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 13:43

On Silence and the Invasion of Privacy

On Silence and the Invasion of Privacy

Thomas Martin

Thomas Martin teaches in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. You may contact Thomas Martin at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Recently on a family trip to see my mother in Florida, it was not hard to notice how noisy the world has become. In years past, when making a phone call in public, we used a pay phone, which was either in a booth with a door that closed behind, or in a cubicle into which we tucked our heads so no one would overhear the conversation. This was not only to politely keep our conversation from intruding into others, but it also allowed us to keep conversations private in a public place.

This is no longer the case. It is all too common in public to hear people on cell phones, often raising their voices several decibels such that their conversations are broadcast to everyone within the proximity of a twenty-five yards.

In the Tampa airport, I learned the speaker was talking to Julie, somewhere in the world beyond, and he was:

. . . just like doing nut'in, so I thought I'd call you and see howse it goin . . . Oh, so nut'ins happen' there? . . . It is like sunny today. . . . oh !! . . . It's raining there? . . .

This goes on for twenty minutes. It is before 7 o'clock so the person must have a plan that gives him "unlimited minutes." Oh joy.

Cell phones have become umbilical cords for people who cannot stand silence, so they must be constantly checking for messages or playing a game to pass another monotonous moment of existence in which they might otherwise be alone in the quiet of their own minds.

If it is not the cell phone chatter invading a person's privacy, it is the incessant prattle from televisions, be they in bars, airports, health clubs, or "wherever," tuned to the likes of CNN where Barbie and Ken newscasters busily repeat the latest happenings every three minutes. Modern newscasters epitomize what Marshall McLuhan meant when he stated "the medium is the message"--the newscasters are more important than the news! In the television polls it is all about who tuned in to see Elizabeth Vargas, Diana Sawyer or Bill O'Reilly and not about the truth and accuracy of what they are reporting.

Try finding a restaurant or bar without televisions hanging from the ceiling beaming images of everything from MTV babes grinding about to the beat of uh . . . uh . . . uh . . . uh to multiple sporting events set to a series of commercials reminding us men we need more beer, Viagra and four-wheel-drive vehicles to scale the mountains.

Not to mention the image of women that is cast upon the television. While men have always been attracted to women, and women, I suspect, do try to look attractive to men, the commercials constantly remind women their beauty really is skin deep and they had better buy the latest shampoo, subscribe to a diet plan and get into those low-riding jeans for optimal performance before men.

While the health conscious citizens in Lincoln, Nebraska, worried about the effects of secondary smoke being exhausted into their lungs and recently passed a law banning smoking in restaurants, bars, and all public places, who is worried about the babble being exhaled into our souls from the radios and televisions in supermarkets, department stores, restaurants, bars, waiting rooms, airports and the like?

Why do moments of silent contemplation continually have to be interrupted by the exhalings of complete strangers trying to manipulate us to buy the latest gizmo or swallow a political position, or by intruding with their one-sided cell phone conversations?

It is good to remember that silence is a virtue that requires a person to be still, to hold his tongue, so he can listen to the inner voice of his soul. It is an ancient adage that "only he who can speak can be silent." While both an animal and a rock are capable of being quiet neither is capable of being silent--that requires an act of the will.

In this I am reminded of Josef Pieper, Leisure the Basis of Culture, who noted that "leisure is a form of silence, of that silence which is prerequisite of the apprehension of reality: only the silent hear and those who do not remain silent do not hear."

And so it goes. *

"We can forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." --Plato

Friday, 23 October 2015 13:43

The Great Experiment

The Great Experiment

Martin Harris

Martin Harris lives in Brandon, VT. He is an architect, and a property rights and education advocate.

Old-timers in Vermont's Addison County will recall Pete Horton, "founding father" of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce. He's not around here any more, having fled about a decade ago to Tennessee where temperatures are higher and taxes are lower, but his legacy lives on (my opinion, as is appropriate for an opinion column) in the form of an economic theory being converted to practice.

Neither Pete nor I are highly skilled professional and credentialed economists, but we both had and still have distinctly different ideas on economics and used to debate them at length. It was my argument, based on early exposure to a number of the standard economics texts, that a national or state economy starts with a primary, wealth-creating sector, like agriculture or minerals, feeding a number of secondary, tertiary, and so on sectors which then survive and even prosper by selling their services or products for a piece of the wealth first created by the guy growing corn with sunlight or pulling fish out of the sea. Not to get into too much historical detail on this subject, but if you look up "physiocrats" in the dictionary or on the web you'll get the full flavor of this economic construct. Pete's business background wasn't in corn growing or cod fishing, but rather in the tourism-hospitality industry, and, understandably, it was his argument that, particularly at the state level, secondary and tertiary industries like recreation and tourism were just as good economic bases as raising beef or quarrying marble. He wasn't impressed by my argument that a state economy, which depends over-much on money previously earned elsewhere and then spent locally while the visiting earner-spender is on vacation isn't the equal of one which actually generates new wealth locally.

Now, it seems to me, based on general observation and anecdotal information (I've requested data on passive versus active income in Vermont from the State Tax Department, to no avail, but was able to get the 1992 through 2004 breakdown from the Census Bureau) that an ever-increasing percentage of disposable income here comes not from dairying or manufacturing but from retirement checks and trust funds. I seem to see more and more instances of folks operating farms and shops who apparently don't need to make a profit from them, more and more instances of full-time free-time younger and older adults able to devote full effort to unpaid political activism, more and more resident objection to any form of new housing or commerce or business or industry or infra-structure up-grade anywhere near to or even remote from their own little piece of Vermont. They subscribe to Vermont Life for its frequent photos of 20-cow wooden barns and horse-drawn hay rakes, but come out in droves to oppose modern dairying or apple growing. The observation that there's now a potent anti-development, anti-growth, anti-modernization mindset held by a majority of the modern Vermont electorate isn't a new one first stated here. Here are the statistics.

From 1992 through 2004, earned income in Vermont increased from $5.6 to $9.3 billion, or about 66 percent. Business income increased from $454 million to $656 million, or 44 percent. In contrast, taxable IRA income increased from $51 million to $194 million, or 280 percent; taxable pension income increased from $328 million to $710 million, more than doubling at 116 percent; and taxable Social Security income increased from $45 million to $226 million, quintupling for a growth of 402 percent. Farm income, in a state that glibly professes to be solicitous of its farmers, was $17 million in 1992 and still $17 million in 2004, for an inflation-adjusted loss of 35 percent (it required $1.35 in 2004 to match the purchasing power of $1 in 1992).

Income earned the old-fashioned way--by working for it--is still the major element of the income base of the Vermont economy, but it is shrinking in relative importance as unearned passive income, everything from trust funds to pensions, grows at a much faster rate. Because people who don't have to work at a day job have more time and energy to be politically active in every area from the regulation of development to the level of taxation, they exert far more impact on the socio-economic and governmental framework of the State than their earned-income less-than-peers, who can't even attend a daytime hearing without forfeiting work accomplished or pay received or both.

University of Vermont professor Frank Bryan describes these highly politically active folks, almost entirely recent in-migrants from the megalopolis to the south of New England, as "third-wave" post-industrial newcomers, having escaped from a "second-wave" urban-suburban environment, determined to use their political clout to keep themselves surrounded by a "first-wave" (pre-industrial) countryside--but I would describe it as a great experiment: can a state economy be built primarily on transfer payments from elsewhere in the form of monthly mailbox checks for retirement or investments coming to a voting-majority population which is largely non-productive in the traditional sense of that word? In other words, can transfer payments substitute for a primary sector economic foundation? Will the economy work when most of the voters and taxpayers don't, and the rest of us try to peddle our products and services to them?

Pete Horton would have said yes: if tourism and recreation can be a primary sector substituting for real, local wealth-generation by drawing in wealth originally generated elsewhere, so can the transfer payments in the form of a steady flow of passive income to an increasingly larger percentage of Vermont mailboxes. I won't say no; I will say that I'm not convinced. *

"Waste not fresh tears over old griefs." --Euripides

We would like to thank the following people for their generous support of this journal (from 5/6/2006 to 7/18/2006): H. W. Agnew, John E. Alderson Jr., George E. Andrews, Hale E. Andrews, William D. Andrews, Ariel, D. Randall Askins, Dean A. Benjamin, Robert P. Bringer, James M. Broz, Georgia Buchta, Cliff Chambers, Maurie Daigneau, Michael D. Detmer, Granville Dutton, Edwin J. Feulner, Robert W. Garhwait, Jane F. Gelderman, Joseph H. Grant, Joyce Griffin, Violet H. Hall, Anthony Harrigan, Paul J. Hauser, Bernhard Heersink, Quentin O. Heimerman, Thomas E. Humphreys, Dr. & Mrs. Patrick R. Huntley, Donald C. Ingram, Don Johnson, Frank G. Kenski, Robert A. Kierlin, Edward B. Kiolbasa, Allyn M. Lay, Thomas J. McGreevy, Robert A. Moss, Mary Murtha, Valentime Polkowski, Bernard L. Poppert, Patrick L. Risch, Howard J. Romanek, William A. Shipley, Joseph M. Simonet, Mr. & Mrs. G. Richard Slade, Norma H. Slade, Richard J. Stasiak, Patrick M. Sullivan, John West Thatcher, W. G. Thompson, Carol C. Weimann, Robert D. Wells, Robert C. Whitten, Donald Wilson, William P. Wortman.

Friday, 23 October 2015 13:43

The Introspection of a Nation

The Introspection of a Nation

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 .

Our thoughts about Black America need revision.

Conventional thought holds prejudice and discrimination accountable for what ails African-Americans. And there is much in the literature about conscious and unconscious racism to support the point. Others like Thomas Sowell and John T. McWhorter use culture as a lens for understanding the perception gap between Black and White Americans. Social dysfunction becomes the outcome of character pathology.

Whether racism or culture matters more has become the equivalent of the chicken and the egg argument. Both positions are defendable. Both vantage points explain part of the African-American experience. Neither thought can settle the debate.

A piece of the puzzle is missing.

To better understand Black America, one cannot start with the rage of a privileged class as seen by Ellis Crose, the stereotype vulnerability of college students described by Claude Steele or anti-intellectualism lamented by McWhorter. The axis upon which the great divide turns between White America and Black America is personality.

