"Restore(s) a little sanity into current political debate" - Kenneth Minogue, TLS "Projects a more expansive and optimistic future for Americans than (the analysis of) Huntington" - James R. Kurth, National Interest "One of (the) most important books I have read in recent years" - Lexington Green
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The current plan is to have the lunch keynote discussion be on the topic of America’s Future. It will be a “three chair” format. The moderator will be Brian Calle, and the other person in the interview will be the distinguished Prof. Charles R. Kesler.
America as it exists today changed from something else to what it is now — and it will change from what it is now into something else again.
What the new something else is — is up to us.
Socialist ideas are wrong. Socialist policies fail to deliver. Socialist programs are value destroying. Socialist public bodies are wasteful and ruinous. Socialist promises are lies. Socialist politicians are fools or scoundrels. Socialist authority tries to coerce outcomes that it can never achieve.
Socialism cannot work.
Socialism always fails.
So as American gets more socialistic, it is simply that much closer to the exhaustion and disintegration of socialism, American style.
It is a matter of when and how, not if, a socialistically organized American public sector, or corporatist-public sector, will fail.
So, America as we conceived it is not only not done, it is going to be only alternative remaining when the people who benightedly or maliciously tried to “vote themselves rich” have imposed enough ruin on themselves.
Ronald Reagan was right about the Soviet Union, and everybody else, including me, was wrong. While earnest looking men in suits advised the President about that invincible Nemesis sprawled athwart Eurasia, Reagan would respond with a joke about how the elevators and toilets never work in Russia.
American style crony capitalism and political machine hackery will die a similar death for identical reasons.
We are having this discussion because even Rev. Sensing himself surely believes there is an America worth living in that we may yet succeed in creating — as hard as it will be to do that.
T.E. Hulme was a poet and critic who died leaving behind a very small corpus of work. Nonetheless, he is considered to be an influential figure in artistic modernism, and more tenuously, in modern conservatism.
Further, Hulme was an English version of a peculiar type of artist and intellectual that emerged in the early 20th century, which we rarely see anymore: A radical reactionary, a revolutionary conservative, or an anarchistic tory. On the Continent, these sorts of people tended toward fascism. An excellent book on this era is The Generation of 1914.
In the English speaking world, they tended to be religious and cultural conservatives. T.S. Eliot falls into this category. My favorite, Evelyn Waugh falls generally on this part of the spectrum, as well, though Waugh is a late specimen of the type, and on the more pugnacious side, which I like.
Thanks to the Men’s Group at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church, in Western Springs, Illinois, for inviting me to speak to them about America 3.0 this Saturday. Two big cups of coffee put me in good trim. 40 minutes me talking, about 45 of lively and pointed questions and discussion. It was great to see the big turnout on a cold Saturday morning. Perhaps I even convinced one or more of them that America’s greatest days are yet to come! I hope so.
You should be. It is “John Robb’s open notebook on the future of the American Dream.” It is also the first draft of the book he is working on.
Mr. Robb’s analysis of the collapse of the Blue Model, 20th Century legacy government and economy is very similar to the arguments made by James C. Bennett and myself in our book America 3.0. He sees, as we do, that they are doomed. He sees, as we do, that a much better world is coming. Ah, but the transition period. That will be a challenge.
This is the quote of the day:
All layers of government — city, state, and federal — want the old, bureaucratic economy to continue, unchanged. They can’t imagine a world without plentiful flows of taxes levied on corporate profits and withholding from personal incomes.
Without this flow of tax income, the entire edifice of the current economy falls. It is the source of the financial life-support to the increasingly obsolete bureaucracies – from the civil bureaucracy to education to national security to banking to health care — that still offer traditional jobs. The rest is spent providing services, from health care to retirement income, in an attempt to keep the existing economic system alive.
People who tell me the the current corrupt model cannot be defeated have it backward. It cannot survive. The only question is how hard the transition to a better political and economic order will be. Not if, not even when, but how.
