Friday, January 18, 2008

PSC Fails to Protect Faculty--Javier Perez Calls For Barbara Bowen's Resignation

I received the following e-mail from Javier Perez, a former faculty member at Hostos Community College, a CUNY unit:

This is a letter from me, Javier Perez, a former LabvTech at Hostos Community College, inviting the Hostos Faculty Senate to investigate what amount to corruption allegations.

07 January 2008

Dear Senators

I am directing this letter to you, the members of the Hostos Faculty Senate. But I'm also sharing it with many of my former coworkers at Hostos and with other parties who might want or need to read it. Most of you have already read my call for the resignation of PSC-CUNY President Barbara Bowen. My position with respect to her remains unchanged, PSC-CUNY failed me miserably in many different ways and I'll take this opportunity to renew that call. But this letter relates to issues I have with Hostos Community College.

For some time I've been calling for someone or some entity at Hostos Community College to take up the task of conducting a thorough investigation of the allegations of abuse that I've made about the time I worked at the Hostos Academic Computing Center. I began by asking the college-wide P&B to investigate my
allegations. I did this three times....

Information is at:

Howard Katz's Goldseek Article

Howard S. Katz has an interesting article in Goldseek. He writes:

>"Over the past few weeks, there have been dozens of forecasts in the newspapers about the possibility of a coming recession. In most of these, the forecasters have not been identified as anything more than “economic experts,” etc. What is going on is just a public relation campaign to convince the public that something bad will happen if we do not print money at a faster and faster rate. Usually no evidence is cited, just “experts say.” Sometimes there is an incredibly ignorant use of statistics whereby data which will be revised away in a few months is cited as authoritative. For example, the preliminary employment report for August ’07 showed a drop of 4,000. This was widely cited as evidence that the economy was heading for recession. Then the number was revised and is currently listed as an increase of 93,000 (very close to average for the year). No apology from the recession mongers. These people pretend to be scientists attempting to predict a recession, but in fact they are public relation shills, trying to convince the media to support a central bank policy of easy money and credit.

>"According to (Keynesian) economics, as it evolved over the 20th century, recession and inflation were opposite things. A recession was caused by not enough demand. Inflation was caused by too much demand. As noted, we currently have $900 gold and $100 crude oil. The CPI is advancing at the fastest rate in 17 years. The PPI is advancing at the fastest rate in 27 years. How, even in their own terms, can these people believe that there is both too much demand (“inflation”) and not enough demand (“recession”) at the same time?

>"Currently the stock market is being hammered down by propaganda about the coming recession. Of course, when the propaganda is successful and Bernanke completes his easing, this will make stocks go up. Those who listen to the recession propaganda and sell will sell near the bottom. It was precisely to deal with situations like this that the old timers made the rule, buy when there is blood in the streets. However, the rule should have been, buy when there is blood in the media because what is happening is not happening in reality, only in people’s minds. Again, in deciding on a massive easing at a time when the dollar was very weak anyway, Bernanke essentially threw the dollar out the window. The U.S. central bank has made the decision to trash its own currency. I don’t have to tell you that this means BUY GOLD. Unfortunately, most of our sources of information in this society are full of lies. Their purpose is to make the banks and their other vested interests rich, and to do this they have to make you poor. Believe the lies, and you are a loser.

>"In a very real sense, a recession is like an infestation of witches. It is an imaginary event. It can be listed with the belief of the Aztec Indians that, if they did not offer the Sun God a human sacrifice every single day, then the sun would not rise the following morning. The difference is that the Aztecs never knew what science was. A century ago our society did understand scientific method, and there is no excuse for letting that knowledge slip away.

>"So, dear reader, if you want to be a gold bug, then you must aspire to see reality as it is and not believe the lies reported in the media. This is my job at One-handed Economist (see my web site Visit us, and see if I can make you a gold bug and put some extra money in your portfolio."

Self-Employment Income Should Be Income Tax Exempt

Self employment income should be income tax exempt. The tax code should encourage Americans to start their own businesses and to become self-reliant. The tax exemption could be limited to a number of years, such as 10 or 15, and to a maximum number of employees claimed for deductions, with a sliding scale from 0 to 25 employees, and no exemption thereafter.

Part of the moral deterioration that has occurred in America comes from the interpersonal manipulation and separation of ownership and control characteristic of large organizations. Small business is responsive to the market and proprietors are forced to deal with reality. Thus, business ownership makes better citizens than does employment in a large organization. Increasing the share of the population that is self-employed would likely improve the nation's moral tenor. As well, those who are unemployed might find that tax free self-employment earnings can assist reintroduction into the workforce.

