Thursday, April 30, 2009

Arthur Brooks on the economic spectrum

"To put a modern twist on the old axiom, a man who is not a socialist at 20 has no heart; a man who is still a socialist at 40 either has no head, or pays no taxes."

Of course, those who pay no taxes love socialism until they wake up one day and find their liberty and freedom has been incrementally stolen from them. By then it is too late to get it back.-dk

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Walter Williams on incivility

"Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we've become."

Of course the next logical step is either the downfall of the republic, a social revolution/civil war, or invasion and take over by a foreign nation. Can anyone say "Roman empire collapse part II?"-dk

Jonah Goldberg on dissent hypocrisy

It says something about the relationship of liberals to political power that they can overlook domestic dissent when they’re at the wheel. When the GOP is in office, America is seen as hopelessly divided because dissent is the highest form of patriotism. When Democrats are in charge, the Frank Riches suddenly declare the culture war over and dismiss dissent as the scary work of the sort of cranks Obama’s Department of Homeland Security needs to monitor.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The U.S. engaged in torture that was morally and legally legitimate?

The United States is currently in the grips of a contentious torture debate. For some answers, we must first outline the semantic facts to set the stage for reasoning.

The word torture comes from the word tort, first used in 1350-1400 meaning injury, wrong, or injustice. The word was later expanded to tortus meaning twisted, crooked, dubious and then torquere meaning to twist, wring. The specific word torture dates to the 1530s. Its original form was tortura, meaning a twisting, torment. The suffix, -ure, describes action, result, or instrument of, as in pressure (the action of pressing) or legislature (the action of legislating).

According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Torture means, to put to torture; to pain extremely; to harass; to vex; to wrest from the proper meaning; to keep on the stretch, as a bow; to punish with torture; to put to the rack.

Against this background which stops any hair splitting, let’s clear up the torture debate. Behavior towards another person called “torture” can either be a method of punishment or a method of harassment to vex (irritate, annoy, provoke) and wrest (to take away by force) by twisting a person (mentally, physically, emotionally) into telling the proper (truthful) meaning or information wanted. Torture then has two distinct meanings: one, which defines torture as punishment, and another, which defines it as a method to get to the truth.

The key to the debate is to delineate the morality and ethics of each type of torture and then compare what the U.S is doing against each moral backdrop. Those against the government’s torture methods only see torture as punishment. Those who approve of the government interrogation methods are viewing torture as a way to the truth. Both sides do not see torture from the same perspective and thus are at odds. The debate over torture then is really a debate over why it has been used, not if it can be used.

On the one hand, torture to punish is wrong under the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which protects against cruel and unusual punishments inflicted as result of the conviction of a crime. Punishment that is based on retribution for crimes requiring the infliction of torture for evil reasons is morally and ethically wrong. As such, torture methods used on prisoners by the U.S. government were not based on punishment for their behaviors on the battlefield.

On the other hand, the torture methods that were used to secure information are appropriate, as they were not being used as punishment. Torture on persons who had the truth as to potential attacks on the U.S. and its people were not inflicted for evil reasons as retribution for war, but quite to the contrary. The torture was used to extract the truth to protect innocent human beings from attacks against their persons and property. In its proper context, the torture used by the U.S. is morally justified and thus legal. In fact, not using techniques to protect people and their property, which is the number one responsibility of government, would be irresponsible at best and immoral at worst.

Torture for punitive evil retribution is abhorrent and should never be tolerated, and torture to secure information should not be used for light or transient causes. However, torture is justified in self-defense where innocent people are at risk of their lives from individuals who have information that if offered would lead to the protection of the people. Torture can be both immoral and moral depending on the reasons it is being used. As far as the current U.S. torture debate is concerned, the facts are clear and thus the issue is moot.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Prepare for unthinkable suffering?

Victor Davis Hansen sums up the brave new world that is 2009. The link to the full article is below.

"There have been a few crazy years like 2009 in American history — 1860, 1929, 1941, and 1968. And given what followed all of them, it might be wise to prepare for even crazier times for us ahead."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The psychology of a self-rightous worldview

Quote from a piece by Byron York titled, Why is the left so angry.

