The Individual as Property

By Timothy Birdnow

In 2011 a woman named Sharrie Gavan beat a man with a baseball bat. Now, this is not all that unusual, as domestic disputes, home invasions, and overheated arguments sometimes end with an act of assault, but this particular case is different. In this instance the woman took a baseball bat to the drug pusher who was gleefully destroying her 20-year-old son with heroin. Mrs. Gavan was recently convicted of the assault and faces up to a year in prison.

This story seems destined to die a dull death, although there are locals in the St. Louis area who have cheered the actions of this woman. But when looked at in a larger context this story speaks volumes about the fundamental changes that have occurred in our culture and in our thinking.

What is the nature of the relationship between the citizen and the State? America was founded on principles found in the Bible and in the writings of 17th century philosophers such as John Locke.

John Locke pointed out in his First Treatise on Government:

Though the Earth… be common to all Men, yet every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself.

So, all men have first and foremost the right to own themselves.

This is of critical importance because it is this most fundamental principle that the modern Left and Right part company over. Liberals do not believe this basic assertion, preferring to believe that we as a collective own each other. This distinction is absolutely critical, because it informs our beliefs in terms of actions.

The English Philosophers Hobbes and Hume argued that property was a creation of the State, and were not held in high regard by the Founders of the United States. If property is a creation of the State, then one can argue that the State has sovereignty over the individual.

And of course later philosophers came to dismiss the view of self-ownership as illusory. Rousseau believed individuals enter voluntarily into a social contract which creates a “sovereign”, a sort of group entity, a collective. Rousseau was extraordinarily influential on later leftist thinking, as was Karl Marx who disdained the concept of personal sovereignty, as did Benito Mussolini. As in communism and fascism, the entire undercurrent of modern liberalism is anti-individualism. Even the Anarchists, though they may seem to be radical individualists, ultimately seek the collectivization of property as a means to grant themselves the individualism they seem to believe in — making them as statist as any other leftist branch. Without property rights one cannot have individual rights.

It is no surprise that the general degradation of property rights should coincide with the rise of statism and the devaluing of the individual. Either we own property — including ourselves – or we do not.

From such a belief system comes abortion; the right to life is subject to the granting of permission by the collective.

Gun control is another example; the Left hates guns because they empower the individual over the collective. A man with a gun does not need the protection of the State but can deal with violations of his rights by himself. The man with a gun can, if need be, do without the collective. This chafes at liberal sensibilities, as they are absolute in their determination to make us all not just our brother’s keeper but his master. There can be no right to self-defense in a world where one does not own even himself. The State is master and it is a usurpation, an act of rebellion, to defend yourself. It is even more an act of treason to defend yourself against the State. This is why there is such anger in the Progressive community against “bitter clingers” holding onto their guns; what right does any individual have to take the power of the State?

It affects religion, too. The Judeo-Christian religions believe in the duty of the individual to govern himself first and foremost. The Progressive thinking is that nobody has a right to govern himself, so Christianity and Judaism are rebels, antithetical to the cause of community and the idea that “it takes a village”. Islam, on the other hand, is both a handy tool to use against them and is a system where there is no division between the State and the Faith, and the individual must submit to the larger collective.

Almost any position held by the Progressive Left can be understood if one thinks about it in terms of property rights.

The liberal view has largely emerged triumphant in our modern era. The case of Mrs. Gavan is illustrative of that.

Not sixty years ago Mrs. Gavan would not have been arrested, nor tried, nor convicted. She had gone to the police like any good citizen and was told there was nothing that could be done, so, in desperation, she took very modest steps to protect her family. Please note the pusher was not seriously harmed — merely warned away with a couple of bruises. The Founders would have shrugged at that.

But not the modern python state; laws have become nooses around the necks of the citizenry while leaving the predators (who follow no law but their own) free rein. Society will not allow a person to defend himself. Now if a crime victim shoots an attacker he is the person in trouble (ask George Zimmerman). Now any action outside of official channels is punished because it is considered an act of rebellion. It is the reason why the Obama administration keeps pushing this “right-wing domestic terrorist” shibboleth; they are frightened of anybody outside of their control, outside of the Borg Collective.