For a brief moment in time, relations between Whites and Blacks were fluid. From 1619 when the first slaves arrived in Jamestown until roughly 1660, the tumultuous times rewarded extroversion. Everyone faced disease and massacre at the hands of indigenous tribes. Survival required an ability to take risks, to dominate and to subdue the elements. Africans were outgoing with the best of them. Anthony Johnson, an arrival in the first shipload of slaves, gained his freedom when his indentured servitude ended. He went on to become prosperous as a planter. He established a plantation and would earn his place in American history for suing to hold an African servant in perpetual bondage. The colonial court agreed, thus establishing the precedent of slavery in the English New World.

The pressures of slavery molded slaves into introspection. Why did it happen?

American slavery was more than physical bondage. The peculiar institution required vigilance. In the outer world loomed dangers. To this day, presenters at academic conferences can throw out an isolated hate crime in a distant city and tap into the primal fear of race hatred. All black Americans can imagine themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. These fears can be traced back to slave patrols in the antebellum South, unpredictable enforcement of black codes, and the memory of Blacks having no rights that Whites were bound to respect. As a youngster, my mother warned that the Klan would get me if I did not behave. I behaved.

People looked inward. One of the best portrayals of inner life among slaves is Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made by Eugene D. Genovese. An Italian-American, Genovese devoted years to understanding how an oppressed slave people protected their ego and sense of self. Genovese describes the rise of autonomous rituals and customs, creations known only to slaves and ignored for the most part by slave masters. Roll, Jordan, Roll affirms the resilience of the human spirit.

The rise of introspection saved a race.

At points of contact with the larger world, the outgoingness of Anthony Johnson became lost. Prejudice destroyed the opportunity to make genuine friends in the white community. The imbalance of white privilege remained ever-present for slaves. Relationships became soiled with a hesitancy, a double-consciousness of knowing one's place. If you watch "Roots," you can see this introversion at work. Kunta Kinte has an arrogance born of freedom. And yet he turns for guidance to Fiddler, a born slave who filters his actions so as to not disturb the racial order of things. Rev. T. D. Jakes once remarked that he found Africans difficult to understand because of their arrogance. His African companion replied that Africans were what African-Americans would be but for slavery.

That Fiddler and his descendants turned their energies inward is no surprise. Early efforts to worship in integrated settings were rebuffed by white congregations. Black leaders like Richard Allen created the African Methodist Episcopal Church where parishioners could worship free from slights. The same introspection arose in education. While some early black students like Alexander L. Twilight, Andrew Harris and John Mercer Langston thrived at white institutions before the Civil War, vicious acts of bigotry made the real headlines. Martin Delany and two other black students entered the Medical School of Harvard in the fall of 1850. They aspired to become doctors. White students met Delany and company with open revolt. Rather than face full-throated mutiny, the faculty expelled the black students. That the rise of black colleges would be welcomed after the Civil War is explained by fear of the larger white world. The same trends developed in the professions. When the American Bar Association erupted over the inadvertent admission of three black members in 1912, black attorneys took matters into their own hands. They concentrated on discovering their needs as a minority, thus giving rise to the National Bar Association. Every profession in America has a black adjunct association based upon the same premise.

Introversion should not be confused with segregation. Segregation is an enforced exclusion under color of law. It is a legal condition created by law. Introversion is a personality trait, a preferred way of interacting with the outside, larger world. Three hundred fifty years of slavery, black codes, segregation, discrimination and prejudice have formed a decided introversion in black culture and consciousness. And this introversion, more so than drugs or poverty or single-parent households or unemployment or incarceration, explains why Black America sees a different America from White America.

Introversion carried advantages. Focusing most of the community's attention inward became a means of survival when Reconstruction collapsed. Only the black community would care enough to nurture and sustain black colleges before the 1960s. To this day, the spiritual life of the community remains anchored in the black church, a historic role that produced leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Benjamin L. Mays, and Dr. Mordecai Johnson. Spirituals and gospels, the mainstay of the black church, speak to the collective unconscious that unites those who know prejudice and the double-consciousness of race. The introversion of the black community is at its apex on Sunday mornings. Even upper-middle class professionals whose lives are integrated from 9 to 5 come together as a people to worship.

But there is a downside to withdrawing.

Most Americans are extroverts. Most White Americans are extroverted. Outgoingness and domination are valued. As a result, White Americans don't get the tendency to withdraw. White Americans see the "black table" at colleges and think segregation, not solitude. The absence of Black Americans from white barbershops does not register. Even in the upper classes of well-educated White Americans, the parallel universe of black service organizations, fraternities, sororities and social clubs is an alien creation. The inner life of Black America remains as distant as the slave world was to slave masters.

The Civil Rights Movement and integration did not change the black American personality. Yes, there were exceptions where groups like the Black Panthers and the Black Muslims adopted an in-your-face stance. But by and large, most Black Americans were more eager to make their way in the system, if possible. Years of turning inward guaranteed that Black America would be more taciturn than forthright, more reticent than revealing.

As a result, Black America is less open to outside influences than other groups. This can be seen in the low rate of interracial marriage. This can be seen in the levels of hyper-segregation that distinguish Black Americans from other groups. Even upper-middle class Black professionals like those that populate Prince George's County, Maryland, are more comfortable in the company of others like themselves than in whiter, affluent places like Potomac, Maryland or suburban Virginia. The same dynamic can be found in the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia.

There is nothing disabling about flocking together per se. One might argue that private choices should be celebrated.

The real problem is that an introverted nation needs to know how to succeed in a predominantly extroverted world. And that is the lasting injury to Black America. Black America doesn't speak loudly and clearly when it needs to. Of course, there are exceptions but one doesn't see this when careers are on the line, when contracting dollars are on the table, when poor choices are being made.

For example, the ability to navigate office politics is essential for one's career growth. But academic excellence does not equal relationship excellence. There are disturbing accounts every day of Ivy League educated Americans, Black Americans, who needlessly falter and fail in the workplace. My classmate Paul M. Barrett has written about the sad story of another classmate, Lawrence Mungin. Mungin did all of the right things. He studied hard. He remained focused on his studies. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. And yet he discovered that self-reliance, the self-reliance that saw him through Harvard, served him poorly in the workplace. He had no friends. He relied on the system to treat him fairly. As his career stalled, Mungin was left out of informal networks where he might have gained valuable social intelligence. Instead, he stayed in his office and worked hard. When his career came crashing down, he could not believe that he had played by the rules and lost. But that is the danger for an introvert in the workplace. Self-reliance without relationships is a prescription for disaster.

Relationships matter.

How did Condoleezza Rice's career catch on fire? What did powerful men see in the young Colin Powell? Who facilitated the rise of multi-millionaire Reginald Lewis, a leveraged buyout entrepreneur? What lessons can we learn from the experience of Kenneth Frazier, a lawyer that was ready to give up a promising career until a conversation with a partner set him straight?

Racism exists, but relationships matter more.

Consider the career twists and turns of Frazier, general counsel of Merck & Co., Inc., the nation's second-largest pharmaceutical company. The son of a janitor with a third-grade education, Frazier grew up in a segregated community where his father expected Frazier to be successful. Frazier learned those lessons well and powered through culture shock at predominantly white Pennsylvania State University and Harvard Law School. After joining an Old Money Philadelphia law firm, Frazier fell into the relationship gap.

What do I mean?

As Vivian Chen writes in Master of the Game, "Frazier initially kept to himself and focused on his work. [He] thought he could be successful by [his] skills alone." Frazier had learned how to study well in college and law school. But his experiences as a gifted son of a black janitor left him unaware that relationships powered careers. While his father instilled the lesson that success was possible in the face of racism, academic excellence was not relationship excellence. Frazier was on a fast track to nowhere.

When Frazier received a middling evaluation in his second year, his spirit was broken. Frazier had always been better than average for as long as he could remember in school. He began the blame game. He blamed the accuracy of the evaluation. He blamed the invisible hand of racism. He decided that he would leave under his own power before the inevitable happened. He found a new job in a government office where he assumed African-Americans would get a better deal.

Before closing the door on his firm, Drinker Biddle & Reath, Frazier talked with Melvin Breaux, a partner and the firm's only other black lawyer. The talk changed Frazier's life, according to Chen.

Breaux showed Frazier no pity. He challenged Frazier about his reason for leaving the firm. He lectured Frazier that race was no bar to his success at Drinker. Other lawyers ranging from Irish Catholics to Jews and other minorities had learned to develop relationships with Old Money WASPs. Why did Frazier believe he was special?

Then Breaux administered the coup de grace. Frazier had hurt himself by refusing social invitations and keeping to himself in his office. Frazier had to play the game. Relationships mattered because people needed to feel vested in your future. Without relationships, no one would vouch for you and carry the torch for you. You had to make people want to be with you. That meant partners and clients.

Frazier took Breaux's words to heart. He said no to the government job and stayed at the firm. He began to accept social invitations. He cultivated relationships with senior partners, many from Old Society backgrounds. And in time, Frazier grew from a second-year "blame the Man" associate to a fourth-year associate who "felt partnership was in the bag." Frazier would make partner, with ease, and develop excellent relations with partners and clients alike. One thing led to another and Frazier became the point man for Merck, a longtime client of the firm. That relationship led to a job offer from Merck that Frazier parlayed into the company's top legal post within seven years.

But for that fateful tough love from Breaux, Frazier might be an unsung attorney in a forgettable government job today.

Relationships matter.

The career of another African-American lawyer bears witness to the power of relationships. Reginald Lewis was born and raised in East Baltimore, a segregated working class neighborhood. But he never feared operating out of his comfort zone. When he purchased the McCall Pattern Company for $22.5 million, he set to work establishing good relations with Earle Angstadt, a tall, blond, blue eyed, well-tailored CEO in firm command of the social graces. Lewis met Angstadt for the first time at the Harvard Club. Even though Angstadt had been with McCall for 14 years and was 17 years Lewis' senior, Lewis saw value in retaining Angstadt as part of his team. Lewis looked beyond race and focused on shareholder return and paying down debt. When Lewis sold McCall three years later for $65 million, he made Angstadt a wealthy man in the process.