"People who are deeply invested in narcissism spend an awful lot of energy trying to maintain the illusion they have of themselves as being powerful and good, and they are exquisitely sensitive to anything that might prick that balloon.- "William Anderson, medical doctor, and a lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard.

It is no wonder the left's causes take on a pseudo-religious faith in their certainty ( warming), and why they advance their beliefs from a purely emotional and ideological dogma. Their anger is misdirected fear that their worldview might come crashing down, like a house of cards, if heaven forbid anything indeed challenged their "reality." It affirms a life of identity confusion being played out as self-assurednesss. -dk

Friday, April 17, 2009

Janeane Garofalo says what liberals actually think

Go here, at the 3 minute mark, for a video that will open your eyes into the psychology of the liberal left. This is not just one persons mindset, it is the thinking, belief, and ideology of those currently in power.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Paul Begala hypocrisy and the tea parties

When they have no awareness to the truth, or ability to function with reason, liberals go emotional with ad hominem attacks and smug elitist snipes that act as a substitute for accepting reality. How sad and dangerous.

Here are Begala's stunningly self-blind comments on the tea parties with analysis below.

“So why are a bunch of Fox News clowns and right-wing cranks hosting "tea parties" all over the country? The Boston Tea Party, in case the clods at Fox didn't know it, protested "taxation without representation." Note the second word: without. The goofballs tossing tea bags today have representation. They voted in the election; they lost.”

The people, who they swear they are fighting for, are clowns, cranks, and clods. His attitude is, we won, thus, we must be right. How condescending.

“That a bunch of overpaid media millionaires would lead a faux-populist revolt is comical. They somehow held their populist instincts in check as George W. Bush and the Republicans cut taxes on the idle rich and put the screws to the working stiffs.”

Irony alert, he probably makes a fine "overpaid" living and is in the "media" he belittles. I guess only his media is real media? Tax cuts are tax cuts- the only tax cuts that can hurt an economy are cuts that jeopardize protecting the people and their property. Spending is what hurt the economy which is the reason for the tea parties. Economics 101 anyone?

“Bush's tax policies were a godsend to the Paris Hilton class, but they sent the country on the road to bankruptcy and helped ruin the economy.”

The top 10% pay 76% of the taxes. the top 10% begins with a family income of $95,000 or mom and dad making $47,500 each. Those who pay are those who you can give a cut to. Stop the class warfare rhetoric Mr. Begala, its getting tedious. There is plenty of blame to go around Washington for the economic failures, left and right. At least be mature enough to admit that the economic crisis is a bipartisan screw-up.

“Give me a break. Instead of tossing tea bags for the cameras, the Fox phonies ought to go to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. There they would find better, braver men who have truly sacrificed for their country. They deserve nothing but the best -- not the shameful and shoddy conditions they endured during the Bush administration.”

Phony is the person who fights against the war, the funding of the war, and the troops fighting the war, and then uses the military as a shield to defend a position that is indefensible. What a disgrace.

“You want something to protest? How 'bout protesting how little we give back to our veterans? Or how 'bout protesting that the entire budget of the National Cancer Institute (where government researchers battle a disease that will strike half of all men and a third of all women) is 0.03 percent of what we gave the bandits at American International Group alone? Oh, but veterans benefits and cancer research might cost money. It might require -- dare I say it? -- paying taxes.”

Hypocrisy alert. Who attacked the veterans at every move during the Vietnam War? Who is suggesting today that Iraq war veterans are right wing radicals? The government is not responsible, nor is it able to be efficient, for solving cancer. The private sector has the incentives to cure cancer, so that is where the money goes. What part of the Constitution authorized the government to spend money to cure cancer?

“If the whiners at Fox News want to advertise their selfishness, they are free to do so. But please don't dress it up as patriotism. Patriotism is putting your country ahead of yourself -- which is the precise opposite of what the tea party plutocrats are doing.”

It sounds like the "selfish" one who is "whining" is Mr. Begala, who hides behind the word patriotism to attack American values shown at the tea parties from people he deems as wealthy "Plutocrats" who make between $30,000 and $90,000 a year. Paul Begala clearly has disdain for average Americans, average American values/principles, and an average America that is not aligned with his Utopian worldview and does not look like the elite world he lives in.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pirate economics

Jonah Goldberg seems to have common sense.
If more pirates were shot, there would be fewer pirates. Unlike, say, jihadist terrorists, pirates are in it for the money. Raise the cost of being a pirate — in denominations of pirate blood — and you’ll lower the supply of pirates. That’s how governments — good and bad — have dealt with piracy for thousands of years.