And so a decent woman protecting her family may go to prison for the sake of upholding the right of the State over the individual. This is not just an elitist-Progressive thing, either; ordinary citizens and minor officials in Jefferson County, Missouri pursued, charged, tried, and convicted this woman. This mindset is now a part of the American psyche.

And it won’t change, not without enormous social, educational, and informational changes in this country. We have to remember who we once were, and that means the schools need to teach, the arts need to remember, movies and television need to change, an entire culture has to be revamped. The prognosis for a restoration is grim.

But not impossible. As long as there is a spark of liberty in the individual there remains hope. We have to teach our children. We have to remember who we once were.

Timothy Birdnow is a St. Louis-based writer. Read more from Tim and friends at www.tbirdnow.mee.nu

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Right to Work

***Warning***

The violence shown in this video is 100% factual and may be disturbing for some. Viewer discretion is advised.

Dear Concerned American,

I was shaken.

When I tasked my staff with creating this video, I knew it would be compelling, but actually seeing it was a moving experience.

You see, Big Labor often resorts to despicable acts of violence and intimidation to force their way into the workplace, but it’s never been documented like this before, trust me.

And now that it’s released, Big Labor is scrambling to shut down our video exposing the ugly side of union organizing.

Watch it now before Big Labor shuts it down.

Sincerely,

Mark Mix
President, National Right to Work Committee

The Truth Isn’t Mean, It’s The Truth

Excellent video from Pat Condell! Defines the difference between liberals and progressives, and how this is playing out across the globe. As Andrew Breitbart said – “The truth isn’t mean, it’s the truth.”

Re-posted from Right Reason

http://right-reason.com/2013/04/21/the-truth-isnt-mean-its-the-truth/

Agenda 21, Stealing Your Property

by Jan Farrar

Webster’s dictionary describes and defines Agenda as a noun, (a person, place or thing); 1. A list or outline of things to be considered or done, 2. An underlying, often ideological plan or program. The word ideological, a formulated thought or opinion, is individual and may or may not be accepted by others. Many of us have many ideas. As a mom, I many times have set an agenda for my day, for my children’s chores, for our vacations and as a nurse and a teacher, for my work day. Things we do, things we should have done and things that we want to see done. If you don’t have your agenda, no worries, the United Nations, US Federal Government and your local communities have one for you.

In 1992 the Earth Summit formulated a policy for the world environmental movement. They issued AGENDA 21.  This is a specific, intricate detailed book, for global biodiversity assessment for the 21st century. The General Secretary of the summit stated, “Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning and suburban housing are not sustainable.” The plan is to control eating, driving a vehicle, your personal lifestyle and where you live. This plan is to be implemented by every one person on the earth. In 1976 the United Nations reported, “Land, because of its unique nature, and the crucial role it plays in human settlements cannot be treated as ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the markets. Private ownership is also a principal instrument of the accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice. If unchecked, it may become a major obstacle of the planning and implementation of the development schemes.”

The time is here, the time is now. Our former presidents signed on and our current administration is implementing numerous A21 executive orders. More is occurring at the state, city and local levels. Our own state of Missouri has been on board for some time and local communities are seeing this through “community betterment projects.” Other buzz words are, “sustainable development,” The three E’s: Environment, Economy and Social Equity, also known as the “Triple Bottom Line,” and “Smart growth.”

You might see your community supporting pedestrian and bicycle development, using public transit to lessen fossil fuel usage and lower carbon emissions, building community wide biking and pedestrian sidewalks,communities using the new “green” energy alternatives. You might see your community placing restrictions on private landowners in the name of environmental protection and conservation of natural resources. You will see Non-Governmental Organizations, gaining more control over private land to use as “green space.” You will have Earth Charter, the Sierra Club Cool Cities Initiative, the Audubon Society’s Sustainable Community Imitative or the Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement. You will hear the use of words, “transition town, or “livable community,” “Visioning,” and begin teaching through your local schools.

The United Nations programs has a plan to control over all human activity from what we eat and drink, our mode of transportation to what we teach our children and to our land ownership. This is taking place in our very on local area.  You may not have your own personal agenda, but not to worry, the United Nations, the United States Government and many local communities have one planned for “you”. And, by default you are accepting this agenda daily. We must wake up to what has happened over the past 23 years and become more vigilant in stopping the final takeover of our liberty.

http://www.icleiusa.org/about-iclei/members/member-list

Missouri

ObamaCare Bites Unionized Educators

April 1, 2013

By Eileen F. Toplansky

As the proverbial offal hits the fan, adjunct instructors and their union leaders are understandably panic-stricken as they finally realize the impact of ObamaCare on their livelihoods.

