Shrew U: The Great Society Bust

My last blog post “Progress vs Progressivism” attempted to explain that progress is a condition of our U.S. Constitution and Progressivism is a construct that hinders such progress. I used examples from the Civil War and Reconstruction era to show the difference.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s was also an important time of progress in our history. Not all activists of the 60’s can be considered hero’s for the changes they wished to achieve. I am currently reading Great Society by Amity Shlaes. I would like to relate to you why the details in this book have affirmed my conclusions about why our society’s current focus on Progressivism lead by a “Social Democrat Party” is bad for our culture…But first some historical context:

Since about 1880 Jim Crow Laws were enacted in the southern states by white Democrat-dominated state legislatures. The Supreme Court decision Plessey vs Ferguson (1892) upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation under the “separate but equal” doctrine. Jim Crow Laws were Progressive actions that resulted in commonplace separate public accommodations based on race (see my blog Progress vs Progressivism for definitions). Today we look back on such laws as absurd, but the governmental leadership at the time and throughout the seven or eight decades since were allowing powerful Democrat political forces to dictate cultural norms. Republican insistence on States’ Rights made this no better…Civil Rights as it pertained to individuals and races were just beginning to be understood.

Timeline of these decades:

1870 to 1914…2nd Industrial Revolution leap forward in technology and society (people lead actions)

1914 to 1918…World War 1 (government lead action)

1920…Congress passes the 19th Amendment – Women’s right to vote (people lead action)

1920 to 1929…The Roaring Twenties time of prosperity (people lead action)

1929 to1933…The Great Depression (spurred on by government greed in the twenties)

1933 to 1939…The New Deal (government intervention)

1939 to 1945…World War 2 (government lead action)

1945 to 1989…Post war economic expansion (people lead action)

1961 to 1975…Vietnam War draft era (government lead action)

What we notice in this timeline is that during the 2nd Industrial Revolution the formation of groups such as the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Suffragettes were instrumental in obtaining crucial reforms to working conditions and the women’s right to vote. These reforms needed to be lead by the critical mass of non-political people lead actions in order for hearts and minds to change and common sense to prevail in Congress. This was progress!

Wars and the Depression however were instigated by government lead actions. The timeline shows an interesting back and forth between non-political action (changes made by people) and political action (initiatives made by governments). By the time of the Post World War 2 economic expansion, the U.S. was ready for another critical mass of non-political people lead activity, namely the Civil Rights Movement. It was helpful that this movement aligned with the Vietnam anti-war people lead activism. Individuals would not be “used” by their government’s activities any longer!

It was Reverend Martin Luther King JR who lead the people toward necessary civil rights changes. Society needed the common place Jim Crow laws to be eliminated, and this could only happen with a ground-swell of people power. Under this pressure, President Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights act that eliminated Jim Crow laws and the 1965 Voting Rights Act that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. Ending our involvement in the Vietnam War would prove to be more difficult.

In Great Society we learn that during the late 50’s and early 60’s companies like General Electric and Ford Motor Company were employing, expanding, and creating with great speed. The AFL which had now become the AFL-CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) along with progressive leaders like Walter Reuther (United Auto Workers) and anti war political activists like Tom Hayden were working their powerful influence on government systems to help President Lyndon Bains Johnson (LBJ) form his anti-poverty programs…After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, LBJ as the new President, began to implement a plan with Reuther and Hayden to end poverty in America. His “Great Society” vision was the center of his 1965 election bid. What I found most interesting about LBJ during this bid for election was that in order to obtain the African American vote he promised them that they could caucus at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) so that they would have delegates appointed for the election process. This did not happen because the (racist) DNC would not allow it. LBJ was courting the African American voters with programs and promises aka “Progressivism”. LBJ managed to retain their votes anyway and won the 1965 Presidency in a landslide.