Lewis used the same finesse to purchase Beatrice International for $937 million. Operating at a level of finance where isolating himself would have been lethal, Lewis accepted a social invitation to attend the Drexel Bond Conference in L.A. in 1985. The invitation came from none other than Michael Milken. Milken got to know Lewis at the conference as well as Bruce Brown, a key research staffer close to Milken. Lewis made it his business to stay in touch with Brown, so when Lewis needed financing for the deal of a lifetime, Brown took his call. And not only did Brown take his call but Brown placed Lewis in touch with Milken. Milken knew Lewis from the Bond Conference and later conversations. Milken liked Lewis and, as a result, committed himself and the firm to Lewis' purchase of Beatrice International. Milken made the deal happen.

Without this relationship between Lewis, a child of East Coast segregated schools, and Milken, a Jewish investment banker on the west coast, Lewis would never have acquired Beatrice International Foods, a global giant with 64 companies in 31 countries. Lewis died in 1993 with a personal fortune estimated by Forbes to be in excess of $400 million.

These lessons apply outside the worlds of law and finance as well.

While a Major assigned to Major General Charles M. Gettys' helicopter, the young Colin Powell showed a leadership that left a lasting impression on General Gettys. The helicopter crashed from a height of about three stories in the Vietnam jungle. Powell braced for impact as the copter slammed into the ground. Powell got out safely but then headed back as the engine continued to grind away and smoke filled the craft. Powell searched for and found General Gettys, barely conscious. In a race against time, Powell released the General's seat belt, removed him and pulled him into the woods. Powell also rescued the general's aide. In the end, everyone was saved from the downed helicopter.

General Gettys never forgot Powell's valor. The general awarded Powell the Soldier's Medal for his role in the helicopter crash rescue. In his autobiography My American Journey, Powell recalls that he would have left the Army but for the likes of General Gettys in Vietnam.

But valor alone did not guarantee Powell's rise in the Army. At one point in 1982 Brigadier General Powell was assigned to the command group of the 4th Infantry Division (mechanized) at Fort Carson, Colorado. The division commander was a difficult Major General John W. Hudachek. As Powell wrote, "Hudachek found my performance wanting and said so in an efficiency report that could have ended my career."

Powell feared for his career. Hudachek had ignored Powell's command potential. In Hudachek's judgment, Powell had flunked. What saved Powell was the informal network among other generals throughout the Army. Generals talked. They knew Hudachek and they knew Powell from personal dealings. In the end, Powell's future was assured because of "chats over drinks at the officers' club, phone calls, the gossip mill, the old bulls sniffing the air and figuring out what (was) really happening . . ."

And it was these old-fashioned principles that propelled the daughter of segregated Birmingham, Alabama into the word's most powerful woman in August 2005, according to Forbes Magazine. While Condoleezza Rice was a brilliant student and gifted scholar of affairs in the Soviet Union, she might still be toiling away in Stanford classrooms were it not for her developing key relationships with powerful patrons. Back in 1984, Brent Scowcroft, then head of President Ronald Reagan's Commission on Strategic Forces, gave a talk on arms control at a Stanford faculty seminar. At the dinner that evening, junior faculty member Rice challenged Scowcroft on conventional wisdom. Scowcroft was favorably impressed by her self-confidence. He made a mental note to keep in touch with Rice.

Scowcroft began grooming Rice for a position in government by arranging for her to be invited to seminars and conferences and to meet people. When Scowcroft became National Security Advisor in 1989, he appointed Rice to the National Security Council as its chief authority on the Soviet Union. During her two years on the National Security Council, she became personally close to President and Mrs. George Herbert Walker Bush. The relationship was so meaningful that the Bush family invited Rice upstairs into the White House family quarters to say good-bye before Rice returned to Stanford in 1991.

Rice continued to hone her relationships with powerful mentors upon her return to Stanford. While serving on the Presidential Search Committee, she so impressed the new President, Gerhard Casper, that Casper appointed Rice provost of the University. She was second in command and responsible for running a $2 billion budget. If Rice had isolated herself in her research and writing, these opportunities would not have come her way.

By 1998, former Secretary of State George Schultz had taken Rice under his wing. He arranged for an introduction between George W. Bush and Rice at a Hoover Institution meeting. Once again, Rice made a dynamic presentation and impressed the future President. Bush and Rice hit it off immediately. Bush appointed Rice to be the head of his team of foreign-policy advisers. And the rest of the story, as they say, is history.

Am I suggesting that the ascent of Rice, Powell, Lewis, Frazier, and others means the end of racism? No.

What I do suggest is that more attention should be given to the relationship gap between African-Americans and other Americans. How many Black Americans limit their contacts and connections to other blacks? What has been the effect of an explosion in minority-themed groups ranging from the National Bar Association to the National Medical Association, and other professional groups limited to blacks only? Can much of the income and wealth gap be attributable to a grown up version of the "black table" prevalent on white campuses? Much research needs to be done in this area.

Some may argue that unconscious racism cannot be overcome by positive thinking. Whites feel more comfortable with other whites, so blacks will be left out of informal networks that create opportunities. Look at the sad example of Mungin described in The Good Black. Mungin had a Harvard undergraduate and law degree and still was denied partnership at his law firm. The case became noteworthy because Mungin sued for race discrimination. A majority-black jury awarded Mungin $2.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages but the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the jury award. Mungin tried to fit in and not make waves. But a close examination of Mungin's experience suggests a naive faith in passive good work. If you are passive and expect opportunities to come your way, you will be disappointed. Mungin placed too much faith in his academic credentials. Having a Harvard degree means nothing after your first job. Relationships matter. Mungin came from an inner city, single-parent background where there was no one to teach him what Breaux taught Frazier. Quite honestly, Mungin needed to have someone set him straight about the way the world works. But that conversation never happened because Mungin did not have friends in high places.

Affirmative action may open doors but it will not make the powerful like you. You have got to compete and make a favorable impression.

And that is the problem when African-Americans recreate the "black table" and the Black Student Unions in their careers.

Closing the relationship gap will require three steps. First, African-Americans must embrace relationships with others in the workplace, particularly those who can serve as patrons and mentors. Second, these relationships must be outside the comfort zone of minority-themed groups. The country is only 12 percent black. Among the professional classes, the percentage is even less. Why limit your relationships to people who only see the world as you do? Careers are powered when people do the opposite of the expected. Who would have expected that a junior African-American female faculty member would bond with a senior white male Republican advisor? Finally, don't blame the game. Play the game. Learn the unofficial rules for success. And remember that you cannot control racism. What you can control is your reaction to racism. When you change your thoughts, you change your world.

Introversion is now a dead end for Black America.

One symptom of introversion is the reluctance to ask questions when you need to because of some imagined sense that one represents the race. Asking questions is imagined to be a sign of weakness, of perpetuating stereotypes of incompetence. But you don't represent the black race. No one represents 25 million black Americans. You do represent yourself. And you owe it to yourself, not the race, to do the best that you can in any context. Claude Steele touches upon this point in his stereotype vulnerability argument.

But it's about more than a feared dumb question. It's about inner thoughts triggered when one walks into a conference and there are no other blacks present. I attended a San Diego Writer's Conference recently. I had a great time. I made several contacts with big deal literary agents. I had such a great time that I spoke up and made my thoughts heard at every panel session. And why shouldn't I? I consider myself to be a well-integrated, well-educated attorney. I had begun writing in my spare time. I was excited about meeting other writers.

I knew no one at the conference beforehand.

As I entered the conference room, I looked for other black people in the sea of faces. I saw none. In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell has written about decisions that take place within a split second. I immediately wondered if others would be uncomfortable in my presence because they would see my race first and bring whatever prejudices or life experiences they might have to the table. If I had been White, I would not have had these inner thoughts. These inner thoughts are part of a collective personality shared by all Black Americans in unfamiliar white settings. Unless one is a celebrity or already known, there is that initial flash of introspection where one remembers that you are at the whims of whatever preconceptions others might have until one proves one self.

That introspection is central to Black American personality. One does not find the same introspection among Africans or West Indians in America. Only after repeated brushes with White and Black Americans does one see the introspection in mixed settings. Black Americans may pay homage to Africa but Africans in America are perceived as different.

How many Black Americans share their inner thoughts with others?

There is an advantage to being inner directed. Free from micro-aggressions and the whims of others, a rich inner life propelled the growth of a people. Inward intensity produced the masterpiece of Howard University, the epic story of the famed M Street (Dunbar) High School, the crusade of Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall, the vision of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the solace of the National Bar Association.

But the time for introversion has come and gone.

The personality of Black America will not change in our lifetime. Much time must pass before the ways of learned introspection can be undone and blacks can feel as comfortable in all white setting as they do in all black settings. Realizing that barriers are rooted in personality, in introspection, is an important first step for navigating an introverted people through an extroverted modern world. *

"There are in fact four very significant stumbling blocks in the way of grasping the truth, which hinder every man however learned, and scarcely allow anyone to win a clear title to wisdom, namely, the example of weak and unworthy authority, longstanding custom, the feeling of the ignorant crowd, and the hiding of our own ignorance while making a display of our apparent knowledge." --Roger Bacon

Friday, 23 October 2015 13:43

Samarra: The Long View

Samarra: The Long View

Peter Hegseth

A member of the New Jersey National Guard, 1st Lt. Peter Hegseth serves as the assistant civil affairs officer, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, known as the Iron Rakkasans, of the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq. He is serving in Samarra, the site of the Golden Dome that was shattered by an explosion on February 22nd. The explosion set off bitter sectarian strife. He wrote this email to his family and friends in early June, and it was subseqently published by He can be reached at or 1LT Peter Hegseth, HHC/3-187 IN, 3 BCT, 101st Airborne Division, FOB Brassfield-Mora, APO, AE 09393.

Greetings. I hope and pray that this message finds you all well. I think about you all often, looking forward to the next time I'll see everyone in Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, California and beyond. Ah, just thinking of our blessed country makes me smile. We are so fortunate, so blessed. Hard work, courage, and the hand of Providence have brought us peace and prosperity from sea to shining sea. Daily life in the States distorts our perspective, we get petty and particular; but from Iraq, America shines on the horizon, her flaws minimized by distance and her virtues magnified by comparison. Wise men built our country on timeless ideals and she still stands strong today. Now, more than a world away, Iraq must find her own "wise men"; men poised to the lead the country through the gathering storm.