Union representatives are now sending their members letters stating that “the Affordable Care Act [aka ObamaCare] has defined full time as anyone working over 30 hours a week or 130 hours a month.” Many of these hardworking and well-meaning local labor representatives, who were duped — I mean, told by the American Federation of Teachers Union (AFT) that Obama was the one who would bring all good things to pass — now find themselves in an untenable position.

Many claim that this ObamaCare provision actually “leaves it up to the employers in education to define what the actual time worked by an adjunct actually is.” And from the local rep’s standpoint, it is clearly “atrocious” that administrators would try to abide by the law even though it adversely affects instructors.

The traditional adversarial stance between administration and faculty is being ratcheted up by the union, which claims that the “the college is using the ACA law to reduce instructors’ teaching load.” They maintain that college administration‘s “interpretation is not accurate and that the regulations call for each school to come up with a reasonable method of determining full time status for compliance.”

Thus, “anyone teaching more than 9 credits this semester will have the Fall teaching load reduced by the number of credits over the 9 credits. For example, if someone is currently teaching 12 credits, she will only be allowed to teach 6 credits in the Fall. A 14-credit load will be decreased to four [because there are no five credit courses]. Moreover, anyone in other college-related work such as Continuing Education courses, teaching seniors in Life Center courses, working in the fitness center, and advising students will no longer be allowed to do these.

Clearly, the hardships for instructors will be many. Poverty level will be the norm for many of these educators. They will be scrambling for other teaching assignments at nearby colleges and universities just to stay afloat.

And Obama will be chuckling all the way.

Because ObamaCare was never meant to be affordable or to improve patient care. It is about his amassing total control over people’s lives. And far too many labor unions acquiesced to the Pied Piper’s flute. Now their members are paying a very high price for this shameful partnership of lies.

Yet, instead of taking this opportunity to bring forces together, the union will continue to place blame at the feet of college administrators. I hold no brief for administration. Some of their past actions should make a decent person hold his head in shame. But in this instance, there is a golden opportunity to fight back against the government’s intrusion into our lives if only people would see past their immediate concerns.

For example, the federal government has a wide array of alphabet-soup agency programs to ensure that students go to college. Special support programs such as Passport “provide students who demonstrate the determination and ability to succeed with the opportunity to begin college although they may not fully meet traditional admission criteria to do so.” Exceptional Educational Opportunities Program or EEO “provides intensive support services — including academic skill development; academic advisement; personal, social, and career counseling; and financial assistance — for those who qualify.” The EPIC or Entry Program into College is another program as is Project Excel. They all bring educationally-challenged students into two and four-year colleges in the hopes that they will succeed.

Not surprisingly, the funding for these programs is drying up. This leaves the colleges without a new class of students; it decreases teaching loads, and it puts a college’s finances in a precarious state.

The educational house of cards will eventually crumble. But if administration and union members put aside their differences and march en masse on the White House to demand that ObamaCare be overturned, this would open a spigot that would bring out other Americans who see their medical care and work opportunities shortchanged and adversely affected.

And now with the latest news from Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, that “many of the children of families a.k.a. dependents “would still be left without options for affordable family health insurance under Obamacare” this should raise the hackles of even diehard Obama supporters. In essence, this Democratic senator says that millions of workers’ dependents will still be left without options for affordable family health coverage. In fact, the “Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that there could be as many as 3.9 million dependents that will be affected because an employer’s individual coverage choice was considered affordable but the family plan is not.”

A million-people march on the Mall in D.C. would let Obama and the Congress know that Americans are fed up with these dictatorial edicts. It is time to push back.

Instead of rhetorical squabbling that will inevitably ensue at college adjunct/management forums, these two groups must come together. In this instance, their mutual interest is actually one and the same.

It is “the biggest fight” of the nation and the unions that surrendered their members’ rights should be informed that they no longer have their backing or their faith. Obama and Congress should be placed on continual notice that the people no longer trust them and discontent is afoot.

