that chance."

Reply: True. On the other hand, merely keeping a prisoner alive does not raise the chances of repentance and rehabilitation; in fact, it may actually reduce the chances. As Samuel Johnson put it, the prospect of imminent execution tends to concentrate the mind wonderfully well.

Objection # 6: "But capital punishment trains society to seek revenge. Take you, for example. You actually sound happy about executing people."

Reply: Society is not seeking revenge, but fairness. In my own case, I am never happy about capital punishment, but as a citizen of a society under the rule of law, I am always happy at the exercise of justice. As one translation of the book of Proverbs says, "It is a joy to people when justice prevails." Further, the Christian philosopher Thomas Aquinas points out two meanings of "revenge": there is revenge "beyond the order of reason," based on one's anger, and there is revenge "according to justice." The first type should be avoided, but a society based on law must impose the second type consistently and fairly (I would also add "and quickly").

Objection # 7: "Why is it always you Bible-thumpers, the so-called 'pro-life' people, who are in favor of capital punishment? The Bible says 'Thou shalt not kill.' Capital punishment is killing and is therefore forbidden by the Bible."

Reply: The King James Version of the Bible makes the translation error, "Thou shalt not kill." Virtually every other translation renders this as "Thou shalt not murder." There are ten Hebrew words used in the Bible which mean "kill." To kill in battle, to kill accidentally, or to kill in self-defense, for example, all require different words. However, there is only one word which means "murder," and that is the one used in the commandment against murder. The Bible, in other words, does not prohibit capital punishment.

Objection # 8: "Well, whether or not capital punishment is allowed in the Bible, it is still both cruel and unusual, and our own Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment."

Reply: First of all, it is not "cruel" punishment. At least, it is far less cruel than most of the actual crimes for which it is imposed. Secondly, the only reason it might be "unusual" is that many states are reluctant to impose it. Thirdly, capital punishment is specifically mentioned and allowed in the Constitution. Citizens are not to be "deprived of life" without "due process of law"; this clearly implies that, given the due process of law, citizens may be deprived of life by the government.

bjection # 9: "My most important objection I have saved for last. It is simple: What if we make a mistake? What if we execute an innocent person? It would be better to do away with capital punishment entirely than to execute someone who is not guilty of the crime."

Reply: Certainly this thought should make us quite cautious in applying the extreme penalty. However, being very careful in applying a punishment does not entail that one should never apply the punishment. Even if capital punishment is a last resort, that still implies that it is a resort. In fact, for some crimes, capital punishment is the only proportionate response. This is the real reason most people are in favor of capital punishment: not to save money in the legal system or somehow get "revenge" on the criminal, but because capital punishment is morally right.

This last statement will doubtless infuriate some. But in the long run, it is the fundamental validation for retaining capital punishment, and it is still the view held by the majority of Americans. On this subject, the intuitions of the majority are just. *

"No crisis is beyond the capacity of our people to solve; no challenge too great." --Ronald Reagan

Friday, 23 October 2015 13:43

Mad Congress Disease

Mad Congress Disease

John D'Aloia Jr.

John D'Aloia Jr. is a retired navy captain and submarine commander. He is a columnist for several newspapers in Kansas.

The existence of Mad Congress Disease (MCD) is demonstrated in many ways. How they spend our money is a prominent subset of the disease's symptoms, especially when the light of day is cast upon earmarks.

My hometown city commission is trying to determine how to come up with the needed funds to repair its swimming pool within existing revenue sources, not wanting to put the bite on citizens in other jurisdictions. What makes it all very frustrating is that every citizen in town is being taxed by the feds for that very same purpose elsewhere in the country--our federal tax dollars are renovating swimming pools across the nation. (I have not been able to find what in the Constitution gives Congress the authority to sock you and me for building swimming pools. Certainly there is no nexus to interstate commerce, but then perhaps the Glancing Duck theory is being invoked.)

When the U.S. House approved the $68 billion Treasury, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development spending bill, it contained more than 1,500 new earmarks at a cost of about $900 million. Included in the earmarks were $500,000 for a swimming pool in Columbus, Ohio, and $500,000 to renovate a swimming pool in Banning, California. Several members offered an amendment to strip the pool earmark from the bill--it was soundly defeated, gathering only 61 votes. Other earmarks in the bill included $500,000 for a scenic trail in Monterey, California, $1.5 million for the William Faulkner Museum in Oxford, Mississippi, and $500,000 for an athletic facility in Yucaipa, California. So much for the promise of the newly elected House leadership to restrain earmarking.

Examples of out-of-control government spending can jump out at you when you are not even looking for them. A friend gave me a copy of a trade magazine dealing with composites because it contained an article on the use of composites in submarines. As I was thumbing through the magazine, there it was. The EPA was spending your tax dollars to help the Chinese government increase the use of grid-connected wind power in China's Hebei province. Why are our tax dollars being used to help a less-than-friendly foreign government increase its energy sources to serve its burgeoning military buildup? In an EPA press release, the reason comes out Green: "We all share the same environment," said Bill Wehrum, acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation. "Working together through this partnership, the United States can assist China in shifting to a greener, more sustainable path." Being a politically correct shade of green trumps national security. According to a Chinese government website, the Hebei provincial government has been carrying out an environmental protective and pollution-controlling program named the "Restoration Program of Blue Water, Azure Sky and Verdant Landscape." Does it not all sound so wonderful, and are you not so happy that your tax dollars are helping it come to fruition?

Hawaii's congressional delegation has the distinction of being the third-ranked "bring-home-the-bacon" porkers. An earmark by Senator Daniel Inouye funneled $3 million to the Mauna Kea Discovery Center in Hilo, Hawaii. Inouye wrote "[the center] will educate visitors about the seafaring explorations that were done by Native Hawaiians in the past and the explorations of the skies done now by astronomers atop Mauna Kea." This too sounds so wonderful--I wonder if his writers were in cahoots with the Hebei Province writers. Stephen Laffey, in an Human Events article, wrote:

Blockqoute: The brazenness with which Congressmen siphon American taxpayers in order to feed their own political careers is as astounding as it is detrimental. This country cannot afford to be a cash register for every Congressional whim and desire.

Sorry Mr. Laffey, actions prove that taxpayers are looked upon as a bottomless pocket book to further congressional pride and greed, with no thought to tomorrow.

In spite of the amount of your tax dollars that have been given for trips to Hawaii, these dollars are just a footnote to the grasp that MCD has on the delegation. Senator Daniel Akaka has introduced a bill that would create an independent, race-based government for Native Hawaiians. The bill is actually being given serious consideration. Contemplate the implications. It is not pretty. *

"A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired." --Alexander Hamilton

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