I’m Shrewd… On The Unintended Consequences of Progressivism

Here’s a good Jeopardy question: What two words describe outcomes of a purposeful action that are not foreseen? Answer: Unintended consequences.

Unintended consequences are the polar opposite of progress, and many progressive actions lead to unintended consequences. My previous two blogs focused on defining the methods of progress and progressivism by giving historical reference and some results for each method. Both methods ultimately have a humanitarian goal, however only one of them uses higher consciousness to obtain the most compassionate outcome. Progress is achieved by people who are directly impacted by trauma to find healing and practical outcomes (i.e. solutions) for themselves. Progressivism is a forced outcome by “experts” on a broad spectrum of people…Although the intention of a progressive action is perceived by some as good, the outcome is minimally effective and invariably produces a new trauma.

In the USA it is each individual and their liberty that define the nation. Only the individual can feel and know their happiness, and only the individual can feel and know their bondage whether it is self imposed by the mind or forced on them by another. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the responsibility of the individual.

What is an unintended consequence of smoking? You are free to smoke and you may take happiness in it, but if you are addicted to it and are susceptible to physical ailments the unintended consequence could mean chronic health issues or death.

What is an unintended consequence of spending above your means? You can take a loan for a car or home with all the bells and whistles because it is what you have always wanted, but the payments could be a strain on being able to save for the unexpected.

The USA should not be defined by its government or its corporations. Neither of these entities should be trusted to always act in a manner that can ensure a guaranteed positive outcome for people’s best interests. The government’s responsibility is to defend the nation and enact laws. Corporations and businesses help to create wealth for a nation to thrive.

What is an unintended consequence of a corporation employing unqualified or corrupt managers? The corporation has a great product or service and employs many staff who enjoy their jobs and incomes, but risky actions taken by senior management could mean harm to consumers or staff as well as layoffs or closing.

What is an unintended consequence of the government imposing a month long mandatory stay at home order on the vast majority of its population during a pandemic? Certain communities might gain time to prepare for increased hospitalizations of some people, but many more people run the risk of losing their incomes, depression and suicide, rising domestic abuse and the deterioration of individual liberties.

If you take the time to notice them, governments and corporations take progressive actions all the time with perceived moral goals, but the outcomes are not necessarily moral for everyone and inevitably lead to unintended consequences. Only individuals can use their mind and heart to judge what is right and wrong for themselves, form the basis for what is needed, and make progress in society. Governments and corporations are influenced by the individual constituent/consumer need and act in relationship to them, thereby ensuring their welfare (not giving welfare).

Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist

“…establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty…” – From the Constitution Preamble and the direct responsibility of elected officers.

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.

Shrewd Awakenings…Truth or Consequences

Enough time has gone by now…

Yes my friends, it was a game show.  You, the viewing audience have been allowed to witness a game for which truth still leaves many questions as actual facts are manipulated for a ridiculously consequential outcome.

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Before “Beulah the Buzzer” sounded (in this case Beulah was the vote to acquit President Trump on two articles of impeachment) each contestant (in this case 100 Senators) had to answer to the viewers (in this case the American people) three questions.  What were the three questions?

Here is my take:

1) Did the House enter into legitimate impeachment inquiry proceedings?

2) What did the “High Misdemeanor” accomplish?

3) Can a Senator keep their seat if he or she didn’t impeach President Trump?

Here are my answers:

1) There was no whole House vote to enter into the impeachment inquiry, but just because there is a House majority of Democrats, the majority should be careful to not enter into a partisan process as they did.  To force a one sided Democratically called witness review which was done in partial secrecy was wrong, and to leak some of this secret testimony to the press for speculative and sensationalist review was compromising to the process.  Even though beginning the inquiry was done legitimately, its implementation was ultimately problematic to their case.

2) The “High Misdemeanor” of saying Joe Biden’s name in relation to a corrupt Ukrainian Company during a head of state phone call accomplished the Democrat’s mission to find a ruse for the impeachment of President Trump.

From the un-redacted transcript of President Trump’s phone conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky, President Trump says, “…There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.  Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it…It sounds horrible to me.”  President Trump never said, “…so if you could get the Attorney General to investigate Biden’s involvement with the corrupt company (AKA Burisma Holdings), this would be a great help to my campaign.”  But that is exactly what the Democrats would want you to believe.  Instead, President Trump who is the chief law enforcement officer of the USA wants to know on behalf of a lot of people (AKA taxpayers) if Burisma would ever be investigated for corruption.  Interestingly, Biden’s action of holding back United States taxpayer funds to the Ukraine government in 2014 for six hours while he forced the firing of a Ukrainian investigator who was looking into Burisma corruption does appear to be a quid pro quo by Biden and was never brought up as being a wrong action even though he is on camera bragging about it in 2018.

Also from the transcript, “…Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the Parliament in September.  He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue…”  President Zelensky said that his intention was to investigate the company known as Burisma Holdings, not a person and specifically not the aforementioned Biden.

