Constitution 101 (9)

Lesson 9: “The Progressive Rejection of the Founding”

Study Guide

Overview:

Progressivism is the belief that America needs to move or “progress” beyond the principles of the American Founding. Organized politically more than a hundred years ago, Progressivism insists upon flexibility in political forms unbound by fixed and universal principles. Progressives hold that human nature is malleable and that society is perfectible. Affirming the inexorable, positive march of history, Progressives see the need for unelected experts who would supervise a vast administration of government.

Progressivism is rooted in the philosophy of European thinkers, most notably the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel. Progressivism takes its name from a faith in “historical progress.” According to the leading lights of Progressivism, including Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and John Dewey, human nature has evolved beyond the limitations that the Founders identified. Far from fearing man’s capacity for evil, Progressives held that properly enlightened human beings could be entrusted with power and not abuse it.

The Progressive idea of historical progress is tied to the idea of historical contingency, which means that each period of history is guided by different and unique values that change over time. The “self-evident truths” that the Founders upheld in the Declaration of Independence, including natural rights, are no longer applicable. Circumstances, not eternal principles, ultimately dictate justice.

If human nature is improving, and fixed principles do not exist, government must be updated according to the new reality. The Constitution’s arrangement of government, based upon the separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism, only impeded effective government, according to Progressives. The limited government of the Founding is rejected in favor of a “living Constitution.”

Beauty Falls from the Sky

When it slammed into the surface of Earth, there was little sign of the beauty that lay inside.

But cutting the Fukang meteorite open yielded a breathtaking sight.

Within the rock, translucent golden crystals of a mineral called olivine gleamed among a silvery honeycomb of nickel-iron.

The rare meteorite weighed about the same as a hatchback when it was discovered in 2000, in the Gobi Desert in China’s Xinjiang Province.

It has since been divided into slices which give the effect of stained glass when the sun shines through them.

An anonymous collector holds the largest portion, which weighs 925lb. This piece was expected to fetch $2million at auction at Bonham’s in New York – but it remained unsold.

It is so valuable that even tiny chunks sell in the region of $32 to $48 per gram.

Arizona’s Southwest Meteorite Laboratory, which holds about 70lb of the rock, says the remarkable find will turn out to be ‘one of the greatest meteorite discoveries of the 21st century’.

It says the Fukang specimen outshines all other known examples of the pallasite class, which makes up just one per cent of all meteorites. However, it is not the biggest – in 2005 space rock hunter Steve Arnold dug up a 1,400lb sample in Kansas.

The Arizona lab’s experts say pallasites, whose make-up of half nickel-iron, half olivine gives them their mosaic-like appearance, are ‘thought to be relics of forming planets’.

They are believed to originate from deep inside intact meteors created during the formation of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago and very few specimens are

Golden olivine meets silvery nickel-iron to create a stunningly beautiful mosaic effect

thought to have survived their descent through Earth’s atmosphere.

February 2005 saw the Chinese space rock transported all the way to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, in Tucson, Arizona.

The U.S. lab claims their polished slice of the original meteorite is the world’s biggest pallasite cross section, measuring 36in by 19in.

Attribution: Daily Mail

Joke of the Day

GENUINE COURT TRANSCRIPT…

Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.

The Real Political Science

 Even as climate alarmists amplify their call for a worldwide tax on carbon dioxide emissions in the name of preventing global warming – penguins, polar bears, Himalayan glaciers and Arctic sea ice are all thriving.

With dire proclamations of ice free Arctic summers vehemently debunked, the latest data indicates that both wildlife and the environment in earth’s coldest regions has not experienced the catastrophic devastation predicted as a result of man-made climate change.

Forecasts that Canada’s polar bear population would significantly decline due to global warming have been proven completely inaccurate. The latest study shows that the Hudson Bay area polar bear population has remained steady at around 1000 – the same number found by a 2004 study, confounding the “doom-and-gloom” predictions of environmentalists about the demise of the polar bear (which) have failed to come true,” reports the Canadian Press.

“We are not observing these impacts right at this moment in time. And it is not a crisis situation as a lot of people would like the world to believe it is,” said Drikus Gissing, Nunavut’s director of wildlife management.

Gissing added that their survey of Polar Bear population could yield twice as many as earlier predicted.

Meanwhile, Live Science reports, “A new study using satellite mapping technology reveals there are twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica than previously thought.”

Using state of the art technology that can single out penguins from other birds, researchers counted almost 600,000 penguins around the coastal regions, almost double the previous estimate of 270,000-350,000.

But it’s not just wildlife that is contradicting the claims of climate change alarmists, the environment itself is not behaving as global warming data models predicted.