This might be education’s big moment if the interested parties seize the day instead of squandering the opportunity.

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/../2013/04/educators_and_college_administrators_enemies_no_more.html at April 01, 2013 – 02:40:09 PM CDT

Myths Verses Facts

Myth
.  Common Core (CC) was a state-led initiative.
Fact

.  The CC standards were initiated by private interests in Washington, DC, without any representation from the states. Eventually the creators realized the need to present a façade of state involvement and therefore enlisted the National Governors Association (NGA) (a trade association that doesn’t include all governors) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), another DC-based trade association. Neither of these groups had a grant of authority from any particular state or states to write the standards. The bulk of the creative work was done by Achieve, Inc., a DC-based nonprofit that includes many progressive education reformers who have been advocating national standards and curriculum for decades. Massive funding for all this came from private interests such as the Gates Foundation.

Myth.  The federal government is not involved in the Common Core scheme.
Fact

.  The US Department of Education (USED) was deeply involved in the meetings that led to creation of Common Core. Moreover, it has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the two consortia that are creating the national tests that will align with CC.  USED is acting as the enforcer to herd states into the scheme (see next myth).

Myth.  States that adopted CC did so voluntarily, without federal coercion.

Fact
.  Most states that adopted CC did so to be eligible to compete for federal Race to the Top funding. To have a chance at that money, recession-racked states agreed to adopt the CC standards and the aligned national tests sight unseen. In addition, the Obama Administration tied No Child Left Behind waivers to CC adoption, making it very difficult for a state to obtain a waiver without agreeing to accept CC.

Myth
.  Under Common Core, the states will still control their standards.

Fact
.  A state that adopts CC must accept the standards word for word. It may not change or delete anything, and may allow only a small amount of additional content (which won’t be covered on the national tests).

Myth
.  Common Core is only a set of standards, not curriculum; states will still control their curriculum.

Fact

.  The point of standards is to drive curriculum. Ultimately, all the CC states will be teaching pretty much the same curriculum. In fact, the testing consortia being funded by USED admitted in their grant applications that they would use the money to develop curriculum models.

Myth.  
The Common Core standards are rigorous and will make our children “college-ready.”

Fact

.  Even the Fordham Institute, a proponent of CC, admits that several states had standards superior to CC and that many states had standards at least as good. CC has been described as a “race to the middle.”  And as admitted by one drafter of the CC math standards, CC is designed to prepare students for a nonselective two-year community college, not a four-year university.

The only mathematician on the CC Validation Committee said that the CC math standards will place our students about two years behind their counterparts in high-performing countries. An expert in English education said that CC’s English language arts standards consist of “empty skill sets . . . [that] weaken the basis of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework.” She also suspects from her analysis of work done so far on the standards that the reading level deemed sufficient for high-school graduation will be at about the 7th-grade level. And CC revamps the American model of classical education to resemble a European model, which de-emphasizes the study of creative literature and places students on “tracks” (college vs. vocational) at an early age.

Myth
.  The Common Core standards are “internationally benchmarked.”

Fact

.  No information was presented to the Validation Committee to show how CC stacked up against standards of other high-achieving countries. In fact, the CC establishment no longer claims that the standards are “internationally benchmarked” – the website now states that they are “informed by” the standards of other countries. There is no definition of “informed by.”

Myth
.  We need common standards to be able to compare our students’ performance to that of students in other states.

Fact. 

If we want to do that, we already can. In the elementary/middle school years we have the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test; in high school we have the SAT and ACT.

Myth.  
We need common standards to help students who move from state to state.

Fact. 

The percentage of students who fit that description is vanishingly small (much less than 2%); most families move, if at all, within states, not to other states. It is nonsensical to bind our entire education system in a straightjacket to benefit such a small number of students.

From the Stop Common Core:  Reclaiming Local Control in Education website page called Myths Verses Facts.  To download this in a table click here.

A New Kind of Problem: The Common Core Math Standards

Barry Garelick Nov 20 2012, 12:03 PM ET

A set of guidelines adopted by 45 states this year may turn children into “little mathematicians” who don’t know how to do actual math.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article for TheAtlantic.com describing some of the problems with how math is currently being taught. Specifically, some math programs strive to teach students to think like “little mathematicians” before giving them the analytic tools they need to actually solve problems.