By this time it was apparent to the Democrat majority that more government programs were the way to maintain leadership power. With the help of Union Leaders and Progressive Activist Leaders the federal government worked to replace the authority of mayors and local leaders…Federal funds flowed to jobs program oriented organizations. Locally elected leaders were instructed to add community activists to these organizational boards. These activists liked to stir up tension on city streets. Eventually the mayors and local leaders caved to federal pressures and ever since then the federal government has procured more authority over social benefit programs at State and Municipal levels.

For example; Federal “experts” redefined eminent domain laws to remove entire neighborhoods where low income families lived and worked in comfort, condemning these areas as “blighted”. The new wisdom was that federally built high rise low income housing projects would be more beneficial. However, there were consequences to these actions, mainly that whites decided to move to the suburbs thus leaving the struggling black population to remain…Struggling because there were few jobs available for black men in these cities due to union bias. Federal welfare programs during this time discouraged fathers to remain in these government subsidized housing projects…Fathers needed to be out of state in order for mothers and children to qualify. We now know the consequences of these “Great Society” actions. This begs the question of why weren’t the Great Society jobs programs helping. Well, they weren’t helping because these funds were pocketed by greedy, prejudiced, progressive union lead program officials…Progress for African American workers and families was stunted by these government actions.

In short, I believe that progress happens best when affected people unite through first understanding how government inspired systems shrink their civil liberties, then changing hearts and minds in the process, and ultimately solving problems in fair and sensible ways. Progressivism lead by government “experts” and corporate or union cronies is infused with unintended consequences…Or are they unintended? My next blog post will focus on this question.

SHREW U: Worshiping at the Alter of Perfectibility

To plan for worldly perfection is a web of deceit and the spider who sets this trap believes himself to be like a god.

A web of deceit has been inadvertently spun since our founding which I will date as June 21,1788 when our Constitution was ratified. At that time there were 13 states. Only nine states needed to be on board for ratification…Ammendments to the document continued for several years after the ratification, for instance the Bill of Rights was not ratified until December, 1791.

During ratification the first political parties formed, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.  Anti-Federalists saw the constitution as a potential threat to personal liberties and opposed its ratification wanting only each state to have sole power.  However, there were more Federalists than Anti-Federalists so the Constitution was ultimately ratified.  This is not to say that the Anti-Federalists didn’t get some of what they wanted…The Constitution did put in place checks and balances to help prevent central government corruption and tyrannical rule as well as incorporate explicit protections for individual rights.

In today’s polarized political climate we must all remember that perception is only part of the path to truth.  Facts still remain. – The Shrew

The Anti-Federalists soon became the Democratic-Republican Party.  Founding Fathers such as Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson were among them.  In the early 1800’s this party split into the Republican Party and the Democratic Party (Federalists such as George Washington, John Adams and Alexander Hamilton ultimately became members of the Democratic Party).  Essentially Republicans at this time wanted to reserve more power to state governments unlike the Federalists (later the Democrats) who dominated national government early in our founding and passed laws which taxed land owners to pay for war preparations against the French, increased residency requirements for U.S. Citizenship, deported all male citizens of enemy nations, and limited free speech rights.  By 1830 the Federalists had been completely reformed into the Democratic Party which supported slavery and opposed civil rights reforms.  You can see the trend early on that neither party was perfect with their understanding of Liberty. 

In the mid 1900’s the Democratic Party underwent a dramatic ideological realignment by supporting organized labor, civil rights of minorities and progressive reform.  During this time there were a number of other political parties with their own particular ideologies that came and went, many of which had elected representation in Congress, but they would not prove the test of time.  Today’s Democratic and Republican Parties bear almost no relationship to their original counterparts.

Through the decades of party representation in the presidential and congressional roles it seems that any time the dominant party was too aggressive with its messaging it left an opening for the opposing party to take control.  This “duel” made it more difficult for progressive ideas to cement, but laws and programs which began under the New Deal and civil rights reforms were enacted when both parties were more amenable.