Oregon goes after beer drinkers

From the Wall Street Journal.
Today is the dreaded April 15, but at least in Oregon it's even going to cost you more to drown in your tax sorrows. In their sober unwisdom, the state's pols plan to raise taxes by 1,900% on . . . beer. The tax would catapult to $52.21 from $2.60 a barrel. The money is intended to reduce Oregon's $3 billion budget deficit and, ostensibly, to pay for drug treatment.
I guess the Oregon legislators did not learn about substitutes in economics class, or the ability for beer enthusiasts to drive to a neighboring state to buy beer. They will get the opposite of their intentions and it will hurt economic growth in the state. Another example of economic ignorance.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Paul Krugman's cognitive dissonance on the tea parties

What Paul Krugman thinks, most liberals think.

Krugman in quotes with the underlying meaning of his words following.

"But here’s the thing: the G.O.P. looked as crazy 10 or 15 years ago as it does now. That didn’t stop Republicans from taking control of both Congress and the White House. And they could return to power if the Democrats stumble."Interpretation: conservatives are not as smart as liberals and they only win office by force, corruption and fooling the people, not principles or the actual vote of a free people

"Last but not least: it turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects."Interpretation: only liberal ideas can create grass roots involvement, there is no possible way conservative ideas can possibly garner grass roots support.

"In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News."Interpretation: it's a vast right-wing conspiracy. what else could possible explain this.

"But that’s nothing new, and AstroTurf has worked well for Republicans in the past. The most notable example was the “spontaneous” riot back in 2000 — actually orchestrated by G.O.P. strategists — that shut down the presidential vote recount in Florida’s Miami-Dade County."Interpretation: there is no way the people would have voted for Bush in 2000, so they had to steal the election.

"So what’s the implication of the fact that Republicans are refusing to grow up, the fact that they are still behaving the same way they did when history seemed to be on their side? I’d say that it’s good for Democrats, at least in the short run — but it’s bad for the country."Interpretation: conservative thinking is wrong so they have to grow up and be as smart as us liberals are, since I am incapable of growing up and seeing reality, I will say it's not me that needs to grow up its them.

"For now, the Obama administration gains a substantial advantage from the fact that it has no credible opposition, especially on economic policy, where the Republicans seem particularly clueless."Interpretation: all conservative economic principles are wrong, which means free market capitalism is wrong, which means socialism is wright to Mr. Krugman.

"But as I said, the G.O.P. remains one of America’s great parties, and events could still put that party back in power. We can only hope that Republicans have moved on by the time that happens. " Interpretation: it seems as if Mr. Krugman is the one who needs to move on and grow up cognitively. He arrogantly is saying that maybe the conservatives will learn the truth. His projection of his own neurosis on the GOP shows his fear of looking at self. How condescendingly sad his words are.

Friday, April 10, 2009

State of Florida in violation of education rights

By Dean Kalahar

Every year students in Florida are being denied their education rights by the state university system. Throughout the state those who have followed the rules, worked hard to receive their A.A. degree, and believed that the education system would respect the law, will continue to have their civil rights violated. The statutes of the State of Florida, as well as the Florida Constitution are being ignored, and an investigation into this gross injustice must proceed immediately.

Florida has a program known as the 2+2 articulation system that connects the state community colleges with the state university system. Under the articulation agreement, students who attend and receive an Associates of Arts (A.A.) degree from a Florida community college are given a “seamless” transition into one of the eleven state universities “to facilitate efficient and effective progression and transfer of students between and among public postsecondary institutions.”

Section 1007.23 of the Florida Statutes, states that, “every associate in arts graduate of a community college shall have met all general education requirements and must be granted admission to the upper division of a state university except to a limited access or teacher certification program or a major program requiring an audition.”