Is This Education (and is it entitled to a section 501(c)(3) tax examption)?

Or is it political lobbying?

You be the judge....

>Dear Colleagues,

>Come join us! ---- College's sociology department is taking part in a nation wide teach-in addressing climate change on January 31st, 2008. Over 1300 universities, schools and civic organizations are participating in this historic event. Because the date is so early in the semester, it may not be the best date for ----- College, but by focusing our activity around January 31st, our efforts will link with Focus the Nation's campaign. They have organized what may end up being the largest teach-in ever in U.S. history-reminding us of the fantastic reception to the first Earth Day in 1970.

>What can you do? (if viewed previously please note room change!)

>1. Save the date! On January 31st, From 11 until 1 the sociology department will host a short program in ---- Lounge Student Center involving local politicians, citizen groups, and a Frontline documentary, Hot Politics, on the history of climate change policies in the U.S.

>2. Take your class to view Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. There will be multiple screenings in the xxxxx Auditorium on January 30th and 31st. Show times at: 9:30 a.m., 12:15, 2:00, 3:45 and 6:30 p.m. No 12:15 showing on the 31st! Please RSVP to

>3. Plan to teach about climate change in your regular courses on (or around) January 31st. Our goal is to expand our attention to how climate change can be understood and addressed through our many disciplines. Climate change touches on issues as diverse as poverty, power, media discourses, politics, philosophy, human rights, social infrastructure, religion and more every discipline has something to add to the conversation.

>What can you do now?

>1. Let us know that you are joining our project. We will add your name, your course title, and your department to our list of participants. When you join our project, we will put you on a distribution list for additional materials and other updates.

>2. You can visit the website for discipline specific teaching suggestions. Or for a social science focus try ASA's teach-in website

>3. If you have course material (readings, assignments, projects) share them with us and we will share them with all who participate.

>4. On Jan. 31st come to our teach-in focusing on climate change policies.

>5. Organize your own event and let us know.

>Please send your intention to participate and suggestions for materials to Professor xxx,

Visiting Assistant Professor

Selected Blogs of Candace de Russy

Candace de Russy blogs at Phi Beta Cons at National and she has been productive of late. De Russy uncovers, courageously and without prejudice, scams, shams, swindles, stings, and sucker games that are essential to the postmodern university. The "cons" in phi beta cons are the universities themselves, as a review of de Russy's blogs reveals.

Item: Michael Bloomberg, the INO (independent in name only) presidential candidate, contributed $200 million to the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, which has just produced a fraudulent report concerning the Iraqi War. Undoubtedly, the Mayor's affiliation with the public health school contributes to his interest in progressive-liberal health fascism. De Russy notes that Bloomberg remarked that the Johns Hopkins researchers “are just some of the great, honest academics, the most talented academics around". Rumor has it that Mayor Bloomberg made similar remarks when he awarded a large pay and retirement bonus to a school principal who, it turned out, had falsified the test results for which he had rewarded her.

As well, de Russy notes that George Soros may have funded the bogus Johns Hopkins story.

(Also see discussion in Dan Stover's Northern Alliance Wannabe Blog.)

Item: de Russy deconstructs the motives of Columbia University, the politically correct institution that refuses to pay taxes on the large number of New York City properties and the the trust fund that it owns, even as its left-wing faculty argues for higher taxes. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, in 2006 Columbia's tax-exempt endowment totaled $5.9 billion and earned a return of 14.4% or $840 million, enough to provide all of its students with free tuition (24,000 students x $35,000 tuition = $840 million).

Academics claim that they care about the poor, minorities' rights and the oppressed. But instead of using its endowment to provide education to its students, or to provide much needed job training and remedial education to the large number of minority poor people in its community, Columbia utilizes the services of Mayor Bloomberg to indulge in private use eminent domain, aiming to loot land from the people of Harlem, throwing the poor on the streets to benefit its progressive-liberal faculty, which advocates taxing others to benefit themselves.

De Russy quotes the New York Sun, which notes that Columbia is busily reinforcing its progressive-liberal credentials:

"'Virtual empires benefiting private interests — secured through government force — are springing up especially across New York City,'” notably, at Columbia University, which 'seeks land that rightfully belongs to its West Harlem neighbors so it can expand its campus.'"