When I compare the ins and outs, ups and downs of our federal system to our state and local governance systems the picture is the same.  Any time an extreme example of controlling power is displayed, another election happens to check this power and bring a modicum of balance to controlling forces.  Governing systems don’t just create themselves, it is people working together who bring them to being.  Ours is the only system which allows for ideas to be tested, thrown out and reinvented.  This is what a free republic does.  And if the people of this republic are free to also imagine and be inspired by the invisible hand of God at work in their personal lives, then the ups and downs of our system give emotional maturity for the individual to persevere when their wants are not able to balance their needs.  We do ourselves a great disservice when we believe that whole populations and desired outcomes can be forcibly perfected.  These are the ways of tyrants.

Our Earth and the cosmos are ever changing, and as we know, people are limited when they try to improve upon these changes.  To plan for worldly perfection is a web of deceit and the spider who sets this trap believes himself to be like a god.  We must not worship at the alter of perfectibility lest we divert our inherent worth to a false  master.

Shrew U: An Open Letter To Our New Congress

grey ceramic landmark during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Welcome to a new day!  As you take your seat and represent your constituents please remember these things:

  1. You were probably elected within a close margin so work with your peers on both sides of the isle as if our Republic depended on everyone’s educated input.
  2. Base this educated input on facts not feelings.
  3. Focus, focus, focus.  Your job is dependent on your performance.  And Yes!  We are watching.
  4. Civility should be your middle name 🙂  Don’t be concerned about the President’s behavior because it speaks for itself.
  5. You’ve sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution so read it and apply it to everything you consider.
  6. Cultural changes are inevitable…These are better left to the communities from which you came.  Also, change can be infectious when handled conscientiously with everyone involved.
  7. Fascism is not a one way street.  Any political party can believe their policies are the best.  Be concerned about any one sided political push or group think.
  8. Laws were not meant to be broken or discarded lightly.  Follow them or change them!

Thank you and have a nice term…

Shrew U: Local Economy and Balancing Faith with Commerce

The fact that so many faiths can co-exist in U.S. Culture today speaks volumes for our progress as a nation.

In my last blog I stated that balance is a welcome state of being for humanity and very important for all facets of our lives. Because I am finding that certain elements in this country are ginning up much hostility toward capitalism, in this blog I would like to reflect on how we balance faith with commerce.

low angle view of cross against sky at night
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Once upon a time in order for a new community to be established in the North American territories it needed a church and a pastor.  Faith was central to existence because life presented a multitude of hardships (One could argue that we still have many hardships, but that is a topic for a future Shrew blog).  Many of these communities still exist today with a First Parish Church in its midst.  Of course today most of these communities also have several other churches along with perhaps a Temple and even a Mosque.  Faith in God or a Higher Power can be a grounding influence for many people, and I believe that religious practice in communities is a key ingredient for goodwill among humanity.  The fact that so many faiths can co-exist in U.S. Culture today speaks volumes for our progress as a nation.

So which came first, faith practice or commerce?  I think this question is comparable to the chicken and egg hypothesis.  We know that Britain colonized America in 1607 at which point the North American resources became valuable to many markets (Again, exploitation of these resources is another great topic for a future Shrew blog).  In the very early days the settlers bartered their goods and services, no money was needed to support their basic lifestyles.  Indentured slaves and negro slaves were in full use by 1640 thanks in part to the Dutch who brought the first negro slaves…Britain benefited the most from this practice because new markets for cotton and tobacco amoung other things were expanding at great rates and new immigrants to America were smart enough to know that this work on southern plantations was less than desirable.  Moving ahead 50 years, the first paper money wasn’t issued until February 3, 1690 to pay for military action during the King Philip’s War (military personnel required payment to make their fight worthwhile).  By 1776 the British pushed American “free spirits” to their limit.  Because religious freedom was central to the impending free nation, British rule equated to Anglican hierarchical practices.  I find it interesting that it took 170 years for these European free spirited transplants to break away from Imperial bonds, but honestly that is what tyrannical control can do to people…dependence on the “Mother Land” is like clinging to your mother’s warm bosom.  It took tremendous personally inspired faith to fight for independence.