And, as far as United States funds being held back, has anyone considered that President Trump could have been waiting for the new prosecutor general to be actually approved by the Parliament into the position first?  Ukraine’s government and the new President Zelensky should have their actions vetted carefully before the United States has trust in their future good intentions.  With his own distrust of US federal employees working within and among his executive branch, President Trump likely wanted to do this inquiry himself, an action which is not illegal nor unprecedented.

3) Each Senator has their seat for six years.  Any Senator who has three or more years left for their term and who voted to impeach knows it will have almost zero effect on their next campaign.  Any Senator who has less than three years left for their term and who voted to acquit had to think twice about this vote because of the message it sends to their constituents, essentially a message of support for President Trump.  Hopefully their individual votes were done based upon constitutional principles instead of party loyalty…You decide.

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But here is the consequence, our Constitution hangs in the balance.  From the start, the lack of a whole House vote to investigate an allegation from the very beginning brought on a partisan process.  Even the majority vote to acquit in the Senate adds credence to the partisan misbehavior by the House.  What we had was an abuse of power on behalf of the House of Representatives.  Oh well…for now Beulah says, “Case dismissed!!”

Shrewd Awakenings…Our Great Awakening

It is now the year 2020 and it’s about time that we see the political climate around us with 20/20 vision.

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Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

How many of us get our news from social media snippets and/or “friendly” network broadcasters?  Are they and their sources reliable?  Are the fact checkers that give us the Pinocchio’s really digging deep enough in their fact checking?  Are we being presented the whole story?  Unless we are willing to give up our day jobs (or even get off the couch) and become an investigative reporter, we probably rarely if ever do the reading and research necessary to have a truly informed opinion.

In the mean time the majority of us are typically left to our biases.  Having a bias is not a bad thing…It is an absolutely human thing.  It gives you a basis from which to start your exploration of a topic and to be tested when faced with an opposing view; in other words, the ability to have an open mind from which to use to reason.

If you hold strongly onto your bias, then you have the inability to find justice.  Potential jurors are scrutinized for bias before they are allowed to serve on a jury.  This is a very important part of a society based on law and justice.

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Social justice is justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.  Can a liberty minded society be “cleansed” of biases?  Of course not!  Liberty is the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views (Oxford Dictionary).  The opposite of this is Fascism.  Social justice must impose Fascism in order to control the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges.  In the USA each person would necessarily need to give up their liberty in order for the implementation of  a true social justice agenda.  By what biased authority would we want this agenda implemented?  The answer to this question leads to our great awakening…

Liberty entails the responsible use of freedom under the rule of law without depriving anyone else of their freedom.  This sounds like a just society to me 🙂

We are already USA Strong!

Your property and care of it is your wealth, your informed curiosity leads to your opportunity, and your positive relationships reinforce many of your privileges.  These are guaranteed to you in the U.S. Constitution.

Utopia?

The USA is not and can never be the United States of Utopia.

Individuals in a free society enjoy their liberty based on laws that reflect their personal right to prosper and be generous.  The US Constitution guarantees this!

Under a Democrat controlled administration the IRS will become the Imperial Reckoning Source with the special privilege of controlling all tax dollars imposed broadly by an elitist class who claim moral superiority.  You, the individual in this system, must come to enjoy these privileges bestowed on you with all thanks given to your provider…the Government.

If you know history, Western Civilization has been there before and it wasn’t a bed of roses!!

Shrew U: An Open Letter To Our New Congress

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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…

The Shrew View – We Are At A Tipping Point!

RA house divided against itself cannot stand – Abraham Lincoln

Who are we kidding?  Neither the liberal left nor the conservative right have all the answers to our country’s problems at this point in time.  Have they ever?  Let’s be honest…The best answers come in the form of a small community working together in a non partisan manner.  And, if someone is not connected to and working against the community then we should consider that it may be by choice.   Families, neighborhoods, churches, schools, Rotaries and even sports offer opportunities to connect in a variety of healthy ways.  The only skill you need at first is curiosity.  Defined as a strong desire to know or learn something, curiosity can open doors to a stronger sense of belonging.  The best part about this is that you can belong to many different circles of community thereby finding your niche to make a positive impact.

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I have a feeling that anyone who picks up a weapon to inflict harm on a community really knows down deep that they are not solving anything.  Like being totally on the left or totally on the right the answer to their problem leaves a literal hole that oozes pain, guilt, horror and disgust, all of which are the antithesis of curiousity and clearly the mask of evil.

Isn’t this evil what the extreme left wing Democrats see in President Trump?  And by the same measure isn’t this evil what the extreme right wing Republicans see in the extreme left wing Democrates?  When did Congress stop being a community for the people? Elected leaders must have the skill of curiosity to belong to their peer community no matter which side of the isle they are on.  The President is putting forward his ideas, but it seems as though Congress has no strong desire to learn or know how to debate and offer a compromise on the ideas.  And what is worse,  Congress has been modeling this behavior for far longer than I can remember.  Unfortunately our leaders of the next generation are not witnessing the intended function of Congress.

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I think we have reached a tipping point in this country.  Evil is showing its ugly face in unimaginable ways.  We must acknowledge its ability to reside amoung us and be curious enough to ask why it exists.  Only then can we learn together the path of the humble messenger that we all can become.  God help us…