I can't wait until Mayor Bloomberg becomes president so that politically connected swindlers will have access to land from Peoria to Pennsylvania.

Item: de Russy blogs about Major Stephen Coughlin, the Pentagon analyst who has been fired "for his politically incorrect but “hard-to-refute views on the relationship between Islamic law and Islamist jihad doctrine." Let us hope that the Pentagon's resort to political correctness will be rectified.

Item: de Russy notes that:

"The president of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, Sari Nusseibeh, made anti-Semitic remarks during a rant against the presence of Jews in any future Palestinian state. Al-Quds has partnered with several American and Canadian universities to offer programs, classes, and research opportunities. These schools include the University of Michigan at Dearborn, Northeastern University, York University in Ontario, Brandeis, and George Washington University. Al-Quds also receives U.S. government support."

Here is one more nail in the coffin of Alan Colmes's argument that progressive-liberals aren't really Nazis. Of course, they are, Jonah Goldberg. Of course they are.

: de Russy notes that the Anti-Racist Blog has:

"obtained a series of e-mails promoting a despicable campaign to de-legitimize Israel on college campuses across the United States that will be waged in the coming months. As you will see, anti-Zionist conspirators from student groups such as MSA, and SJP are preparing for a coordinated and unprecedented nationwide assault on the Jewish State and its supporters."

Here is yet one more nail in the coffin of Alan Colmes's argument that progressive-liberals aren't really Nazis.

Item: de Russy notes that there has been a proposal for a Russell Kirk University.

I hope that they have a business school!

Item: de Russy notes that:

"John Yoo, a Yale Law School graduate who served at the Justice Department, has been sued by convicted terrorist Jose Padilla, who is being represented by lawyers at Yale. As the editors of the Wall Street Journal observe, “Perhaps if Mr. Yoo had decided to pursue a life of terrorism, he too could be represented by his alma mater.”

I guess when they're not stealing land from poor African Americans, universities keep themselves busy by harming their alumni!

Item: de Russy notes an Anti-Racist Blog recount of a Chicago Tribune story by Jim Tankersley which mentions that:

"U.S. government officials authorized giving nearly $1 million in foreign aid to a Palestinian university with links to the terrorist group Hamas, despite vetting the school eight times for ties to terrorism, according to a government audit."

Item: de Russy provides still more evidence of the progressive-liberal/Nazi link:

"Norman Finkelstein, a critic of Israel who resigned last year as a political science professor at DePaul University, met this week with a senior official of Hezbollah in south Lebanon.

"Although the U.S. government has labeled Hezbollah a terrorist organization, Finkelstein portrays the group as standing for “hope.”

"...In the past, Finkelstein has maintained that some Jewish groups have exploited the Holocaust for political and financial gain.(AP)"

De Russy consistently demonstrates excellence in blogging. Please, please keep up the good work, Candace. We love you even if our drooling governor showed you the door.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Optimism Abounds

The Campbell Apartment at Grand Central Station.

My good friend Cortes DeRussy is optimistic about our economic future. In contrast to my pessimism over drinks and dinner two nights ago at the Campbell Apartment at Grand Central Station and Cafe Centro in the MetLife Building, Mr. DeRussy sent me the following quote from Alex Tabarrok writing in Forbes:

"People used to think that more population was bad for growth. In this view, people are stomachs--they eat, leaving less for everyone else. But once we realize the importance of ideas in the economy, people become brains--they innovate, creating more for everyone else.

"New ideas mean more growth, and even small changes in economic growth rates produce large economic and social benefits. At current income levels, with an inflation-adjusted growth rate of 3% per year, America's real per capita gross domestic product would exceed $1 million per year in just over 100 years, more than 22 times higher than it is today. Growth like that could solve many problems."

The Campbell Apartment and Cafe Centro illustrate free market change. The Campbell Apartment had been built as John W. Campbell's office and reception hall in Grand Central Station in the 1920s. Now it is a public bar and reception hall. Cafe Centro used to be Pan Am's airline ticket office. Now it is an excellent restaurant.

But is there reason for optimism? The past 40 years have seen the Fed's unrelenting expansion of the money supply despite reputed monetary policy change*; an increasing addiction to publicly manufactured credit; and virtually no movement toward repeal of the Progressive and New Deal regulatory regime. While liberals have mostly won on free trade, there is a strong impulse to revoke the gains and even stronger resistance to further progress. On balance, liberals have been successful on trade but failures with respect to money, permitting the Federal Reserve Bank to reallocate real resources in debtors' interest, in turn causing income inequality that the progressive-liberals now emphasize in agitating for additional taxes and regulation. Yet there is little movement toward further deregulation. The reason for lack of public debate about monetary inflation, which has caused serious disruption in countries like Germany, may be interest group capture of the Republican Party. The nation is reaching a stale mate. Future progress will require new strategies.