And so, the land of opportunity was born…Each man and woman sovereign to him/herself with inalienable rights and property protections.  Property of course also includes your business and ability to make money which involves a tremendous amount of creativity.  God created the Universe and we, as part of this creation, are inspired to also create .

I believe the best economies are local.  They reflect the community of people united with threads of purpose.  And many times they use the bounty of resources located in their region.  These communities educate their young, learn from their past, celebrate their better days, reflect on their challenges, honor Mother Nature and love life through a respectful relationship with their Creator.  A nation that respects a community’s innovation to thrive will reap the rewards.

pexels-photo-164661.jpeg
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Which came first, faith practice or commerce?  One definitely defines the other and in my dictionary faith defines commerce…Just look on the back of our currency! In God We Trust 🙂

Shrew U: Reading List…

One big reason why I started my blog, The Shrew, was to create a journal documenting a female perspective counter to mainstream influences like that of the women on the ABC talk show The View.  It is very apparent to me that the most vocal women on The View (Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar specifically) have absolutely no desire to do meaningful research beyond their own closed boarders of “the resistance”.  The gossip, innuendo and emotional superficiality on The View perpetuates the often “catty” stereotype of the female human species and sets back the progress of intellectual women everywhere.  Who watches this garbage?

The following is my recommended reading list for women and men who wish to honestly understand the social, political and emotional underpinnings of why the “resistance” movement is a non-starter for the majority of people in the United States:

  • Fields of Blood: Religion and The History of Violence by Karen Armstrong
  • Sapiens; A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • Where Do We Go From Here; Chaos or Community? By Martin Luther King, JR
  • The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson by David Barton Thomas
  • Jefferson and The Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager
  • The War on Cops; How The New Attack On Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe by Heather MacDonald
  • The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
  • The African Background Outlined by Carter Godwin Woodson
  • The Righteous Mind; Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt
  • Cop Under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics For A Better America by Sheriff David Clarke JR.
  • Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell
  • Sacred Instruction; Indiginous Wisdom For Living by Sherri Mitchell
  • 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson
  • Stealing America: What My Experience with Criminal Gangs Taught Me About Obama, Hillary and The Democratic Party by Dinesh D’Souza
  • Killing England: The Brutal Struggle for American Independence by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  • Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell

image

This list of nonfiction literature encompasses various perspectives from authors who are passionate about their topics.  Even though many of these books are not in themselves a balanced perspective, I have found that a balance is gained by reading the complete selection.  Why?  Because the books that drive on emotion lack references to actual contextual data and the books that drive on references to actual contextual data lack emotion.  We need both experiences in order to form a compassion that has integrity from which to speak and act effectively.

My religious faith has in the past two years made it known that it is part of the “Resistance Movement” which is why I no longer support the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Association.  I’ve been doing my due diligence and reading quite a bit to understand the logic behind this movement.  I’ve also met with my minister to voice my concerns.  My church only encourages the reading of emotional literature (The New Jim Crow) and preaches a narrative of white supremacy as well as toxic masculinity.  Please tell me how this approach furthers our doctrine of peace among people?  It doesn’t!  Hiding behind a “spiritual” and emotional mask does not automatically make you moral.  Actions and words have consequences.  You cannot say that you “side with LOVE” (a current UU catch phrase) and then support a movement of hate-filled rhetoric.  Marginalizing whiteness and masculinity is in actuality a quasi-creed for the UU religion and I cannot condone the practice.  UU’s have always boasted that they are non-credal.  This doctrine does not support a spiritual belief, instead it moves it toward the political which is completely out of the realm of religion.  It encapsulates the heart, closing the door on true compassion for humanity and oneness with our Creator.  When religion becomes political, chaos and tyranny will follow.  Just think about how kings in the past usurped the “God” Priciple to subjugate their kingdoms…Is this now similar to Athiest Democrats and Progressives exclusively claiming the moral high ground while at the same time trying to get rid of those who uphold Judeo-Christian values as well as the Constitution, both of which are being tread upon in the current political and cultural environment?

My next blog will focus on the deterioration of representative leadership in the U.S.