Fortunately, we have found such a man in Samarra. His name is Asaad Ali Yasseen and he is the City Council President. Appointed by the local Sheiks and Imams of Samarra, Asaad has been a tireless advocate for the city. Faced with daily attacks (5 bodyguards killed and 2 children injured) and countless threats from al Qaeda in Iraq (including a new flyer today that calls for his death), Asaad continues the fight. He has moved his family to safety in Syria, while he and his two sons vow to rebuild Samarra. While he does have certain advantages--independently wealthy, belongs to the largest tribe in Samarra, lofty connections--they do not minimize the heroic nature of his quest to lead Samarra. He has also been an incredible ally to Coalition Forces, providing timely intelligence that has lead to the kill/capture of numerous known insurgents.

Keeping him alive has been a full-time job, especially doing so while maintaining our distance so as to keep him from being seen as a Coalition lackey. We've outfitted him with a bullet-proof Chevy Suburban and weapons for his out-gunned security detail, as well as personally hunting down his would-be assassins. We've made it our mission to be there when it matters most, and this commitment has yielded incredible dividends. He is working hard to hold elections in Samarra (which will put his own job on the line) as well as pushing for reconstruction and compensation funds for Samarra, holding the needs and desires of the people first. He has created (and funded) a city newspaper and the first edition (5,000 copies) came out three days ago. He is man of great courage and I count myself lucky to work with (for) him.

I've had the opportunity to work with Mr. Asaad on a daily basis, both over the phone and through numerous meetings every week. We had lunch with him today, a feast of lamb and fresh vegetables. In fact, about three weeks ago a reporter for the Wall Street Journal was imbedded with us, spending a week shadowing our Civil-Military Operations team and our interaction with Mr. Asaad. His article ran on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on May 20th. For the most part it was a fair article; Samarra is a war zone, there is no way around that. We wish Philip Shiskin had not been so forthcoming about the intelligence Asaad is giving us, but reporters will be reporters. I'll leave it up to you to surmise whom the "Military Officials" and "U.S. Officers" are in the article.

I've waited patiently to send this email because recently I've spent many nights sitting at my computer, mixed emotions brewing inside of me, poised to fire off an "Iraq is doomed" email. There is no doubt that the situation in Samarra and throughout Iraq is full of problems. Corruption is rampant, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are still under-manned and under-equipped, the insurgents continue to attack and sectarian violence brews beneath the surface (but not in 95 percent Sunni Samarra). In Samarra, the city still suffers from decrepit infrastructure, no judicial system (cowardly judges) and insufficient health facilities. And yesterday my patrol was two blocks away when an officer from the local police was gunned down in cold blood while leaving his mosque after evening prayers. Admittedly, there are more nights that I go to bed shaking my head horizontally than vertically. However, this is not the entire picture--and is a dangerously narrow one.

Rather, days like today--and many others that I distinctly remember--are better indicators of progress in Samarra. In a fury of activity today the leaders of Samarra took huge steps forward. The Mayor of Samarra met with the Police Chief and local gas station owners to develop a plan to end black market fuel. He also tasked many different city directorates to improve services with new incoming Iraqi funding. The City Council President met with the leaders of the Iraqi Army and MOI Commandos to seek consensus for security objectives in the city. Lastly--and probably most telling--in the former hot spot of Samarra, insurgents have failed to mount a single significant attack in the city for almost two weeks (yesterday's murder excluded). May not sound like much to the casual observer, but when placed in context it reveals incredible institutional progress. This place used to be an insurgent haven and Baathist cesspool. But after thirty years of tyrannical rule in which Saddam controlled absolutely everything--the leaders in Samarra are finally grasping the power of political, economic and social initiative. Entrepreneurialism and ambition were deadly attributes to possess under Saddam, but not so today.

After cutting through the sensationalized violence, the overall picture in Samarra and Iraq is getting better. The Samarran Police are conducting daily patrols in the city--not so four months ago. Last night they conducted a raid based on intelligence from local leaders, resulting in yet another capture of a High-Value Target. The Iraqi Army has conducted numerous dismounted patrols throughout the city, stopping to engage local citizens and give toys to children--not so four months ago. Tomorrow both the Mayor and City Council President are both heading to Tikrit (Provincial Capital) to engage the Governor and Provincial Council on funding for Samarra--not even conceivable four months ago. The City Council President just released a U.S. quality newspaper for the city that condemns the actions of insurgents and advocates rebuilding efforts and recruiting for Iraqi Security Forces--the previous paper was shut down due to insurgent influence. Lastly, our battalion has killed the "who's who" of insurgents in Samarra--something two previous units were unable to do. Progress is everywhere, it just gets lost in the daily frustrations of counterinsurgency.

I can say this without hesitation--things are getting better in Samarra. You wouldn't know it by driving through the city (or visiting for a week) because the place is still a dump. But the people in the city see the progress in the national and local government, as well as the local Police (hence yesterday's act of intimidation). And in a counterinsurgency fight, gaining the strategic sympathies of the people is fundamental to achieving victory. The people are coming around; the grip of fear is loosening. Insurgents are fleeing and people are coming out of survival mode; locals are once again willing to bid on projects, more roadside bombs are being reported than detonating on soldiers, and young men are signing up for the ISF in bunches. I only pray that we maintain the pace of progress. The lack of insurgent attacks has created a power void in the city--and men like Asaad Ali Yasseen are stepping up. When the history of this city is written, his name will stand atop the list of true "freedom fighters." As he has said to our team before, "we are the true mujahadeen (Holy Warriors) in Samarra."

Inevitably, that brings me to the topic of America's timeline in Iraq. The progress made in this country--and in Samarra--has not come without significant sacrifice in blood, sweat and treasure. But as I've said before, we must see this thing through. The battle for the future of Iraq (and stability in the Middle East) is messy, but we are progressing. Most of the country is relatively quiet, minus a few localized hot spots like Ramadi and sections of Baghdad. Most people go about their daily activities, striving for a better life. Institutions are growing and maturing and hope for the national government is growing. Most Sunnis I've spoken with have high hopes for the new (Shia) Prime Minister and his government, but you wouldn't gather any of this from the daily papers.

A recent quote from a former member of the White House emphasizes the necessary historical perspective:

One might hope our own [U.S.] democratic development--which included the Articles of Confederation and a "fiery trial" that cost more than 600,000 American lives--would remind critics that we must sometimes be patient with others. We are engaged in an enterprise of enormous importance: helping a traumatized Arab nation becomes stable, free and self-governing. Success isn't foreordained--and neither is failure. The process of democratic reform has begun, and now would be precisely the wrong time to lose our nerve and turn our back on the freedom agenda. It would be a geopolitical disaster and a moral calamity.

Regardless of pre-war opinions, we have a duty to finish what we've started. Have we brought daily violence to Iraq? Yes. Have we made costly strategic and tactical errors? Yes. But can we still "win" peace, stability and freedom for the men, women and children of Iraq? Yes. And for that reason, we must press on. We must keep going.

Above my little work area, I have one sign posted front and center. It reads "They want to believe . . ." and my time in Samarra has confirmed this maxim. The Iraqi people will never love us, nor will they overtly praise our efforts. However, despite the violence and our tragic missteps, the silent majority of Samarrans want to believe. They want to believe in the legend that is America. They want to believe that we can do anything. They want to believe that we came to rebuild their city and to rid their streets of "terrorists." Now, the pressure is on us to deliver. Now is not the time for a troop draw down, it is time to deliver. Bring the American GIs in by the boatloads; we have the insurgents on the ropes in Samarra and if our fair city is any indication of greater Iraq, then send even more troops so we can finish them off! Now is the time to prove our message of progress and hope, to fulfill the promises we have offered.

Admittedly, this is an optimistic perspective, but it is based in reality. I walk the streets of Samarra frequently and talk to her citizens every time. We've spent the past month executing an ongoing mission called Operation Broken Windows (named after the policing approach made famous by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in NYC). We saturate certain neighborhoods with basic projects--painting over graffiti, picking up trash, providing medical care and talking to locals. After getting over the initial unfamiliarity, the people are always happy to see us, with one man emphatically asking me "Where have you been!?" Due to the violence of the past two years, the large projects are slow in coming, but they will come; and in the meantime, showing immediate, tangible assistance is extremely important. The people are receptive, especially as we kill the insurgents, train the police and grow the government.

That said, could the situation in Samarra go south? Yes, in a heartbeat. If certain city leaders are killed, the ISF crumbles, or the insurgents are able to regain strength, all the progress we've made could be erased. Notice that all three of those scenarios are more likely with a drawback in U.S. troops. It is always easier to destroy than to build and the insurgents exploit this fact with cowardly attacks on infrastructure and innocents. At this juncture in Samarra, the worse case scenario would be if the problems of other areas in Iraq seeped into our city. The Shia militias remain a huge problem in other parts of the country and eventually something is going to give. Politics 101: Within its borders, a government must possess the exclusive right to the use of violence. Coalition Forces and Iraqi Security Forces are not yet "exclusive" and until we are, lawlessness will prevail. But we grow closer every day.

Once again, this group email has turned into a manifesto. But that's what happens when you try and jam three months worth of thoughts into one email. I apologize for my inability to keep up with personal correspondence--my inbox is littered with unanswered emails and this fact grates my soul. I will do everything possible to answer all emails; you all mean so much to me. I would love to hear the latest from everyone. Your love, prayers, hope and support sustain me each day. The Lord has been so good--I only pray that I can live worthy of His daily blessings.

On a personal level, things are going well. Meredith continues to be the most wonderful woman in the world. It is an honor to call myself her husband. She deserves the best in all things and I cannot wait to get home and finally be there for her. And while I find this job--killing al Qaeda insurgents, rebuilding war-torn streets and building local government from the ground up--extremely challenging and rewarding, I look forward to returning home in late summer. Meredith and I look forward to spending time with everyone soon, especially as we finally share a newlywed year together. Over the past two years I've missed so many precious moments--births, weddings, and funerals of very special people--but I plan on making up for lost time.

If I have inadvertently left anyone off this list, please let me know or feel free to forward it yourself. And feel free to pass this email to anyone--the more the word gets out the better. I wish I could stand on a rooftop and tell everyone the truth about Iraq (good and bad), but this list must suffice for now. When I get back, I hope to get the opportunity to share my experience in various forums and media. "Inshallah" (God willing).

With that I sign off. Please do not hesitate to say hello--I'd love to hear the latest. Enjoy the photos as well.

God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

Pete *

"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors." --Joseph Story

Friday, 23 October 2015 13:43

Independence Day

Independence Day

John A. Howard

John A. Howard is a Senior Fellow with The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society Rockford, Illinois.