The US has been able grow, but there is no guarantee that growth can continue. How much misallocation is too much?

In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has conceptualized a new scope for government regulation: personal wellness and fitness. Nationally, the emphasis is on adding environmental regulation. There is no impulse this year to discuss elimination of the massive waste in government in areas like the department of education.

Like Mr. DeRussy, David Boaz, head of the Cato institute, is optimistic. In response to my blog this morning on Mugwumps and libertarian strategy Mr. Boaz writes:

"I think Bill Niskanen would disagree with your suggestion that libertarians and conservatives haven’t had any effect. A couple of years ago he wrote, 'after a decade or so of gestation, almost all of the major economic policy proposals made during the past 30 years originated on the libertarian right'."

While I do not doubt that Messrs. Boaz and Niskanen are correct (and the Cato Institute has certainly been a crucial voice for reform), the reason is in no small part the Democratic Party's incompetence, with a resulting dearth of ideas. Naturally, the few good ones have come from the libertarian right, Milton Friedman and the Cato Institute.

Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies of the Cato Institute, also kindly responds to my blog. Mr. Cannon writes that the repeal of all campaign finance laws and instant-runoff voting are two changes that could improve libertarians' voice. He also notes a second Cato article by William Niskanen who 18 months ago offered the same idea that I proposed yesterday (although the Mugwumps beat Mr. Niskanen by 122 years):

"Increased outrage about the state of American politics and the prospect for a larger number of close elections increases the potential effectiveness of a different libertarian party — one that sometimes endorses one or the other major party candidate but does not run a party candidate for that position."

"The Libertarian Party’s efforts to promote their policy positions by running Libertarian candidates is counter-productive when they reduce the vote for their favored major party candidates. A disciplined group that is prepared to endorse one or the other major party candidate in a close election, however, can have a substantial effect on the issue positions of both major party candidates... conditions must be met to achieve this effectiveness...This is a strategy to increase the approval of libertarian policy positions rather than the usually counter-productive effort to increase the number of votes for Libertarian candidates. Maybe it is better to term the organization that I have described as a libertarian political action group, not a libertarian party."

Mr. Niskanen's idea is similar to what the Mugwumps did in the 1880s. It is true that there have been some policy successes, and perhaps I am unfairly pessimistic.

But where is the liberal momentum in this year of increasing inflation and monetary instability?

*Despite considerable PR about monetary targets, the inflation rate since 1979 has averaged 3.7%, considerably higher than it was before the establishment of the Fed in 1913. The 3.7% inflation rate may be understated because of exclusion of home purchase prices. At the same time, several foreign governments have acquired dollar denominated assets each equaling the total US money supply of $1.4 trillion.

The Libertarian Party Should Become a Voter Block Brokerage Organization

I would like to bring a crucial point about strategy to the attention of Ron Paul voters, libertarians and especially members of the Libertarian Party. The LP might reconsider its three-decade old strategy and adopt an interest group approach that worked well for the Mugwumps, or independent Republicans, in the 19th century.

David Tucker has written an excellent book on the Mugwumps. The name Mugwumps comes from a term that Algonquin Indians used for young chieftain. They were upper-class north easterners, many of whom had been abolitionists. Many died just before World War I, and their last major battle involved opposition to US imperialism and the Spanish-American War, which the early progressive-liberals, such as Theodore Roosevelt, supported.

The Mugwumps were the first industrial age libertarian movement. The chief issues with which the Mugwumps were concerned were:

1. Sound money and reestablishment of a pure gold standard
2. Free trade
3. Elimination of corruption from government by establishment of civil service

The Mugwumps have not always received favorable press from left-wing historians. In spirit, they were the American branch of the anti-Corn Law movement of Cobden and Bright. Several of them corresponded with John Stuart Mill.