Satellite data produced by French researchers shows that glaciers in the western Himalayan region are “putting on mass” rather than melting completely as doomsayers had warned in a 2007 UN IPCC report, which claimed that most of the region would be ice-free by 2035.

Despite the findings, BBC News, an ardent promoter of climate change propaganda, blamed the thickening of the glaciers on man-made global warming. When the earth last showed similar activity back in the 1970′s, the same scientific establishment, which now pushes anthropogenic global warming, blamed the changes on global cooling.

New research from the Arctic’s Bering Sea also found that ice is thickening.

“The amount of floating ice in the Arctic’s Bering Sea – which had long been expected to retreat disastrously by climate-alarmist organizations such as Greenpeace – reached all-time record high levels last month, according to US researchers monitoring the area using satellites,” reports The Register.

The article points to a 1999 Greenpeace prediction that sea ice in the area “could vanish altogether,” another piece of alarmist propaganda debunked by reality.

Despite a multitude of data that continually serves to eviscerate the pseudo-science behind man-made global warming, illustrating again that the earth has gone through natural warming and cooling cycles since its very genesis, climate change snake oil salesmen like NASA’s James Hansen, who this week will call for a global tax on CO2 emissions, continue to ignore real science in pursuit of their political agenda to exploit heartfelt environmental concerns for profit and power.

 Attribution: Paul Joseph Watson

Majoring in Marxism

From Erica Ritz of The Blaze:

Portland State University is offering a number of controversial courses this semester, the likes of which include “Revolutionary Marxism: Theory and Practice,“ and ”Art Within Activism” (though students are also welcome to take “Exploring Buffy the Vampire Slayer”).

The “Revolutionary Marxism” course is introduced in what appears to be the syllabus:

The onset of the Arab Spring, revolts in European capitals against austerity, and the emergence of Occupy Wall Street here in the US have made the need for understanding revolutionary political theories [more] urgent than ever.

This course is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts of Marxist thought with an emphasis on the practical applications of Marxist Theory in local political struggle. We will focus on four major areas throughout the semester, including the Fundamentals of Marxist Theory, Marxism and Oppression, Revolutionary Practice, and The Future of Socialism. In exploring these four areas of focus, the course will compare and contrast revolutionary Marxism to Stalinism, reformist socialism, leading academic interpretations of Marxism, as well as other radical leftist ideologies. [Emphasis added]

The course’s instructors, Grant Booth and Wael Elasady, are both admitted socialists. They define the course’s goals as:

1. Students will learn the fundamentals of Marxist theory

2. Students will apply a Marxist analysis to current events

3. Students will apply Marxist theory to local political and community organizing

Moreover, students will seemingly be required to forge a “community connection” with a local community/political organization from a specified list. Some of the “approved” organizations include: Occupy PSU, Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights, Occupy Portland, Portland Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions Coalition (BDS), Jobs with Justice, and the May Day Coalition.

Similarly, the “Art Within Activism” course is described:

Rediscover your radical imagination! This course will focus on creating art within Portland-based activist initiatives, such as marches, actions, and causes different grassroots community groups are working on, like the Occupy and Decolonize movements. We will experiment with applying diverse mediums—graphic design, social practice, printmaking, and sculpture—to actions seeking to resolve diverse problems—hegemony, biodiversity loss, immigrant detention, animal exploitation, debt, insufficient healthcare, etc.

The controversial courses are part of the Chiron Studies program, where qualified students can“propose and instruct official, for credit classes” with the university.

Someone at the school recently took some video of the marketing material for the courses

The Blaze attempted to contact numerous officials in charge of approving the courses, in addition to Wael Elasady (who teaches the “Revolutionary Marxism” course), in order to confirm the course details, but we did not hear back.

 That leaves a lot of unanswered questions, such as: Why is the taxpayer helping pay for these courses at a public university? With socialist professors and mandated participation with leftist groups, is the other side being presented at all?

Moreover, would Portland State University allow a “Limited Government: Theory and Practice“ course where students were forced to make a ”connection” with Tea Partiers and the NRA?

And when coupled with the likes of “Exploring Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” it’s not hard to figure out why the U.S. education system is under fire.

UPDATE: Wael Elasady, one of the professors of “Revolutionary Marxism: Theory and Practice,“ returned our call and wanted to clarify that students are free to ”apply a Marxist perspective” to any local community/political organization; the list of organizations on the syllabus are simply pre-approved.

 

Joke du Jour

A couple drove several miles down a country road, not saying a word.

An earlier discussion had led to an argument, and neither wanted to concede their position.