After the bloodshed caused when the colonists tried to prevent the British soldiers from seizing their munitions stored in Lexington, the Continental Congress sensed that there would be a war of separation. It named George Washington as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.

The delegates to the Congress had the wisdom to recognize that in time of war the critical decisions they faced would have to be made in private. There were many factions in the Congress with conflicting views about the war and the leadership and the special causes of the various colonies. They knew that during the negotiations, if the different factions publicized their views on the issues and stirred up public passions against one side or the other, it would be virtually impossible to reach the necessary compromises for effective decisions. They, therefore, enacted a resolution of secrecy.

Resolved, That every member of this Congress considers himself under the ties of virtue, honor and love of his country, not to divulge, directly or indirectly any matter or thing agitated or debated in this Congress. . . . And that if any member should violate this agreement, he shall be expelled from this Congress, and deemed an enemy to the liberties of America.

No one violated the promise of secrecy. Protected by this shield of privacy, the Congress was able to devise and enact the Declaration of Independence. The signing of that document by the fifty-six delegates was one of the truly heroic acts of history. Their declaration was an act of treason against one of the most powerful and unforgiving nations of the world. It took place in a land already occupied by large numbers of highly trained and well-equipped British troops, against whom the colonies could only mount a force of partially trained volunteers from widely scattered colonies.

The signers who publicly acknowledged their role in declaring war on the Motherland put themselves in great jeopardy. They had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, which for them meant a pledge before God, in support of the Declaration. In his book, Greatness to Spare, T.R. Fehrenbach tells what happened to those men. What follows is drawn from his concluding summary of the book.

Nine signers died of wounds or hardships during the Revolutionary War.
Five were captured or imprisoned, in some cases with brutal treatment.
The wives, sons and daughters of others were killed, mistreated, persecuted or left penniless.
The houses of twelve signers were burned to the ground. Seventeen lost everything they owned.

Most were offered immunity, freedom, rewards, their property or their lives and release of loved ones to break their pledged word or to take the king's protection. Their fortunes were forfeit, but their honor was not. No signer defected or changed his stand throughout the darkest hours. Their honor, like the nation, remained intact.

Recent generations of Americans have not been introduced to the drama and the courage and the wisdom and the heroic sacrifices made by the men and women who breathed life into the American Republic. There is grandeur in this history that is cause for patriotic pride and thanksgiving on Independence Day. *

"Patriotism is not chic in the circles of those who assume the role of citizens of the world, whether they are discussing immigration or giving aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime." --Thomas Sowell

Friday, 23 October 2015 13:43

Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir:

As a recent subscriber to your magazine I have been tempted by several articles to respond but the article, The Cartoon Jihad, (April 2006) almost compels action.

The spirit of the present widespread, growing and terribly destructive libertine movement that has always had claws clutching the human soul is present in the piece sans often-used disguises and obfuscations. The Beenfeldt-Ghate article states;

"Well, is freedom of speech absolute?"


I respond, absolutely not. In the year 1800, as I recall, a conviction was upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in which a man was charged with undermining the public morals by inviting passers-by (and charging them a coin) into his house to view a lewd painting. At that early date in American national life the U.S. Supreme Court did not yet interfere with the states in such matters and would have upheld the conviction if they did.

The Bill of Rights, as it was understood and ratified by the founding generation--history informs us--did not protect manifest immorality. Certainly immorality happened but it was not deemed legitimate by society and could generally be prosecuted. Those standards of America's past are so little known among today's people that they might seem shocking to some and some others who never tire of trying to present us with a false history of America.

Hollering "fire" in a crowded theater is the old example of unprotected speech; it alone invalidates the Beenfeldt-Ghate "Absolutely." Amazingly, the U.S. Congress, Executive and Supreme Court have recently taken the fascist (and every tyrant's) view of political speech, that it can be outlawed. If some nonpolitical (by incorporation) organization buys time on TV or radio and tells the audience to vote or not vote for a political candidate in a certain time frame they can be charged with a crime. From the standpoints of American heritage, morality and a free society, the above legislation and the U.S. Supreme Court upholding of it were the crimes. Everyone who put their hands to it should be out of office.

The only leverage the federal government should have in such cases is against the broadcaster's license. To have use of the public airways in an organized and sustainable way there must be licensing. Political speech cannot be legitimately criminalized.

When a broadcaster pushes pornography on the public he then should lose his license as well as being charged with a crime and the producers of the porn should be charged also--as was the case 206 years ago.

The Cartoon Jihad authors state, in the case of Muslims insulted by the offending cartoons, "their anger is irrelevant." The nature of such a statement indicates the highest form of a sort of squalid elitism possessed by those who would have absolute freedom for themselves but total servitude by others to their ideas. This is the spirit and soul of the libertine.

There are criminals who use Islam to cover and recruit. That segment of the Middle Eastern world has been around for a long time. The Washington administration fought it by sending gunboats to the Barbary Coast to deal with pirates who covered themselves with the same perversion of that faith the terrorists of today do. The exact same lines used today by the bin Laden group were used by the Barbary pirates two-and-a-quarter centuries ago. In fact, the misuse of Islam is about as old as Islam. Many criminals over the past two millennia have called themselves Christians. Those who have read the Bible know the difference. Our Founding Fathers, almost to a man were well versed in the Bible. They could not have made their great leap forward with freedom otherwise.

The terrible cancers that are doing such damage to the work of that truly "Greatest Generation" are the tools of the foul spirits of fascism and the libertine working in tandem to tear apart the morality that forms the bedrock for freedom to rest upon. Licentiousness and fascism, though they seem at first glance to be incompatible, are natural, if not universal, allies as they were in Hitler's Germany. The libertine wants to be completely unrestrained and the ultimate lack of restraint is to feel free to commit genocide. True, one class of licentious individuals became victims of Hitler but only when it became expedient to him. He used some people who gorged their lust with homosexual activity as his lieutenants and foot soldiers until he no longer had a need of them. They would have done the same with him if they had gained the ascendancy. They had started the planning when Hitler had them murdered.

Finally, to the libertine he only can say who may be considered part of "civilized society" (the fascist feels this is his own right) and strangely, The St. Croix Review editor who picks quotes for the end of articles seems to endorse this one by using the famous Edmund Burke quote about good men and evil.

--Justin Ingalls

Editor Responds

Hello Mr. Ingalls,

You make good points in your article, and I don't wish to contest them.

But I think it is an open question as to whether the Islamists are "criminals" or are true representatives of Islam. Islam was spread by the sword. The West has had its reformation and enlightenment and age of reason, but Islam has not. Their societies usually take the form of religious dictatorship.

In the Islamist view we may not criticize Mohammed, and if we do, they have the right to kill us.

They have the duty to kill us anyway, simply because we are infidels. How many of them believe this I don't know, but I suspect the number is in the millions.

The West should not be made to live under Islamic law. The West should not knuckle under to Islamist pressure. We have the right to condemn barbarity done in the name of Islam, and we should. These are the main points, points you do not address.

--Barry MacDonald

Friday, 23 October 2015 13:43

The Growth of George Washington--Editorial

The Growth of George Washington--Editorial

Angus MacDonald

William H. Wilber wrote a small book in 1970, The Making of George Washington, republished in 2005 by Patriotic Education, 501 W. 23rd St., Baltimore, MD 21211. The book has three parts: a complete list of the rules of civility young George copied, a short statement of the main achievements of our first president, and a presentation of the education of President Washington as a boy and young man. The latter is the main emphasis.

The world of the 18th century was vastly different from our world. We live in cities and are dominated by cities even if we live in small towns. Our emphasis is on manufactures and the making of money. The making of money was important to our early settlers, and George Washington became one of the wealthiest men of early Virginia, but this was a rare achievement. Settlers lived in families separated from each other. People may have met at a local church, at a county seat, or on the village green where one could hear shouts from local wrestlers. Stray peddlers may have come once in a while from the north, or trappers from the mountains, using roads that were little more than woodland paths. Virginians lived at home in the midst of forests, welcoming strangers as they might have welcomed angels, and they showed their guests rich hospitality. The only professional people were the clergy, who also tilled the land, and an occasional lawyer.

With the exception of Franklin, most of the pre-eminent men at the founding of our country had a better formal education than Washington, but all acknowledged him as the most important man of the country, and so did the leaders of Europe. Without Washington the United States might never have been.

Washington's education was provided to him by his father and his two half-brothers. The father and his two sons by his first wife attended Appleby Grammar School in England, which we may suppose was a fine school in the European traditions of the time. The standard of Appleby Grammar School was the standard by which George was taught.

When he was about eleven years old, young George kept notebooks of his studies. Penmanship was emphasized and his work has been preserved. Geometry was studied with many references to Euclid. He had a talent for arithmetic, and went on to surveying, geography, and astronomy. He studied by himself mostly, with oversight provided by his father and two half brothers. He had many, including helping his mother run the farm after the death of his father. His farm duties demanded the skills of a blacksmith, carpenter, and veterinarian. Work on the farm began at 4:00 a.m.

When he was fourteen George spent two shillings and sixpence for a small book devoted to the memory of the Duke of Schomberg, and the cost was considerable for him. The Duke was a successful military commander whose soldiers were bold and had confidence in his ability. When George was around sixteen he bought The Travels of Cyrus, an account of the fables that Cyrus' mother used to influence her son. Corruption almost undermined a kingdom in the fables, but it was saved by a wise king who had sound judgment. The Athenaeum Library in Boston has Washington's copy of this book.

Colonel Fairfax was a neighbor of the young George Washington, and an influence on his education. He had the best education an Englishman of the time could have, and had served for many years in the British military. Most importantly, he had a good library. With the influence of Colonel Fairfax added to the instructions of his brothers, plus the library of Colonel Fairfax, young Washington was given an understanding of Roman history. He learned that the Romans, two thousand years before his time, had developed what we know as the fundamental tenets of English law. He read Plutarch's Lives, Cicero, Seneca, Caesar, and Virgil. In 1752, when he was 19, George bought Smollett's novel, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, which pictured the morals and manners of England. The book made George appreciate more his life in Virginia.

It was normal for George to read the Bible. He memorized the Ten Commandments. His father told him to obey his conscience:

Labor to keep alive in thy breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience; for conscience to an evil man is a never-dying worm. But unto a good man, it is a perpetual feast.