1. The Mugwumps constituted a smaller percentage of the population than the Libertarian Party reflects today, but their effect on American politics was much larger than the combined Libertarian and conservative movements of the past 40 years.
2. It is true that the Mugwumps had far greater media support, namely Harper's Weekly, the Nation, the New York Post and the New York Times as well as several other publications than today's libertarians.
3. In that period, voters were more committed to party-line voting than today, so although the Mugwumps could leverage greater publicity, their ability to influence voting was smaller as a percentage of the vote than the Libertarian Party's today. If you add Ron Paul's Republican followers, then the total number of today's libertarians would be many times greater than the votes that the Mugwumps could leverage
4. The Mugwumps ran separate presidential candidates only twice: Horace Greeley in 1872 and John M. Palmer in 1896.
5. The Mugwumps' greatest success came in 1884, when they refused to back the Republican candidate, James Blaine, and instead backed the hard money, free trade Democrat Grover Cleveland.
6. Because the race in New York was decided by less than one percent, some credited them with winning the 1884 election for Cleveland.
7. They saw many of their ideas accepted. These included official de-politicization of the money supply; free trade and reduction of the tariff; and the civil service.
8. They failed circa 1900 because economists trained in the German historical school came to dominate university economics departments, depriving them of universities' imprimatur, and because of widespread support for imperialism in the 1890s. Imperialism and government economic intervention were more attractive to turn of the century Americans, especially the generation born after the Civil War. The loss of academia to the progressive-liberals caused the Mugwumps to die. They have been largely forgotten because of the loss of continuity, but they were prominent in my grandfather's lifetime.
9. The Mugwumps were repeatedly successful when they brokered between the political parties and served as a special interest group. They were repeated failures when they ran third party candidates.

The Libertarian Party has served an important educational function since the 1970s in education in the principles of free markets and civil freedom. Although classical liberalism has numerically and percentage-wise a greater base now than it did in 1884, it has not succeeded anywhere near as much as the 19th century movement succeeded. The problem has been tactical.

The Mugwumps believed that the Republicans were the "party of principle", but they were willing to broker deals to support either party, as they did with the Democratic candidacy of Grover Cleveland. They did this because in their view the Republicans failed to live up to its promise and did not support liberal principle following the Civil War.

Conservatives and libertarians today have been dismayed at the choices that the mainstream parties present. But with five to ten percent of the vote, and possibly more, believers in classical liberalism constitute a powerful voting block.

The Libertarian Party is making a mistake by not offering compromise deals to the major parties, and going with the better of the two (not necessarily one or the other).

The Mugwumps were able to leverage say 100,000 votes by brokering between parties. There is no reason why classical liberals, libertarians and free market conservatives, who may represent 20 to 45 million votes, cannot do the same.

Partisan support for the Republicans and/or the third party approach has failed. The time has come for a change in strategy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Democratic versus Achievement Motives in American History

David M. Tucker. Mugwumps: Public Moralists of The Gilded Age. Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1998. 139 pp.

David M. Tucker's Mugwumps: Public Moralists of the Gilded Age is an excellent overview of the Mugwumps. It is sympathetic to its subject, unlike others who have written about the Mugwumps. Phrases like "Old Right" abound in the post-war libertarian literature, but the image often is vague. Tucker's book shows that the 19th century classical liberals, known as independent Republicans, were former abolitionists, not bigots in any sense of the word (the few that turned out to be, such as Henry Adams ceased to be considered Mugwumps and became associated with Populism), and were very conscious of their libertarian ideology, their commitment to Adam Smith, the Manchester liberals and John Stuart Mill, with whom several corresponded. The Mugwumps were:

-A small movement, no larger than today's Libertarian Party as a percentage of the voting public, and probably smaller
-sharply differentiated from the two major parties in terms of their commitment to liberal or libertarian ideas, specifically tariff reduction (which the Democrats tended to support and the Republicans tended to oppose); hard money and the gold standard (which neither party really supported); and opposition to imperialism
-support for the newly formed (under the Pendleton Act) federal civil service, which they thought would end corruption in government and reduce the opportunity for spoils, which led the public to support corrupt government (in other words, they wanted to end special interest capture of government)

The book is very well written (although at times there could have been slightly better transitioning and linkage of ideas) and of serious interest to libertarians, conservatives, and those with an interest in the decline of morals in business and government.

Although the Mugwumps were the first post-industrial libertarian movement, they also were at the root of today's progressive-liberalism, as Richard Hofstadter has pointed out. The effectiveness of their tactics, the use of social control and groupthink to effectuate a uniform party platform, served as a model to the next generation's emphasis on big government, imperialism and state intervention in the economy. Most of all, Mugwumps pioneered the use of groupthink as a political tactic. This has been copied not only by the progressive-liberals but also by today's Libertarian Party, which borrows the Mugwumps' appellation for the Republican Party, "the party of principle".