Some of us had hoped the situation would improve this school year, as 45 states and the District Columbia adopted the new Common Core Standards. But here are two discouraging emails I received recently. The first was from a parent:

They implemented Common Core this year in our school system in Tennessee. I have a third grader who loved math and got A’s in math until this year, where he struggles to get a C. He struggles with “explaining” how he got his answer after using “mental math.” In fact, I had no idea how to explain it! It’s math 2+2=4. I can’t explain it, it just is.

The second email came from a teacher in another state:

I am teaching the traditional algorithm this year to my third graders, but was told next year with Common Core I will not be allowed to. They should use mental math, and other strategies, to add. Crazy! I am so outraged that I have decided my child is NOT going to public schools until Common Core falls flat.

So just what are the Common Core Standards for math? They are a set of guidelines written for both math and English language arts under the auspices of National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Where they are adopted, the Common Core standards will replace state standards in these subject areas, establishing more common ground for schools nationwide.

To read newspaper coverage of the new standards, you’d think they were raising the bar for math proficiency, not lowering it. “More is expected of the students,” one article declares. “While they still have to memorize or have fluency in key math functions and do the math with speed and accuracy, they will have to demonstrate a deeper understanding of key concepts before moving on.”

But what does this mean in practice? Another recent article explains, “This curriculum puts an emphasis on critical thinking, rather than memorization, and collaborative learning.” In other words, instead of simply teaching multiplication tables, schools are adopting “an ‘inquiry method’ of learning, in which children are supposed to discover the knowledge for themselves.” An educator quoted in the article admits that this approach could be frustrating for students: “Yes. Solving a problem is not easy. Learning is not easy.”

With 100 pages of explicit instruction about what should be taught and when, one would expect the Common Core Standards to make problem-solving easier. Instead, one father quoted in the aforementioned article complains, “For the first time, I have three children who are struggling in math.” Why?

Let’s look first at the 97 pages of what are called “Content Standards.” Many of these standards require that students to be able to explain why a particular procedure works. It’s not enough for a student to be able to divide one fraction by another. He or she must also “use the relationship between multiplication and division to explain that (2/3) ÷ (3/4) = 8/9, because 3/4 of 8/9 is 2/3.”

It’s an odd pedagogical agenda, based on a belief that conceptual understanding must come before practical skills can be mastered. As this thinking goes, students must be able to explain the “why” of a procedure. Otherwise, solving a math problem becomes a “mere calculation” and the student is viewed as not having true understanding.

This approach not only complicates the simplest of math problems; it also leads to delays. Under the Common Core Standards, students will not learn traditional methods of adding and subtracting double and triple digit numbers until fourth grade. (Currently, most schools teach these skills two years earlier.) The standard method for two and three digit multiplication is delayed until fifth grade; the standard method for long division until sixth. In the meantime, the students learn alternative strategies that are far less efficient, but that presumably help them “understand” the conceptual underpinnings.

This brings us now to the final three pages of the 100-page document, called “Standards for Mathematical Practice.” While this discussion is short, the points it includes are often the focus of webinars and seminars on the new Common Core methods:

    1. Make sense of problem solving and persevere in solving them
    2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively
    3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
    4. Model with mathematics
    5. Use appropriate tools strategically
    6. Attend to precision
    7. Look for and make use of structure
    8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

These guidelines seem reasonable enough. But on closer inspection, these things are essentially habits of mind that ought to develop naturally as a student learns to do actual math. For example, there’s nothing wrong with the first point: “Make sense of problem solving and persevering in solving them.” But these standards are being interpreted to mean that students “make conjectures about the form and meaning of the solution and plan a solution pathway rather than simply jumping into a solution attempt. They consider analogous problems, and try special cases and simpler forms of the original problem in order to gain insight into its solution.”

This is a rather high expectation for students in K- 6. True habits of mind develop with time and maturity. An algebra student, for instance, can take a theoretical scenario such as “John is 2 times as old as Jill will be in 3 years” and express it in mathematical symbols. In lower grades, this kind of connection between numbers and ideas is very hard to make. The Common Core standards seem to presume that even very young students can, and should, learn to make sophisticated leaps in reasoning, like little children dressing in their parents’ clothes.