His father described life in London where houses were packed closely, with no trees. Dishonesty was everywhere so that houses had to be locked at night, and the streets had a heavy sprinkling of well-fed loafers who lived by preying on unsuspecting visitors. The necessity of integrity was drilled into young George, with patience, application, and a pursuit of excellence.

George was good at arithmetic and knew how to live off the land, when he had to, so he was able to be a surveyor. Most of the small farmers could not read or write, or even sign their names, so they needed an honest surveyor to give them a genuine title for their land. When he was fifteen years old, George earned two pounds and three shillings for surveying four adjacent plots of land. This was hard money, rather than tobacco certificates, so George became an unofficial banker for friends and his family as his income grew. He supported his mother and gave loans to his brothers and kept accurate accounts for them. We still have his account books. October 16, 1750, when he was eighteen, he bought 453 acres; on October 20, he bought an additional 550; December 4, 450 more acres; March 16, 1752, another 552 acres.

George had a large cash income by the time he was twenty and was a landowner of significance. He was also a Major and Adjutant of the Virginia Militia. He had to make a choice between life on the plantation and life on the frontier. He chose the latter.

In the fall of 1753, when he was twenty-one, he set out on a thousand-mile journey through the wilderness to deliver a note to the commander of the French forces, stating that the country belonged to the British, and the French had to leave. The journey was taken in winter, amidst snow and rain, ice in the streams, with temperatures well below freezing, through Indian country where the natives were hostile and favored the French. On the return, they had to travel 130 miles by canoe. Many times, "they were obliged to get out and remain in the water half an hour or more." Horses were of no use, so they walked. On their safe return, the Governor eulogized the trip because he wanted to arouse the colonies to French encroachment. George Washington was looked on with favor through all the colonies.

When he was twenty-two, he was placed in command of a military force to evict French and Indian forces who were threatening the Virginia frontier. The effort was a failure. He also failed as an aid to General Braddock with the British forces. His only redeeming quality was his courage, thinking himself immune to death, as he collected four bullet wounds in his hat and coat and had two horses killed under him.

His courage and judgment helped salvage the remnant of a beaten force.

At the age of twenty-three he was Commander in Chief of the Frontier forces of Virginia. For three tempestuous years he fought daily with the colonial government to obtain food for his men, uniforms, transport, and funds to pay his men. It was an introduction to what he would have to do later in the war of revolution, and an education showing him the need of a responsible central government. His officers, who were all older than he was, wrote,

In you we place the most implicit confidence. Your presence is all that is needed to cause a steady firmness and vigor to actuate in every breast, despising the greatest dangers, and thinking light of toils and hardships.

The years from twenty to twenty-six preview the behavior of George Washington in the later struggle of the revolutionary war. He had shown an ability to lead. He learnt from many mistakes. He was bold. Above all, he could be trusted. Among the leading men at the constitutional convention and the early years of the republic, he was the outstanding leader in spite of the brilliance of Hamilton, the learning of Madison and Adams, and the ambition of Jefferson.

Washington wanted a strong central government because there could be no nation without one. Hamilton distrusted the people and democracy and would have preferred some form of monarchy. Jefferson was enthused by the French Revolution and distrusted a central government, opposed Washington within his cabinet, and was successful in destroying the Federalists, the party of Washington. Jefferson changed the name of his party from "Republican" to "Democrat," which described accurately his beliefs at that time. Washington stood apart and above the early tensions. He wanted a central government with limited powers so we could be a nation and guarantee the freedom for which we had fought. There had to be something that united the states, by force if need be. He rejected the notion of Jefferson that a sovereign nation violated the purpose of the war of independence.

Washington presided over the discussions of the Constitution and the first eight years of the new country. He was responsible for both. Thirty of the fifty-five delegates to the Constitutional Convention had been officers under Washington's command and described Washington. He was patient with impatience, treating all with respect, delegates from both large and small states. Delegates from the small states had solid faith in Washington's judgment and impartiality.

The delegates to the Convention probably did not fully appreciate that they were discussing a solution that was unique among governments. It was a solution that protects minorities and prevents big powerful states or groups from riding roughshod over their less powerful, or less numerous brethren. We should recognize that it goes squarely against the basic tenet of democracy, the rule by the majority.

In our time, politicians and judges misinterpret and dismiss the U.S. Constitution, thinking it was written for another day. No, it is a statement of principle that is applicable to all ages. Those who criticize our constitution desire a different form of government, one with unlimited central economic and moral powers, the same powers as the dreadful dictatorships of the 20th century and of the new century. They are interested in the destruction of our way of life. Present critics of the Constitution neglect the balance Washington sought. When the U.S. Constitution appeared, James Monroe wrote to Jefferson, "Be assured General Washington's influence carried this government." Prime Minister of England, William E. Gladstone, said the U.S. Constitution is "the greatest work of its kind ever turned out by the mind and purpose of man." *

"Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." --George Washington

Monday, 14 July 2014 14:38

Singing Stones

Jesus turned toward Jerusalem. On the way, He told His disciples He would be taken captive and handed to the Roman government for trial. They knew Him well and were devoted to Him, but what happened to the leader could well be the fate of His followers. That He admitted He would be captured seemed a confession of defeat. His disciples were afraid, and they wished themselves elsewhere.

The reason Jesus decided to make a triumphal entry into Jerusalem was because of His impending capture. He believed in His mission, and His disciples believed in Him: that He was God’s appointed messiah. He would give His disciples something to remember in the lonely days that lay ahead, something dramatic which they could look back on, and on which they could feast their minds with remembrance. He would make a public declaration of His messiahship, ride into the holy city as God’s Chosen One, in the traditional fashion, and He would allow the people to acclaim Him. He would give His disciples one bold moment to infuse courage into their fears.

If we were to follow the same route as Jesus, we would take the turn of the path around the hill, and great Mosque towers would suddenly rise before us; beside the towers would be the vast enclosures of the Musselman sanctuary; beyond this imposing center the city would stretch out of sight. When Jesus took that turn, the magnificent, sprawling city lay before Him, as magnificent in the first century as today. The temple was in the center, surrounded by gardens, and beyond, as far as the eye could see, were the homes of the people. The valley of Kedron met the valley of Hinnon, and Jerusalem rose from the abyss.

Jesus rode beyond the turn of the road, and the great metropolis lay before Him, the city He had loved and which was so full of history, sin, and glory. He wept. “If thou hadst known,” He said, “even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace! But they are hid from thine eyes.” Jesus entered the city with triumph, but He may not have made the stir we sometimes imagine. Though of significance for us, when one thinks of the size of the city and the number of the inhabitants, it was probably a thing done in a corner. Hundreds of men, many of them fanatics, only some of them worthy, every year claimed to be prophets. As the various disciples acclaimed their leaders, the crowd, with good humor, would join in the excitement. When Jesus entered and His disciples cried, “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!” — the people who were in a carnival mood would take up the cry until hundreds and perhaps thousands joined the procession; but their sentiment was of good humor rather than of agreement.

The meaning of the triumphal entry was greater to the disciples who worshipped their Lord and to the evangelist who told the story than to the casual wayfarer. To us who live a long time after the event and who know what Jesus has meant in our lives and what He has meant to our civilization for two thousand years, the triumphal entry means He truly was the son of God, the savior of the world sent to announce salvation. If it be true that it was only a single, bold moment, a flash of light in a sea of tragedy, a bright flame quickly snuffed, a beautiful, delicate growth soon to be crushed by the authorities, we believe that the flame which men put out may yet be the flame to which we must repair and that the announcement made that day was by the Son of God, a divine proclamation by One who may and must conquer the world.

I saw the Conquerors riding by With trampling feet of horse and men Empire on empire like the tide Flooded the world and ebbed again. A thousand banners caught the sun, And cities smoked along the plain, And laden down with silk and gold And heaped-up spillage groaned the wain. I saw the Conquerors riding by, Splashing through loathsome floods of war — The Crescent leaning o’er its hosts, And the barbaric scimitar — And continents of moving spears, And storms of arrows in the sky, And all the instruments sought out By cunning men that men may die! I saw the Conquerors riding by With cruel lips and faces wan: Musing on kingdoms sacked and burned There rode the Mongol Genghis Khan; And Alexander, like a god, Who sought to weld the world in one; And Caesar with his laurel wreath; And like a thing from Hell, the Hun; And leading, like a star, the van, Heedless of upstretched arm and groan, Inscrutable Napoleon went, Dreaming of empire, and alone. . . . Then all they perished from the earth As fleeing shadows from a glass, And, conquering down the centuries, Came Christ, the Swordless, on an ass! Harry Kemp The Conquerors

For all that the triumphal entry was done in a corner, Jesus did gain popularity, and this caused the displeasure of the religious leaders. “You are too popular,” they said. “Silence the crowd and return to oblivion.” “I tell you,” Jesus replied, “if these people are silent, the very stones would cry out.” This was an interesting figure of speech: the very stones would cry out. Why did He not say: “The trees will talk,” or “The ass will speak”? A tree has life, which a stone does not. An animal can move, which a stone does not. A stone lies inert. If it falls, it cannot move of itself but must first be moved by something outside of itself. Though it is true there is a romance to the history of stones and geologists tell us exciting stories about their age and composition, they perform a humble service. A stone is one of the least forms of matter. On the other hand, stones have sung — even as Jesus said they would.

We measure our civilization in no small part by the temples that are built of stone, and the greatest testaments of our culture are monuments erected in the name of Jesus. I wonder if we still build them. We build many churches. But do we want the cross of Christ to be higher than the tallest building? I wonder if the picture of a perfect city is that of a church, its spire pointing to the heavens, surrounded by neat cottages — or an ugly megalopolis. When a young man in Melbourne, Australia, I recall one of the elders of our brotherhood standing in a public meeting to say “I want the cross of Christ on our church to stand higher than the roof of the Melbourne Hospital.” He was not speaking of literal height, as the Melbourne Hospital was many stories high, but he was using a rhetorical expression to indicate what he believed to be most important. If our song is not of Him, time will ensure that there will be no song.

The Scriptures speak of God Himself as a stone. “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge.” Jesus referred to Himself as a stone: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall.” When the apostle Peter, whose name means a stone, called Jesus the living stone of our faith, he said that the followers of Jesus were also to be living stones: “Come to him, that living stone, rejected by men, but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones by yourself built into a spiritual house.”