On the Jewish holiday of Purim the practice is to read the book of Esther. Purim is on March 15-16 in 2014. It is not a widespread practice, but I know Catholics who read the book of Esther on Purim, and I read it last year for the first time. If you have never read it, you should. It is only about 6,000 words, the length of a long article, not a book. You can find it here.
As Seth notes, while the story is one of survival for the Jews, it also shows the sorrow and disgrace suffered by every defeated people at the hands of their conquerors.
Every year at Purim, my co-religionists and I read Esther. The story, as customarily explained to children, is that Esther won a contest . . . something akin to the modern beauty pageant. The prize was that she was made queen – the wife of the Persian emperor. As a result, by pleading to her husband on behalf of her brethren, she was well-situated to save the Jewish community from the nefarious Haman, who actively plotted genocide against the Jews. Esther’s courage thwarts Haman and the community is saved, although it remained in exile. The story is presented as one with a happy ending.
But, that is the story as it is told to our children.
By contrast, an adult, who considered Esther, would understand that the story of Purim is also an intensely sad story.
There is a faint freshness in the London night as though some strayed reveler of a breeze had left his comrades in the Kentish uplands and had entered the town by stealth. The pavements are a little damp and shiny. Upon one’s ears that at this late hour have become very acute there hits the tap of a remote footfall. Louder and louder grow the taps, filling the whole night. And a black cloaked figure passes by, and goes tapping into the dark. One who has danced goes homewards. Somewhere a ball has closed its doors and ended. Its yellow lights are out, its musicians are silent, its dancers have all gone into the night air, and Time has said of it, “Let it be past and over, and among the things that I have put away.”
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
Merry Christmas to all of our Chicago Boyz contributors, readers, friends and families.
For our friends who are insomniacs or working third shift: Sunday, December 22st 1 AM to 4 AM CST — in other words, the wee hours TONIGHT — Mike Lotus and Jim Bennett will be interviewed on Coast to Coast Radio by John B. Wells, discussing America 3.0.
We look forward to our conversation with John (pictured here on his motorcycle) and his listeners, and we thank Coast to Coast radio for having us on.
I will circulate a link to any podcast when it becomes available.
There is a strong admonition on the excellent blog Cold War Warrior to read America 3.0 and to listen to the radio show during the wee hours tonight. The Cold War Warrior cites the great Frédéric Bastiat, about the perversion of our public life since the end of the Cold War:
The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.
Converting “plunder into a right” sounds very much like the cronyism which is ransacking our country under color of law. Cold War Warrior goes on to write:
There is a restlessness, an uneasiness among the population that is palpable. The federal government’s response has been one of fear. The government gets more abusive as it becomes increasingly fearful. The tide will change. The people will rebel at the ballot box and in the picket line but then what? What is the plan? Voices decry the current situation but few offer solutions. America 3.0 is the right idea presented at the right time. The John Wells interview is a long format so the ideas can be explored.
Jim Bennett and I are looking forward to this conversation.
[The Rule of Law] means in the first place, the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power, and excludes the existence of arbitrariness, of prerogative, or even of wide discretionary authority on the part of the government …. It means, again, equality before the law, or the equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of the land administered by the ordinary courts … [and], lastly,… that, in short, the principles of private law have with us been by the action of the courts and Parliament so extended as to determine the position of the Crown and of its servants; thus the constitution is the result of the ordinary law of the land.
Restated, Dicey says the Rule of Law consists of: (1) disallowing arbitrary power, restricting the use of power to what is permitted by law, (2) treating all person to the exact same law, in the same courts, without regard to their status, and (3) treating the officers of the government to exactly the same law as everybody else.
Nota bene: Each of these elements is crumbling before our eyes in America in 2013. In particular, Mr. Obama’s arbitrary use of executive power, unmoored from legal foundation, is literally frightening.