According to the Statewide Secondary Articulation manual, “This “2+2” articulation system requires a commitment to mutual respect, equitable treatment of transfer students, and strong inter-institutional communication.” Sadly, the treatment currently offered is far from respectful, equitable, and open. In addition, the manual states “Students who graduate from a Florida community college with an Associate of Arts degree are guaranteed the following rights under the Statewide Articulation Agreement.” One of these rights is, “Admission to one of the 11 state universities, except to limited access programs.”

At issue is the fact that the university system is not following the articulation statutes and denying admission to qualified students in direct violation of the law. The system is either ignoring the law, or it does not have a system in place for finding appropriate university placement for qualified students. Whether out of ignorance to the law, as a result of unintended consequences in administering the law, or as a direct violation of state statues, the university system has acted inappropriately at best and unconstitutionally at worst. It would be wise to act quickly to remedy the injustice before a class action suit is filed by students who have been denied access under the law.

The typical response to the charges is to argue that admission is denied because the program is “limited Access,” or that the 2+2 agreement is only to ensure equal treatment with other students, not access. But whatever cognitive slight of hand is being used to avoid the situation, the law is clear in its wording. Even if the law says that a student will be guaranteed admission to (at least) “one of the eleven state universities,” the lack of articulation between the 11 schools in the application process prohibits a student --who may apply to all 11 schools-- from being placed.

The university system is ultimately in charge of the application and deadline procedures and is thus accountable to ensure placement of students who qualify. It is not the responsibility of the student to work through the maze of eleven universities to search for a school that will “guarantee” their acceptance. This would be against the spirit and letter of the law as written.

Lastly, the schools have set up appropriate barriers to make student eligibility for the 2+2 plan more difficult to meet. “Higher grade point average and/or higher test scores, additional courses or prerequisites, or auditions and/or portfolios.” Even with such strict pre-requisites, students who are meeting, or exceeding, every requirement are still being denied access to any program of studies, even if it is not the student’s first choice.

Article 1 Section 9 of the Florida Constitution states, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” In this case, property includes a student’s right to their education. The Board of Governors of the State of Florida is in violation of this sacred trust. It is time to stand up for justice against the legal violations perpetrated upon the youngest adults of Florida.


Section 1007.23, Florida Statutes, and Chapter 6A-10.024, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.)/Board of Governors (BOG) Articulation Regulation

Notes: bold in quotes is by the author

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Our Problem is Immorality

Excerpts from a great piece from Walter E. Williams.

Most of our nation's great problems, including our economic problems, have as their root decaying moral values. Whether we have the stomach to own up to it or not, we have become an immoral people left with little more than the pretense of morality. . .

Do you believe that it is moral and just for one person to be forcibly used to serve the purposes of another? And, if that person does not peaceably submit to being so used, do you believe that there should be the initiation of some kind of force against him? . . .

In thinking about questions of morality, my initial premise is that I am my private property and you are your private property. That's simple. What's complex is what percentage of me belongs to someone else. If we accept the idea of self-ownership, then certain acts are readily revealed as moral or immoral. Acts such as rape and murder are immoral because they violate one's private property rights. Theft of the physical things that we own, such as cars, jewelry and money, also violates our ownership rights. . .

Unfortunately, there is no way out of our immoral quagmire. The reason is that now that the U.S. Congress has established the principle that one American has a right to live at the expense of another American, it no longer pays to be moral. . .

Victor Davis Hanson on what liberals believe in

A must read

A road not traveled by Americans, yet

By Dean Kalahar

History has shown that nations go through an evolutionary process and either flourish or die. The people of America now face a critical political and cultural question that will determine its long term viability. Do we remain uniquely American, or do we make a fundamental shift and follow the European socialist model in society and politics? The decision we make will affect generations of Americans and so it must not be taken lightly. In this time of uncertainty, a clear and concise interpretation of the situation, as well as a frank discussion of our choices, needs to be outlined.

Charles Murray, who holds a B.A. in history from Harvard and a Ph.D. in political science from M.I.T., may hold the key. He recently gave a speech to The American Enterprise Institute, titled Europe Syndrome, which was both intellectual in its depth and poignant in its content. It serves as the perfect backdrop for guiding America as it faces a pivotal moment in history.