In the year 1827, in a small fishing village of Japan, a little waif was born whose name was Manjiro. One of his greatest loves, as he grew into a teen-age boy, was to go fishing; but one day his boat was blown out to sea and he was stranded for six months on a deserted island. He became emaciated. Sailors from an American whaling boat eventually found him and took him home with them to New London, Connecticut. Wanting to make his living in the same way as his guardians, young Manjiro studied mathematics, astronomy, and navigation. The years passed slowly, but a great day came when he had his own ship. He returned to the waters where he was found many years earlier, and he went beyond those waters into the harbors of Japan — at the peril of his life. Japan was isolated from the world, and chance callers were often killed. But Manjiro felt a mission to be a singing stone to tell his people of a good world beyond their shores of which they need not be afraid. Largely due to Manjiro, the doors of Japan were opened. He could have lived in America. He need not have endangered his life by entering the Japanese port. He could have lain inert, doing nothing, content with making a living. He became a singing stone.

The apostle Peter was a rock who learned to sing, but it took time. He was an uncouth fisherman when Jesus called him. Loud of talk and big of heart, he seemed to change in the presence of the Lord; but his change was more apparent than real. His behavior was from the inspiration and the guidance of the Master rather than from inward character. He failed at the first temptation. When the crisis came and Jesus was captured, Peter denied his Lord. In the third denial, his vehemence was so strong and his language so crude and vulgar that even the soldiers were shocked. He was not yet a singing stone but one of those inert pebbles that are bounced by the current, incapable of inward direction.

But the life of Peter did not end with denial, and he became a singing stone. He saw Jesus after the crucifixion. For each time Peter had denied Him, Jesus gave three pledges of love. Three times Jesus asked him “Simon Peter, lovest thou me. . . . Lovest thou me. . . . Lovest thou me?” Three times came the answer: “Feed my lambs. . . . Feed my sheep. . . . Feed my sheep.” Peter’s heart was broken, and because of the admittance of shame, he became the rock of history. The sinner became the saint, the saint became the witness: a pillar of strength to the brethren and the apostle of the ages.

Something like this is meant by Palm Sunday and the statement of Jesus: “Silence these people and the very stones will cry out.” We are to be singing stones.


By Barry MacDonald 

My dad, Angus MacDonald, founder of The St. Croix Review 45 years ago, died on December 4th. He was 88 years old and had lived an energetic and purposeful life. He was an Australian immigrant who loved America because after WW II America was large, and there was freedom here. America offered him the education he hungered for.

Most of us don't write an autobiography, and readers of The St. Croix Review are lucky that Angus did (A Straight Line) because his story not only sketches his extraordinary character but also reflects America, the wide-open nation where a person of ambition and courage could claim a bright future through hard work. America after WW II and the Great Depression did offer unlimited potential, and Angus traveled far down a career path, being a minister in a Congregational Church, but eventually, his youthful idealism encountered bitter opposition in the form of bureaucratic power structures. He became discouraged with the ministry after 25 years and left the church to found The St. Croix Review, which he made the focus of his life's work.

Angus was "honest as the day" (one of his habitual phrases), he searched for a religious faith that was intellectually honest (a life-long pursuit), and he was a rebel against the ignorant and dishonest, power-driven lust for control that he found first in a labor union in Australia, in church hierarchies, and finally in the burgeoning multitudes of politicians at all levels who are willing to say and do anything so that they could wield power.

Dad was fiercely independent, and he hated dishonesty in powerful people; it became his life's work to fight back, as he saw how government control stunts and ruins peoples' lives. Under cover of rhetoric about uplifting and educating the poor he saw clearly how the politician's main interest is in reelection, and the acquisition and maintenance of authority - any good politicians do is accidental, a happy coincidence.

It is ironic that my dad was a much better rebel than any of the 1960s hippies whom he opposed; the hippies who fought "the establishment" are now clamoring for government healthcare and pensions. Today the wrinkled hippies are yearning to be wards of the state. My dad never stopped fighting - when he read articles on politics at his desk up to the end of his life he scowled at the arrogance and foolishness of politicians.

Angus got a good portion of his moral fiber from his father. Angus was born on November 24, 1923, in Melbourne, Australia, to Herbert George and Dorothy May MacDonald. He was the youngest of three children. Angus' father began work at age 14 in a piano factory. In his early 20s Herbert courted Dorothy by riding into town on a draft horse; they married at age 23. Herbert worked on the family farm for a time but left home because his father, Duncan, took all his money. Herbert opened a fruit and greengrocer's shop, getting up between 2 and 3 a.m. and working all day, but he tired of the hours.

Herbert bought a truck and went into the trucking business - his new venture coincided with the onset of the Great Depression, and everyone in Australia was hard hit. The drivers would line up "one behind the other" in the hopes of finding work. After years of effort the business grew and Herbert could buy additional trucks. Angus, in his autobiography, A Straight Line, writes of his father:

 He bought the chassis and engine, and that was all. Cabs were silly, he thought. When you made a delivery, you had to climb out of the cab, walk to the back, and climb onto the tray to get your merchandise. The sensible thing was to build an open van and walk from the driver's seat into the back seat. He never liked those crude bodies with square fronts, so he curved his from the top of the body down to the windshield. His were the only ones of their kind in the city of Melbourne. 

The business Herbert started in Australia during the depression is ongoing, with Herbert's grandchildren continuing a prospering operation. Angus' brother Donald continued the business after Herbert; Angus chose not to be a trucker.

The MacDonald family was poor during the depression though they did not know it, as everyone was poor. They had no butter, ham, chicken, turkey, or corn (corn was pig's food). Angus' first bicycle was held together by hose clamps. One of the games Angus played was "cherry bobs" - they dug a hole and flipped cherry stones in. Angus was a reckless, boisterous lad, breaking his arm one day, breaking his nose another, and skinning his nose later. He must have drawn attention to himself, as his English teacher asked him to behave, saying "Angus, if you misbehave so will the whole class." She set him up front, prompting him to be a good example - it worked! Although outside English class Angus apparently needed additional attention. The principal set him the task of writing the school slogan "hundreds, perhaps even a few thousand times": "If all the school were just like me, what kind of school would this school be?" Angus had to walk between three to four miles to school. Despite having epilepsy as a child he did develop into a very good long-distance runner, becoming a top runner of his school and club.

After graduating from high school Angus worked in factories. At the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation his first job was to hand out requisition numbers to workers for spare parts. Not far into the first morning he was visited by a union representative who told him he made the job look too easy. He was told to slow down; this was his first brush with union methodology. Angus quit on the spot and was transferred to the mailroom, later to the engine factory, and then to labor costing of aircraft frames - he was placed in charge of the department. But his heart wasn't into factory work.

His heart was in the church that

 . . . has been a large part of my life from as early as I can remember, and I was a simple little boy who accepted the ideals that were presented to us. For some reason or another, I was called "the little minister" when I was only eight years old. . . . The church and its fellowship gave us what intellectual stimulation we received. The school gave us learning but not idealism and inspiration. I was asked to give a sermon when I was about eleven and was comfortable doing so. . . . I did have the ability to bring separate things together. I guess I was always preachy and always an arguer, and I suppose I was always conservative, not in ideology but in temperament. 

Leaving factories behind he enrolled in the College of the Bible to become a clergyman, a decision that angered his father:

 No one in the world was more honest than my father, but he would never go to church because he did not believe the nonsense handed out. He did not approve of my becoming one of that "starving bunch of hypocrites." 

The respect Angus had for his father gave bite to his father's words, "starving bunch of hypocrites," that compelled Angus to seek solid substance for his faith, to seek intellectual respectability. Angus was not to be satisfied with rote theology.

The College of the Bible was small by America's standards with fifty students and three or four faculty. But the studies were worthy: church history, ancient history, Greek, New Testament, Old Testament, comparative religion, pastoral theology (how to behave with your congregation), and the art of preaching. Angus acquired a thirst for learning. He had to be convinced that a position or an argument was true. In New Testament class he asked Mr. Pittman why "we" had to believe Christ rose from the dead:

 Little Mr. Pittman went red in the face and said, St. Paul hath said, "If Christ did not rise from the dead, then our faith is in vain." That did not impress me as a valid reply. I wasn't asking for a quotation but a reason for belief in immortality. Later on, in "secular studies," I found some answers one could legitimately accept. Mr. Pittman was so upset by my question that, in other classes, he lost his temper about some of the young students who did not believe the faith. 

Angus was given a student pastorate at Kyneton Church of Christ sixty miles out of Melbourne that could hold sixty people. There were two services every Sunday, and Sunday school in the afternoon. Judging by my knowledge of his views, and the numbers of words devoted to her in A Straight Line, my dad was more deeply inspired in his faith by the organist of the tiny church than by his theology teachers:

 Jessie Goudie was our organist, a single woman probably in her late fifties, tall, thin, her long grey hair tied in a bun at the back of her head; she sang with a loud voice to accompany her playing. She was great on the "steps of salvation," and she sang loud and clear with the hope that some sinner might hear and be saved. The steps of salvation were hearing the word of God, repenting of your sins, confessing them, being baptized, and rising to walk in the newness of life. We smile improperly at the mechanical simplicity because what Miss Goudie believed and was conventional belief in our churches was as sound as anything could be - and the mechanical simplicity was of help to those in trouble. 

Upon graduation from the College of the Bible a kind principal, E. Lyall Williams, wished him well and said: "You believe in Jesus of Nazareth don't you? See how far you can go from there."

On May 12, 1946, Angus boarded the S.S. Marine Lynx, the first civilian crossing from Australia to the U.S. after WW II. He came to America for an advanced education. There were no comforts on the ship and the passengers amused themselves by giving lectures to each other. Angus talked for forty-five minutes on the need of religion for a philosophical basis.

Angus spent a couple years at Butler University, Indianapolis, to adjust his Australian degree to U.S. standards. He paid his own way by loading apples in a store, working at Butler's kitchen, and as an assistant pastor. His sparse meals were capped by suppers of "a small container of milk and half a packet of raisins" - he ate in the cemetery as it was "delightful in warm weather."

Angus had a choice: he could take a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion at Chicago Theological Seminary, or he could go for a Ph.D. in philosophy at Columbia University in New York - he chose Columbia and philosophy. Years later he encountered a professor from Chicago Theological Seminary who spent several hours trying to convince him that religion had nothing to do with behavior or morality.