As the Common Core makes its way into real-life classrooms, I hope teachers are able to adjust its guidelines as they fit. I hope, for instance, that teachers will still be allowed to introduce the standard method for addition and subtraction in second grade rather than waiting until fourth. I also hope that teachers who favor direct instruction over an inquiry-based approach will be given this freedom.

Unfortunately, the emails and newspaper articles I’ve been seeing may herald a new era where more and more students are given a flimsy make-believe version of mathematics, without the ability to solve actual math problems. After all, where the Common Core goes, textbook publishers are probably not too far behind.

Barry Garelick recently retired from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and obtained his credential to teach secondary math in California. He has written extensively about math education for various publications including Education Next, Educational Leadership, and Education News.

United Nations Approves Small Arms Treaty

By Katie Pavlich

Apr 02, 2013

The United Nations has approved the Small Arms Trade Treaty. More from WAPO:

The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to create the first international treaty regulating the global arms trade, a landmark decision that imposes new constraints on the sale of conventional arms to governments and armed groups that commit war crimes, genocide and other mass atrocities.

The U.N. vote was hailed by arms-control advocates and scores of governments, including the United States, as a major step in the global effort to enforce basic controls on the $70 billion international arms trade. But it was denounced by Iran, North Korea and Syria for imposing restrictions that prevent smaller states from buying and selling weapons to ensure their self-defense.

And of course, far left groups are already celebrating by slamming the NRA, despite insisting for months the treaty will do nothing to curtail Second Amendment Rights. Amnesty International released the following statement about the passing of the treaty:

NRA Fails to Stop UN Arms Treaty: Human Rights Victory Today To Protect Children

“Today’s victory shows that ordinary people who care about protecting human rights can fight back to stop the gun lobby dead in its tracks, helping to save countless lives. The voices of reason triumphed over skeptics, treaty opponents and dealers in death to establish a revolutionary treaty that constitutes a major step toward keeping assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons out of the hands of despots and warlords who use them to kill and maim civilians, recruit child soldiers and commit other serious abuses. Iran, Syria and North Korea blocked consensus at the U.N., while the NRA cynically – and ultimately unsuccessfully – tried to erode the U.S. government’s support through a campaign of lies about the treaty. But in the end, the global call for responsibility in the arms trade won out.

“Amnesty International played a leading role in initiating the campaign for this treaty nearly 20 years ago and has fought tirelessly to stop weapons from being sent to countries where we know they are used to commit human rights atrocities. This has been a life-saving struggle that never could have been achieved without the support of millions of human rights activists who stepped forward to demand change. We call on President Obama to be first in line on June 3 when the treaty opens for signature.”

As a reminder, this treaty does in fact impact Second Amendment rights of American citizens. Not to mention, if the treaty were to be ratified by the Senate (which it won’t be) the Department of Justice and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms would enforce it. What could go wrong?

For nearly 20 years, the NRA has worked tirelessly to oppose any United Nations effort to undermine the constitutional rights of law-abiding American gun owners.  The latest attempt by the U.N. and global gun banners to eliminate our Second Amendment freedoms is to include civilian arms in the current Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

Policy in the Margins: Why Grass-Roots Politics Works

What follows is a generalized breakdown of voting in any given election:

People Percent for Victory
100%, all people 50%, plus 1
70% eligible to vote (excludes aliens, felons, and minors) 35%, plus 1
40% registered to vote (approximately 60% of eligible) 20%, plus 1
20% vote on election day (50% of registered voters) 10%, plus 1
7% almost always vote Republican
7% almost always vote Democrat
6% swing votes 3%, plus1

Three percent of the populations plus one voter is where politicians live and die.

In some local and state elections where turnout may be only 20 percent of registered voters, the margin may be far less than three percent plus one.

The average politician lives in constant fear of alienating any substantial portion of this three percent plus one voter he needs in a hotly contested race to win re-election, or to gain higher office.

What is the best way not to alienate these voters?  Do nothing to make them mad, which almost always means … do nothing.

This is why even when new politicians are elected, little seems to change.  Inertia — or the status quo — is the most potent force in politics.

However, by mobilizing and directing voters rallying around a specific issue, you can change the political environment for a politician or even a group of politicians.  One relatively small group can make it more costly for the politician not to act than it is for him or her to act as you want him to.