The Rule of Law is a standard we must demand and enforce as citizens. To the extent it has decayed, it must be restored. Any reform platform must include provisions to restore each of these features.
For income growth to occur in a society, a large fraction of people must experience changes in the possible lives they imagine for themselves and their children, and these new visions of possible futures must have enough force to lead them to change the way they behave … and the hopes they invest in these children: the way they allocate their time. In the words of [V.S. Naipaul] economic development requires “a million mutinies.”
My favorite version: The Creation, That’s How Strong My Love Is (1966). The Creation perform live on the German TV show Beat Beat Beat.
The original version, nicely done by O.V. Wright, That’s How Strong My Love Is (1964).
Here is a nice version by the Rolling Stones, on the Ready Steady Go show, in 1965.
Our standard: “If you are going to cover a song, rip it apart a bit and make it your own.” Otis did it, taking the song farther down the soulful road it was on. The Creation took it to a different place, making it a rock song, but still with soulful singing. The Stones version is closer to the Otis Version, with saxophone, but still Stonesy.
A great song can withstand a lot of “ripping apart.”
Bryan Ferry, That’s How Strong My Love Is (1978).
Tommy Young, That’s How Strong My Love Is (1972). She sang this song over the music track in one take. Nice.
The core of his thesis is this: It is the English-speaking world, the “Anglosphere” (UK, Ireland, India, USA, Canada, Australia, … ) that somehow came to view the law as an ally of freedom rather than an instrument of state control. It is that very elevation of the individual over the state, in the law, that has brought us freedom and prosperity. In America and Britain, says Hannan, that principle has been taken for granted so long that now we risk losing it.
Starting around 49:00 Mr. Hannan describes a technologically advanced future which is clearly based on America 3.0, though he does not mention the book by name. Mr. Hannan gave America 3.0 a rave review, so we know he liked it!
Thanks to CommPRO.biz for publishing my recent piece on optimism.
The subtitle of America 3.0 which has provoked the strongest response is this:
America’s Greatest Days Are Yet To Come.
In the article I ask:
Do you agree? Or do you think America’s greatest days are long gone? But if America’s greatest days are yet to come, then our personal lives and our business careers take on a more hopeful cast.
In the USA today we have a shortage of optimism. For the first time, Americans say their children and grandchildren will have a worse life than they did. But despair about America’s future is a factual, historical and analytic error. We are not on an inevitable road to tyranny and poverty. Predictions of the end of American freedom and prosperity are deeply mistaken.
Optimism must be based on facts, or it is just wishful thinking. So, what is the foundation for optimism about our future?
You can get the short answer in the CommPRO.biz article, or get the full and complete answer by reading America 3.0!
Thank you to the Washington Journal show on C-Span and its gracious host Peter Slen. Thank you also to callers, whose questions and comments I tried to respect and respond to.
Mr. Slen asked open-ended questions and gave the me the chance to speak at length about America 3.0 and what we are trying to get across. The entire show was about 45 minutes, which is a substantial amount of time, and a great opportunity.
In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc.
Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620
May God bless all our ChicagoBoyz and -Girlz, our families, our readers and their families, our friends and our enemies (turn their hearts to righteousness, O Lord!), and an extra slice of God’s love to everyone who cannot be with their family on Thanksgiving, or has no family to go to, and is noshing at home, or is on duty on land or sea, or is stuck somewhere, and may be noodling on the computer and see this … .
May God grant safe travels and happy reunions and kindness and all good things, great and small, including but not limited to turkeys not being overcooked, and the gravy coming out correctly, and nothing burnt, and everything on the table on schedule and looking and tasting good, and many willing and cheerful hands making light work of the cleanup afterward, and a nice walk in the dusk and the cold air after dinner.
Thank you Lord for this great country, still a “civil body politic” after almost 400 years, and thank you for all who took risks and made sacrifices to give us what we have. Please grant that we may we be worthy to keep it and preserve it and improve it and to pass it on even greater than it has been given to us.