Angus' description of his professors and his courses at Columbia, and of his time as a pastor in various churches in the area are the most lovingly told sections of A Straight Line. He began a life-long love of music. He sang in choir while at Butler, and in New York he came across first-rate musicians and composers. At this stage he learned to play the piano, a habit he was to exercise until the last years of his life. I have memories of him playing Shubert, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, etc. for an hour after lunch everyday while I was working for The St. Croix Review twenty years ago. He also took up golf during this period; in Stillwater, across the street and up a hill from his home and office is Stillwater Country Club, where he played golf many afternoons for four decades.

At Columbia he studied the history of political philosophy, post-Aristotelian philosophy to Plotinus, the history of British empiricism, nineteenth century idealism, modern philosophy, the philosophy of St. Thomas, etc.

Here is my dad at his height of enthusiasm:

 Ernest Nagel amused me. He taught mathematical logic and argued that logic was deductive. To prove the point he wrote theorems on the board and deduced marvelous conclusions. I visited him in his office and claimed that the deductions were from dogmatically asserted inductions and that made his basic argument false. Logic was just as much induction as deduction. That was obvious as the nose on one's face, it seemed to me then and seems to me now, but he wouldn't admit it. 

Here is my dad at his most idealistic:

 It dawned on me after a while that these learned men to a man . . . knew the history of intellectual thought as well as the palms of their hands, and had long since come to their particular, and various, points of view. There was no reason having an argument about anything, and besides, at their level of sophistication, the only way argument could be advanced was through the printed word. They met, not to disagree, but to explore with sympathy even the most absurd kind of human behavior. This was a lesson in tolerance I hope never to forget. 

Angus relates that Columbia professors of this time never taught using their own books, and never shared what their own beliefs were, the focus always being on what a historically prominent intellectual, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, believed. Angus never knew what his professors themselves believed! The contrast with today's completely politicized universities could not be starker.

Angus first met opposition as an assistant in the Methodist church. A pastor he knew applied to the bishop for permission to go to a conference on alcoholism - permission denied.

 I began the quarrel with authority that was to be a mark of my life. . . . I was beginning to learn that, in a controlled church, or any other controlled organization, one does what he is told rather than what he believes. 

There were annual meetings of the Methodist conference in New York; attendance was "compulsory - among grown men." He heard stories about disobedient pastors who were sent to pastorates that paid a pittance. He knew servile pastors. Once he was told to give a sermon prepared by the central office; it was decided that all the clergymen would present the same sermon. He refused, and his disobedience was noticed. Angus' mother and father visited from Australia and he needed an extra week off. The district superintendent had waited some time to retaliate. He said: "We had a man like you in Long Island. . . . We took care of him and we'll take care of you."

The next day Angus went to New York to inquire about becoming a Congregational minister. There were no canned sermons in the Congregational Church; attendance at conferences was not compulsory. Angus could be a "lone wolf," and he could work out his faith as best he could. In the Congregational Church there were no politics and no fear of where the bishop might send him, or so it seemed at the time.

Upon the completion of his studies he became an assistant pastor at two different churches in Toledo, Ohio. These were happy years, during which he got married to his lovely wife Rema, to whom he would remain married for fifty-five years, having three children: Barry, Gregor, and Beth. Angus enjoyed starting single's groups and taking part in the choir.

It was during his time in Ohio that Angus encountered jealousy from a more senior minster, but a far more troublesome development began in the Congregational Church: there was a movement to merge Congregational churches with the Evangelical and Reformed Church to form the United Church of Christ. The move was an attempt to create the same type of power-driven hierarchy as the Methodist Church. Angus took part in a suit against the merger. The resulting conflict began years of stress. Writing of a national meeting Angus wrote:

 Those who tried to speak were hooted at with sneering comments made about them. It came to the place where I could not associate with ministers of the opposing point of view because the animosity and characterization of us as radicals was so violent that I became ill. 

There was also a drive among church hierarchy to make politics a prominent feature of church doctrine:

 The Christian faith had long since been forgot, for the interest of the day was in politics, where it remains. I had no objection to social action, for I agreed that the church without applications to social life was incomplete, but I was not a left-wing radical as they were, arguing for socialism, pacifism, bringing down of governments, taking side in issues that could be variously interpreted. . . . My objection was their demand that the denomination speak with one voice rather than the voices of thousands of churches that were not of the same mind. I was for liberty; they were for totalitarianism. 

Angus lost faith not only in Church "officials," who wanted power, but also in the majority of the clergy. Leaving Ohio he took pastorates in Hutchinson, Kansas, and lastly in Bayport, Minnesota. The sermons he has left us are of high intellectual caliber. They mix history, philosophy, economics, ethics, and bedrock Christian values. They are timeless and well worth republishing from time to time, as I will do.

Angus decided to leave the church, and 45 years ago he founded theSt. Croix Review. William Rickenbacker, who was a regular author for The National Review, wrote an introductory ad in National Review in 1967 that got Angus off on the right foot. The first issue was published on January 3, 1968, with 500 some subscribers. Angus' aim was to publish the most intelligent and better-educated people in the United States:

 I never ask their sex or race or religion or background. If they say something sensible and simple that is constructive I shall publish them. 

Angus made friends with some of the leading conservative thinkers of the time through his membership in the Philadelphia Society, and they became his authors. These writers include William Rickenbacker, Russell Kirk, Yale Brozen, and Milton Friedman.

Angus was recklessly courageous and blissfully ignorant of the task ahead of him in the difficulty of publishing a journal, national in scope, from the Midwest. How does one earn prominence with a small budget? (Still a problem today.) Survival is an astounding accomplishment. There were no computers in 1968. Subscriptions were managed on index cards, sorted and tracked in monthly files. Each label on each billing card individually typed - imagine the time consumed with menial tasks.

Characteristically bold, Angus decided that he would cut costs by printing the Review himself, so he bought a printing press, even though he knew not the first thing about printing. Angus printed the next issue - another astounding accomplishment. Up to fifteen years ago my father and I continued to print the Review ourselves taking three weeks in the process. Looking back I don't know how we did it, and I cannot imagine those early days with the operation run through index cards. (How were the typesetting, proof reading, and editing squeezed in?) I know now that printing is a craft best learned within the company of more experienced printers, and without knowing experience the novice is often left befuddled - and my dad and I often were. Thankfully now we leave most of our printing to Mike Swisher (who wrote the following essay) and Bayport Printing.

I remember when I was 14 my dad coming upstairs to show me some printing he had done, proudly saying: "No one can do better than that!"

Then there was the time in the 1970s that the IRS tried to put us out of business by taking away our nonprofit status. A powerful person who has remained anonymous made a complaint against us. Minnesota State Governor Al Quie came to our defense and, as best I remember, the Heritage Foundation came to our aid by finding us legal aid.

Angus MacDonald embodied the best American ideal: the rugged individual of strong faith. What he founded continues, into the third generation, with my daughter Jocelyn's pencil drawings adorning our covers.

The amount of influence my father had on America is beyond knowing. Walter Cronkite, as famous as he was, is unknown to our young generation. My father touched people who touched people, who touched people like ripples . . . as do we all. I am working in two rooms full of books, and in each book there are marking that my father left behind. *

We would like to thank the following people for their generous support of this journal (from 11/16/2011 to 1/13/2012): Mary Ellen Alt, Larry G. Anderson, The Andersen Foundation, George E. Andrews, William D. Andrews, William A. Barr, Margaret Barrett, Henry Bass, Alexis I. Dup Bayard, Bud & Carol Belz, Charles L. Blilie, Lind Boyles, Gary & Sue Bressler, Mary & Fred Budworth, Price B. Burgess, Terry Cahill, Dino Casali, John B. Charlton, Laurence Christenson, Thomas J. Ciotola, John D'Aloia, Peter R. De Marco, Francis P. Destefano, Jeanne L. Dipaola, Alive DiVittorio, Robert M. Ducey, Paul Warren Dynis, Ellen & Brian Feeney, Joseph C. Firey, Robert C. Gerken, Gary D. Gillespie, Richard P. Grossman, Judith E. Haglund, Robert L. Hale, Violet H. Hall, James E. Hartman, David L. & Mary L. Hauser, Paul J. Hauser. John H. Hearding, Bernhard Heersink, Quentin O. Heimerman, Norman D. Howard, Thomas E. Humphreys, David Ihle, James R. Johnson, Louise Hinrichsen Jones, Margaret Kelly, Joseph D. Kluchinsky, Gloria Knoblauch, Ralph Kramer, Robert M. Kubow, John S. Kundrat, Alan H. Lee, Don & Gayle Lobitz, Gregor MacDonald, Paul T. Manrodt, Thomas J. McGreevy, Karen McNeil, Roberta R. McQuade, Edwin Meese, Albert D. & Norma J. Miller, Donald J. Miske, Robert L. Morris, Richard S. Mulligan, Ray D. Nelson, Lester C. O'Quinn, King Odell, John A. Paller, Frank Palumbo, Frederick D. Pfau, Gary J. Pressley, Richard O. Ranheim, Seppo Rapo, David P. Renkert, Kathryn Hubbard Rominski, Joseph Schrandt, John A. Schulte, Irene L. Schultz, Harry Richard Schumache, Alvan I. Shane, Dave Smith, Elsbeth G. Smith, Thomas E. Snee, Thomas S. Steele, Frank T. Street, Susan & Ron Stow, Dennis J. Sullivan, Michael S. Swisher, W. G. Thompson, Paul B. Thompson, Elizabeth E. Torrance, Thomas Warth, Alan Rufus Waters, Donald E. Westling, Gaylord T. Willett, Robert F. Williams, Max L. Williamson, Lee Wishing, Piers Woodriff, W. Raymond Worman, Michiko Yoshizumi, David W. Ziedrich.

Monday, 14 July 2014 11:46

Mark Hendrickson

Mark HendricksonMark Hendrickson has the exceptional ability to make economics easy to understand. He explains why the workings of the free-market are successful, and why the interventions of government through regulation, taxes, and currency manipulation always fail.

The proper view of economics is vital to the conservative cause. If a nation is to prosper there must be economic freedom and property rights. Mark Hendrickson brings unforgettable clarity to the need for sound economic principles.

He also writes movingly about his love of sports, American culture, American history, and his family.

Mark Hendrickson is Adjunct Professor of Economics at Grove City College, in Grove City, Pennsylvania. His latest book is Famous But Nameless: Lessons and Inspiration from the Bible's Anonymous Characters.

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