Tucker's perspective on the Mugwumps is sharply from John R. Dobson's Politics in the Gilded Age which I blog here. Tucker has more respect for the Mugwumps.

David Riesmann has argued that in the twentieth century Americans turned from a 19th century inner directedness that involves a goal and future orientation to an other directedness that involves a focus on peers, influence from popular media, fashion and interpersonal relationships at work. But the tension between these two impulses was already evident in the 1870s.

Several of the Mugwumps, such as Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, sacrificed their Mugwump ideals for conformity to the Republicans' political demands. They refused to join the other Mugwumps in exiting the Republican Party in 1884. Both Roosevelt and Lodge had much more successful political careers than the other Mugwumps because they put politics over principle, and they did so by adopt the other-directed progressive-liberal ideas of the early twentieth century. Theodore Roosevelt may be thought of as the first other-directed American.

A few of the Mugwumps, such as Henry Adams, who rejected Mugwumpery in favor of anti-Semitism, Populism and free silver (Tucker suggests that the Adamses' exit from Mugwumpery was related to their failure in real estate speculation in Spokane and Kansas City and their hope for a silver inflation). Henry Adams became a Populist who blamed Jewish bankers for his business failings.

The most effective Mugwumps were those who played off the two-party system, favoring one or the other party depending on who was following the most libertarian course. They became famous for this in 1884, when they contributed to the defeat of James G. Blaine in favor of Grover Cleveland, who was a largely libertarian president.

The Mugwumps ran only two independent candidates in their roughly 35-year history: Horace Greeley of the Liberal Republicans in 1872 and John M. Palmer of the National Democrats in 1895. Neither fared well. There is a lesson for the Libertarian Party here. The LP would function more effectively as an election spoiler than as an independent political party.

The Mugwumps (or Independent Republicans) were mostly upper class northeasterners, mainly from New England and New York. They tended to have been educated in religious, Protestant schools and to have had a strong moral sense. Many were former abolitionists. They were not religious themselves, but their grounding and education was. They were concerned with the decay of morals in American politics, and were inclined to foresake personal gain and office on behalf of their ideals, which did not match their economic interests. In other words, many of them benefited from paper money and inflation, but they opposed it on moral grounds, and the same is true of tariffs. Many left wing historians, who lack grounding in economics and ethics, look for class or personal motives in the Mugwumps' position. Ironically, support for inflation, free silver, greenbacks and Keynesian economics is very much the position that favors the upper class, banking interests, Wall Street, hedge fund billionaires, large coroporations and corporate executvies. It was Theodore Roosevelt who benefited from his cynical adoption of progressive-liberalism, the ideology of the American upper class from 1900 to 2007. EL Godkin, Carl Schurz, Horace White and the other Mugwumps paid dearly for their idealistic commitment to morality in politics. The fact that historians have often treated them shabbily suggests shabbines in academia more than anything else.

The Independent Republicans had one advantage over today's libertarians and conservatives: the intellectual support of mainstream universities. Relatively few Americans were capable of thinking through monetary issues even in the 1870s. Today, probably even a smaller percentage of the population is willing to expend the effort to do so. However, when the Mugwumps could say that their ideas had the backing of Harvard economists, the public was much more likely to defer. In this sense, they provided a role model to today's progressive-liberals, who dominate our society through their control of higher education. This intrigues me because it suggests a tighter link between the ideology of higher education, economic interests and what Howard S. Katz calls "the paper aristocracy" than I used to think.

The Mugwumps had limited data on which to base their arguments, and they fell into a number of errors. The most grievous Mugwumps fell were their support for the establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank and their belief that the civil service would end special interest politics and government corruption. Their emphasis on the Fed came from three factors: (1) they believed that the Fed would be constrained by the gold standard, which Roosevelt abolished in the 1930s; (2) they believed that separating money from politics would reduce the temptation to inflate (they overrated the institutional separation of the Fed from Congress; (3) they did not anticipate Keynesian economics, which provided an ideological rationale for the inflationist view which (not to blame them, who could would have known?).

Their notions of morality led to their belief in free trade, the gold standard and honest government, notably via civil service reform. Their advocacy of sound money and free trade, which they explicitly linked to the elimination of special privilege, favoritism for the rich (the debtor class, according to their arguments, being the chief beneficiaries of paper money, then as now) was explicitly rooted in their moral sense. They saw individual achievement, self sufficiency and hard work as moral principles that protectionism and paper money would debase.