This is what is meant when it is said that policy is made at the margins.  Over time, the number and effectiveness of activists determines political success or failure.

This is also why the homosexual lobby, labor unions, and organized groups so often get legislation they want.  They have groups of voters who can, and will, vote on their issue alone.  And they often have workers and sometimes money to use against any politician who crosses them.

By becoming a grass-roots leader, you can, too.

That’s where the fun, and the danger, begins.

We Can Do Better Than This

By Christopher Chantrill

The Cypriots, according to news stories, are outraged about the German idea of taking a hit on their banking accounts in order to recapitalize the island’s failing banks. Maybe they don’t know when they are ahead, writes Peter Schiff. “Rank and file depositors” are going to pay for “the bailouts and stimulus” one way or another.

Like many small boys, Cypriots are unwilling to take a haircut if they can put it off. This just in from the Fram oil filter guy: do they want to pay him now, or later?

Here at home we bank depositors are getting our daily haircut from Helicopter Ben’s Zero Interest Rate Policy. But critics say that once he starts raising interest rates then the big banks will be in trouble again. Meanwhile the Obama administration gets to borrow money on the cheap and put off tough decisions on entitlements.

Then there is the chaotic implementation of Obamacare. In the Weekly Standard Jay Cost does a “Madisonian” analysis of the beast. All is not lost, he predicts. Obamacare could suffer a fate similar to the Catastrophic Health Coverage Act (CHCA) of 1988; CHCA got repealed when seniors rebelled.

Now let’s have a conversation about race. No, not about the white guy, Robert Huber, that thought he’d write an article on race in Philadelphia about the race line between liberal white Fairmount and black Brewerytown. Nor about black Mayor Nutter siccing the local Human Rights Commission on Huber: Keep speaking truth to power, bro! Nor even about the white mother that sent her kid to a predominantly black school. Let’s just note the comment from “white kid in black gradeschool.”

As [a] white kid whose well-meaning parents enrolled him in a majority black school for the same noble reasons as “Jen”, I just have to say that that decision is really negligent. I love how she makes it about herself. I love my parents dearly and have never told them about how lonely and terrifying it was to be one of the only white kids in my grade school. I love them too much to put that kind of guilt on them. I was constantly teased, picked on, and bullied by a few kids… and even the nicer kids never seemed to display any sort of empathy.

Gee. I wonder why that comment got promoted to the top of the comments?

Today I want to ask: Can’t we be better than this?

Can’t we develop a politics that is better than the Don’t Expect Me to Pay culture of the modern administrative welfare state?

We could have a rock-solid credit system, without too-big-to-fail banks. But it would need a citizenry that refused to elect politicians hawking stimulus and cheap mortgage loans.

We could have a great health-care system that was both inexpensive and responsive. But it would need senior citizens willing to pay for the luxury of geriatric health care rather than elect politicians to dump it on the kids, and it would need twenty-something Julias willing to pay for their own contraception.

We could have an end to the race war. But it would need a ruling class that was just as hard on black racists in power as it was on the white racists in power half-a-century ago.

How do we get there from here? That’s what I’ve been wondering, as I ponder my two mantras: Government is Force and Politics is Division.

When we say government is force, we mean that government is always waging war on someone. This someone could be a foreign power or local street thugs, or it could be an evil class of exploiters. But without a dangerous enemy there is no warrant for government to do anything.

That is where politics comes in. In politics we divide about whether there is an enemy or not. Conservatives tend to think that the problem is an external enemy: Communism or islamofascism. Liberals tend to think the problem is an internal enemy: employers, price-gougers, greedy bankers, evil racists and sexists, bigoted homophobes. The question at every election is: where does the American people come down on the enemy question?

Americans are fed up with the war on islamofascism, so if conservatives want political power we are going to have to find a new enemy for the American people to fight, for government must have a war to fight.

What kind of war? It’s obvious: a war of rebellion against the liberal ruling class. Because we, the American people, must rise up more in sorrow than in anger and declare war against the corruption, the cruelty, the injustice, the waste, the delusions of the liberal administrative welfare state.

All we need is the political leader who can get the American people all riled up about this. Any ideas?

Christopher Chantrill (mailto:chrischantrill@gmail.com) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.
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