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.

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!!

The Shrew View: Origins

I attended a workshop this past weekend put on by an organization known as Maine-Wananaki REACH.  This group focuses on decolonization and restoration of Maine for Wabanaki people who are the Indiginous tribes with original ties to the state we know as Maine.

The workshop began with introductions as we sat in a circle. The two moderators have been working with this program for several years, going to many churches, civic groups and private places of learning.  I believe one moderator said that she was part Native American.  As we went around the circle we spoke about the place where we were born and whether we knew the name of the tribe associated with our birth place.  Most folks had some idea of the tribe name, others were curious to know now that they had been asked and a couple folks shared that they had some Native American blood in their geniology.  I shared that growing up in Dorchester, Massachusetts I knew that there were many tribes that shared the land there, but was curious to know why tribes aligned themselves as a Confederacy.  The term confederacy describes a loose coalition of tribes having a shared government of power which is not highly organized as is the U.S. Constitution.  A Native American Confederacy is made up of many tribes in a region, many of which acquired their names from the “colonizers” based upon the location of their habitat.

Colonizer is the term given to those people who came to tribal lands and controlled the lands on behalf of a European King or Queen.  Curiously, in Ecology this term also refers to a plant or animal that establishes itself in an area.  As we know, ecology is the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings…The word “colonizer” does not hold a negative connotation for me because I tend to understand the term as a processional step toward new cultural systems theory.  More about that in a moment…
The workshop had all participants stand as representatives of the native Americans on a beautifully painted cloth map of the state of Maine.  Depictions of plants, animals and symbols Indiginous to the state were on various puzzle pieces lying connected together.  As the moderators narrated the story of colonization, pieces were removed and people were told to leave based upon conditions of disease, war, dis-honored treaties and child abduction with the native Americans until only less than 1% of the land and even less percent of the native Americans were left to see.  By the end of the exercise several of the participants were moved to tears.

After we gathered back in our circle, we related how the exercise effected us individually.  Many were astonished that they did not know any of the history that was related through the story telling.  Others thought that it was important to keep the information centered in the context of the times.  Many wanted to know how our state was making reparations if at all.  One of the moderators told us that the U.S. Government had done too much in the wrong way to “help” the Native Americans and that the Native Americans really wanted the Government to simply stop imposing on them.  I think this makes so much sense!

Discovery of the “New World” was bound to happen at some point in history. The fact that Europeans were industrious, curious and greedy was the product of centuries of colonization in that region and gave mankind endless possibilities of renewal within monstrous periods of distruction. This doesn’t make the power grabbers right, it actually points out that it is natural to our human condition. We are at a period now that allows us to put into perspective the wrongs of the past and endeavor to live in right relationship, but do we force that relationship to happen or do we understand the system and theory that brought us to this place in time so that we unite in a slow progression of wellness with each other? I believe that latter to be true! And which form of government allows the latter to happen? It is definitely a constitutional republic which honors the individual as the actuator of self determination under civil liberties and common law.

Watch out for the power grabbers. They will claim to have the moral upper hand when in actuality we know that morality is not rooted in power, morality is rooted and guided by principles which acknowledge the faults and aspirations of human nature. Watch how this is currently playing out in our political parties and much of our media…Are their actions forcing compliance or open to compromise? Are the foundational principles of our country honored or being ignored? Are you willing to go along to get along simply because it benefits your own situation? Or do you have the perspective and knowledge necessary to understand your role to ensure Liberty? You be the judge…