Then as now there were powerful forces arrayed against moralist and hard money positions. There was strong western agitation for greenbacks and then silver inflation by landowners (much as the subprime crisis today has been a strong motivation of reallocation of wealth to wealthy investment bankers and landowners), and politicians were inclined to support the demands for inflation. In fact, there were several greenback and free silver bills passed, that Mugwump agitation was able to stop, and some that the Mugwumps could not stop.

The Mugwumps saw the debate as one involving moral principle against personal gain. Those who favored personal gain over morals joined the regular party ranks. Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, are cited as two examples of reformers who chose to emphasize their careers as opposed to their morals. When James G. B

Gain in democracatic politics is linked to popular appeal. Hence other directedness results from focus on public opinion. However, the advances in American society came not from the political but from the creative, scientific, engineering and management fields, which do not depend on public opinion. Theodore Roosevelt was among the first other-directed, twentieth century men. In choosing personal gain and political advantage over moral belief, he set the stage for the progressive-liberalism of the twentieth century, its moral vacuity and the economic decline that will result from focus on relationships and opinion rather than achievement.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Opiate of the Masses

Merv of PrairiePundit posts Mark Steyn's article about capitalism and change (thanks to Larwyn). He notes that whereas the presidential candidates say that they favor change:

"it's capitalism that's the real "agent of change. Politicians, on the whole, prefer stasis, at least on everything for which they already have responsibility. ts."

But the change thatReInflateoCrat politicians advocate is not make believe. Politicians do create change. Progressive-liberal or political change is reactionary and exploitative. The name "progressive-liberal" refers not to progress or liberalization for the public, rather progress and liberalization for its privileged beneficiaries: lawyers, big business, academics and hedge fund managers.

In aiming to "deconstruct" American values, progressive-liberals aim to supplant them with values that serve their ends. Progressive liberals aim not only to staunch general progress and technological advance, which threatens established economic interests, but to intensify income inequality; shore up inept businesses; protect inefficient health care; make the poor poorer; and make the rich richer. All of this is done in the name of making the economy more efficient; reducing income inequality; providing general health care; and helping the poor. Progressive-liberalism is a vicious philosophy.

Universities have played a critical role in reinforcing exploitative political change . In the 1970s Milovan Djilas argued that communism and left wing ideology served the interests of a new class of journalists and intellectuals.

In America, political use of intellectuals to advocate and support economic exploitation of the poor takes on a specific pattern. American academics argue for cultural change that reinforces their power. They attack religious institutions and traditional values, and argue for a pattern based on groupthink, the "liberal Borg", whereby the New York Times sets an agenda which progressive-liberal cult members mindlessly follow. The progressive-liberal groupthink mentality is a social control process that serves specific economic interests. The new class, academics and journalists, is paid for this pattern with academic jobs, funding and the like.

The effect of the academics' purposed cultural domination and hegemony is to distract the public from state violence and exploitation. The public is made poorer by inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve Bank, while the media advises them that inflation is low. The dollar is artificially propped up and some jobs leave the country, and the media tells the public that free trade is to blame. There is massive waste in government, and the public is told that taxes are too low.

All the while, academia distracts from its exploitative purposes by raising crank political issues: terrorism is justice; defending America is imperialism; crime is justice; taxation creates wealth; free trade makes us poorer, and so on.

The Republicans have been too often part of this process. Republicans, such as Theodore Roosevelt, supported progressive-liberalism. This element never left the Republican Party. In those days, the Democrats were free traders and the Republicans supported exploitative tariffs. Support for hard money was a minority voice in both parties. It was not until 1896 that the Republicans became the hard money party.

It is primarily because of capture of academia that the progressive-liberals have been triumphant in the last century. Now that their ideas have been discredited, it is even more crucial to them to retain control of academia. Without the reinforcement of academic propaganda, it will be difficult for the progressive-liberals to appear to be anything other than what they are: the ideologists of corruption, narrow special interest and economic decline.

Conservatives need to state their case. The Republican Party is not necessarily a conservative or moderate conservative party. It has been a corrupt or progressive-liberal party for much of its history. Conservatives must ponder the way forward.

Milton Friedman and the Federal Reserve Bank

I will ask my business seminar course to read Milton Friedman's 1962 Capitalism and Freedom, which was re-published in a 2002 40th anniversary edition. I was just re-reading it and cannot praise it highly enough. On page 44 Friedman writes:

"It is instructive to compare experience as a whole before and after (the Fed's) establishment--say from just after the Civil War to 1914 and from 1914 to date,to take two periods of roughly equal length.