As they passed a barnyard of mules and pigs, the wife sarcastically asked, “relatives of yours?”

“Yep,” the husband replied, “In-laws.”

I Can See You

Google wowed the world this week with its Project Glass computer glasses – but the U.S. Army is investing in a technology one step ahead.

The Pentagon has placed an order with Innovega for lenses which focus 3D battlefield information from drones and satellites directly into people’s eyeballs.

The tiny ‘screens’ sit directly on users’ eyeballs and work with a pair of lightweight glasses with a built-in translucent screen.

The experience is equivalent to a 240-inch television viewed at a distance of 10 feet, says Innovega’s CEO Steve Willey.

‘Warfighters need to maintain their full vision while on the battlefield,’ says the company. ‘At the same time a tremendous amount of data, graphics and video are collected and are required by specific warfighters in the field.

‘Some is generated from remote cameras, drones, or satellites. Fully transparent video eyewear that is configured into standard issue field glasses would constitute an important step forward. Innovega is actively in partnership to develop this application.’

Crucially, the devices can be worn while moving about – previous bulky ‘VR headsets’ have blindfolded their users and can only be used sitting down.

The effect could be similar to the lenses worn by Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

DARPA – the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, thought of as the American military’s ‘mad scientist’ wing – has been funding research on ‘soldier mounted displays’ for some time, but previous versions have been bulky.

The lenses, made with nano-scale engineering processes,work as a hi-tech focusing device, which allows Innovega’s glasses to be considerably less bulky than previous devices.

The lenses themselves require no power, and thus can sit safely on the eyeball.

DARPA projects are often oddball technology, but it also has a history of far-sighted technological leaps.

DARPA invented the first virtual reality devices, and one of the precursors of the modern internet.

DARPA Says, ‘Innovega’s iOptiks are contact lenses that enhance normal vision by allowing a wearer to view virtual and augmented reality images without the need for bulky apparatus. ‘

 ‘Instead of oversized virtual reality helmets, digital images are projected onto tiny full-color displays that are very near the eye.’

These novel contact lenses allow users to focus simultaneously on objects that are close up and far away.’

Attribution: Daily Mail

Obama hearts the Second Amendment

The Obama camp, including the media, wasted no time trying to burnish President Obama’s Second Amendment credentials after Mitt Romney told a crowd at the National Rifle Association that the president was not protecting gun owners’ rights.

“We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners,” Romney said at the St. Louis convention. “President Obama has not. I will.”

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the president’s record “makes clear the he supports and respects the Second Amendment, and we’ll fight back against any attempts to mislead voters.”

The Associated Press jumped to Obama’s defense with a story that countered Romney’s words with statements such as “the topic has rarely arisen during (Obama’s) time in office.”

It’s the sort of reportorial assertion that masquerades as balance but is more likely to appear in a story about a GOP member slamming the president than vice versa.

Romney does have a changeable record on gun rights, having said in 1994, “I don’t line up with the NRA,” then becoming an NRA member a decade later. But at least his history moves in the right direction.

Obama’s camp seems to be promoting the thesis that because the president hasn’t pushed for outrageous limits on guns that he therefore is some sort of Second Amendment champion. The more likely truth is that he knows congressional resistance from Republicans is strong.

As is often the case with Obama, to discern his real position on gun issues, it’s useful to look at the people around him. Since taking office, the president has appointed a number of anti-gun zealots to high office, such as Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

Then there’s the Big Daddy of the anti-gun crowd, Eric Holder, who once talked about having to “brainwash” the public into being against guns, yet administered the Fast and Furious operation that put powerful U.S.-made weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.Romney also brought up a good point at the NRA conference, raising the question of President Obama’s recent open-mic comments to the Russian President Medvedev.

“In a second term, he would be unrestrained by the demands of re-election,” Romney said. “As he told the Russian president last month when he thought no one else was listening, after a re-election he’ll have a lot more, quote, ‘flexibility’ to do what he wants. I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that, but looking at his first three years, I have a very good idea.”

It’s not a minor point, especially with Obama’s recent executive order allowing him to declare martial law in peacetime without approval of Congress.

Attribution: Tad Cronn

Tanks Alot

From The Stuff that Intrerests Me Blog:

A while back I posted a pic of an American Sherman tank that had been upended by an explosion. A point of interest was that the tank was in the service of the Russians and part of the massive lend-lease program where the US and Britain supplied massive quantities of arms and armaments to Soviet Russia. Approximately 2000 M4 Shermans (75 mm gun) were supplied to the Russians. Frankly, that’s a lot of tanks. If memory serves me right an American Armored Division had roughly 200 medium and light tanks. This means, just counting the Shermans alone the US gave the Soviets enough tanks to initially equip the equivalent of ten divisions!

Why so generous you may ask? Why be so generous to Soviet, Communist Russia under Stalin, a man whose crimes were rivalled only by Hitler.

Most folks do not know or remember that Soviet Russia fought a war of aggression against tiny Finland in 1940 and make a pact with Hitler to divide Poland in 1939. Britain and France declared war on Germany for the Polish invasion but not Soviet Russia who invaded that poor country almost at the same time the Germans did.

So, why help Soviet Russia in 1941 when it’s clear that Stalin was as bad as Hitler if not worse, if you can imagine what worse would look like.

On June 22nd the Germans did invade Russian occupied Poland and then Russia itself. It’s possible they simply beat the Russians to the first punch. Soviet Russia had concentrated massive armies in the Ukraine. They had many more men and tanks in that area than they had along the Minsk-Smolensk highway that led to Moscow. You’d think if they were thinking defensively that most of their armies would be along the more direct route to their capital. They were not.

Some historians believe the Soviet Armies were in the Ukraine because they had ambitions on Romania, a German ally, but also a nation that disputed Russia’s claim to Moldova and Bessarabia, areas that contained many ethnic Romanians.

In any event, the Germans struck first and within two months of fighting, much of it along the Minsk-Smolensk highway , the Germans had inflicted millions of casualties on the Russians and destroyed a significant part of the Soviet tank force. By the end of November 1941 the Germans were in sight of Moscow and the Soviet government was near collapse.

The US did not enter the war until December, 1941 but had been giving Great Britain lend-lease aid almost from the beginning of the war in 1939. When Germany invaded Russia in June, 1941 the US also began lend-lease to Russia although still not formally in the war. In another way this was odd. Roosevelt was committed to Britain and it was only a matter of time before the US formally joined the war. The attack on Pearl Harbor just hastened the decision. Therefore, prior to the formal declaration of war the US was in the process of equipping its own divisions. So, when it came to lend-lease the US was sending Russia equipment at the expense of our own forming divisions.

Which brings me back to the initial question. Why help Stalin?

It was a pragmatic decision along the lines of the “enemy of my enemy is my friend.” War produces strange bed fellows that often get along well enough to defeat a common foe even though the reality is they hate their allies almost as much as their enemies.

Having said that there really was a better pragmatic reason to help Soviet Russia. The vast bulk of the German Army was in Russia. Should Russia surrender the bulk of the German Army could be transferred to the West. One American General remarked that if Russia failed it would debatable if the USA and GB could win. He didn’t think we’d lose. He just thought it would be difficult to win in a decisive way should Russia be taken out and the western allies had to face the bulk of the German Army. Fortress Europe just might have proven impossible to breach.

By December, 1941 it did look as if Russia just might collapse. It was around this time that Russia started to receive substantial numbers of American and British tanks.
Pictured left is an American light tank-the M3 Stuart and a medium tank-the M2 Lee in Russian service. The Stuart by all accounts was a great light tank. It was fast and it had a 37mm main gun which was not terrible in those early years of the war. The British loved their Stuarts and used them in North Africa against Rommel where they were called “Honeys.”

The M2 Lee was a different animal. It had the same 37mm gun the Stuart had but it was mounted on top of the turret. The Lee’s main weapon was a 75mm gun mounted in the hull which meant it had a limited traverse. At the time, it was the best the US had to offer since the Sherman had not yet produced in large numbers. The British used the Lee/Grant (M3) in North Africa too (as we did in late 1942 when we invaded N. Africa).

The LeeGrant was not popular and inferior to the German Pz IVf2 and upgraded PZ IIIm’s the Germans fielded in N. Africa. One officer complaining about the Lee’s very high-profile remarked that it looked like a cathedral coming down the road.

The Russians did not think much of them either but they were comparing them to their own excellent T-34. However, in the fall/winter of 1941-42 the Russians were desperate and they gladly received the Lee’s, the Stuarts and the British Matilda’s that were sent to them.

The Russians launched a winter offensive in December 1941 than continued through February, 1942. For much of the time the weather was blizzard or the temperature dropped to below 25 degrees Fahrenheit (or worse). The Germans planned to knock Russia out by the winter and were woefully unprepared for the Russian offensive and the weather and were pushed back a significant distance from Moscow. Stalin got the reprieve he needed to survive.

The lend-lease American and British tanks did not win the war for Soviet Russia but they did contribute in keeping Russia in the war and that’s what lend-lease was ultimately all about.