"The second period was clearly the more unstable economically, whether instability is measured by the fluctuations in the stock of money, in prices, or in outputs...(E)ven if the war and immediate postwar years are omitted, and we consider only the peacetime years from, say, 1920 through 1939 and 1947 to date, the result is the same. The stock of money, prices and output was decidedly more unstable after the establishment of the Reserve System than before...

"...the crude comparison should at least give the reader pause before he takes for granted, as is so often done, that an agency as long established, as powerful, as pervasive as the Federal Reserve System is performing a necessary and desirable fundtion and is contributing to the attainment of the objective for which it was established

Things have recently become worse than they've been in a long time. Perhaps it is time to abolish the Fed. Since the Democrats are asking for change, and an elimination of the Fed's disruptive inflationary cycles would certainly constitute change, this is the year to do it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Origins of Progressive Liberalism

The modern progressive-liberal movement may be said to have its earliest origins in the presidential campaign of 1884 when the Independent Republicans or Mugwumps (named after the word for young Algonquin Indian chieftain) bolted the Republican Party to fight the candidacy of James G. Blaine (R-ME), whom they associated with corruption and feared would scotch the Pendleton Act that had recently established the federal civil service. Instead of Blaine, whom they hated, they supported Grover Cleveland (D-NY). Theodore Roosevelt was linked to the Independent Republicans as was Harvard University's president, Charles Eliot, the New York Times, the Nation, the New York Evening Post, and Harper's Weekly. John M. Dobson* writes of the Mugwumps, the progressive-liberals' precursors:

"In their energetic promotion of Cleveland and their unstinting criticism of Blaine, the Mugwump journalists sometimes exceeded the bounds of objectivity. If they avoided telling outright lies, they were guilty at least of telling only part of the truth. Seldom content with straightforward statements of fact, the Mugwumps interpreted and twisted their stories to suit themselves. Editorializing about Blaine in late September, for example, the New York Times stated, 'There is no speculation which he can resist, but, rich as he is, he has never earned money by any business or profession...' Blaine did initiate a libel suit against and Indianapolis Democratic newspaper...But many Americans considered it somewhat unsportsmanlike to go that far..."

Mugwumpery may be viewed as the roots of liberalism not because the Mugwumps' ideas were like the twentieth century's progressive-liberals' (they were more like today's conservatives') but rather because their approach to ad hoc adoption of a singular idea, intense social pressure to conform to politically correct doctrine and the use of the media to create social conformity to their ideology is very much the technique that the progressive-liberals adopted in the early twentieth century and continue to use today.

*John M. Dobson, Politics in the Gilded Age: A New Perspective On Reform. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1972. p. 141.

HBO Should Remake Twin Peaks

I recently re-watched Twin Peaks and still believe that the show is among the top five TV sci-fi/thrillers of all time. I would also include Twilight Zone, One Step Beyond, Outer Limits and X Files.

I have just written to HBO and suggested that they remake the series, perhaps with co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost. They could also employ the same stars, notably Kyle MacLachlan. Some of the younger actors might play their previous roles grown up. James Hurley (James Marshall) might be the town's auto mechanic and similar roles could be played by Sherilyn Flynn (Audrey Horne, who might be the owner of the Great Northern) Madchen Amick (Shelley Johnson, who might be the new owner of the RR Diner), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs, who might be a military man) and so on.

One of the tragedies of television is that Twin Peaks aired for only two years (I think 2 1/2 seasons) because of low ratings in its second year. Part of the problem may have been ABC Television's restrictions on Lynch's creativity, which HBO would sidestep. Conversely, the show would attract viewers to HBO because of its cult following.

Sadly, some of the actors, such as Jack Nance (who played Piper Laurie's bumbling husband, Pete Martell), have passed away. In the original series Frank Silva played Killer Bob, the evil parasite spirit who comes from the Black Lodge to inhabit innocent hosts and cause them to become sociopathic murderers, the chief example being Leland Palmer, Laura Palmer's father. Sadly, Silva died of AIDS at the age of 45 in 1995.

I have thought of the ideal replacement for Silva in the new series: Hillary Clinton. Much like Killer Bob, Hillary's spirit aims to inhabit and create havoc and sociopathic behavior. She would fit the Killer Bob role perfectly, and it would keep her from doing harm in the real world. Plus the temperament would be a perfect match. She would not need to act.