Murray begins his discussion by defining our unalienable right to happiness as a lasting, justified, and deep satisfaction with life as a whole. In other words, “things we look back upon when we reach old age that lets us decide if we can be proud of who we have been and what we have done.” This is in stark contrast to the conventional definitions of happiness meaning simple prosperity, security or equality of results.

“To become a source of deep satisfaction, a human activity has to meet some stringent requirements. It has to have been important. You have to have put a lot of effort into it. And you have to have been responsible for the consequences.” What qualifies as meeting these requirements? Having been a good parent, a good husband/wife, a good neighbor, a good friend, and having been really good at something that drew the most from your abilities. Family, community, vocation and faith are the institutions through which human beings achieve “the stuff of life” and find happiness. They make up “the elemental events surrounding birth, death, raising children, fulfilling one's personal potential, dealing with adversity, intimate relationships--coping with life as it exists around us in all its richness.”

Next, Murray defines how proper government must facilitate happiness. He quotes James Madison: “fidelity to the object of government, which is the happiness of the people; secondly, a knowledge of the means by which that object can be best attained." In other words, government’s job is to protect satisfaction with life as a long term whole and work in ways to best facilitate its fruition. To secure happiness, the goal of social policy, then, is to ensure that the institutions of family, community, vocation, and faith are robust. Government does this by not intruding on their elemental functions.

By these definition, Murray argues, the European socialist model is fundamentally flawed and is not suited to create happiness because “it drains too much of the life from life.” In other words, European government policy and the culture it creates ignore the vital social institutions which give the transcendent meaning to life or an appreciation of "a life well-lived." In fact, the European model “enfeebles every single one of them.”

The reason Socialist governments enfeeble is that they promote government policies that “take some of the trouble out of things.” And “every time the government takes some of the trouble out of performing the functions of family, community, vocation and faith, it also strips those institutions of some of their vitality.”

Families are not vital because the day-to-day tasks of raising children and being a good spouse are so much fun, but because the family has responsibility for doing important things that won't get done unless the family does them. Communities are not vital because it's so much fun to respond to our neighbors' needs, but because the community has the responsibility for doing important things that won't get done unless the community does them. Once that imperative has been met--family and community really do have the action--then an elaborate web of social norms, expectations, rewards and punishments evolves over time that supports families and communities in performing their functions. When the government says it will take some of the trouble out of doing the things that families and communities evolved to do, it inevitably takes some of the action away from families and communities, and the web frays, and eventually disintegrates.

Murray explains that people need to do important things with their lives, and the sources of deep satisfactions are the same for janitors as for CEOs. But here is a big difference. “When the government takes the trouble out of being a spouse and parent, it doesn't affect the sources of deep satisfaction for the CEO. Rather, it makes life difficult for the janitor. A man who is holding down a menial job and thereby supporting a wife and children is doing something authentically important with his life. He should take deep satisfaction from that, and be praised by his community for doing so.” But when the government takes the trouble out of things by promoting policies that take away that which gives us deep satisfaction, the status for the janitor goes away, and the social fabric erodes.

Look at any one of many “American neighborhoods where, once, working at a menial job to provide for his family made a man proud and gave him status in his community, and where now it doesn't.” Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum as Murray recounts, drive through rural Sweden, in every town is a beautiful Lutheran church, freshly painted, on meticulously tended grounds, all subsidized by the Swedish government. And yet the churches are empty, including on Sundays. “Taking the trouble out of the stuff of life strips people of major ways in which human beings look back on their lives and say, ‘I made a difference." Taking trouble out of life strips people of their ability for happiness which should be unconscionable to any enlightened thinker.

Murray calls this disconnect from the happiness of life, the Europe Syndrome, or the spreading mentality that "a life well-lived" does not have meaning for them. The purpose of life then is to while away the intervening time as pleasantly as possible. “What is left is a life lived “in the moment,” “having a great time with their current sex partner, new BMW, and vacation home in Majorca.”

If that's the purpose of life, then work is not a vocation, but something that interferes with the higher good of leisure. If that's the purpose of life, why have a child, when children are so much trouble--and, after all, what good are they, really? If that's the purpose of life, why spend it worrying about neighbors? If that's the purpose of life, what could possibly be the attraction of a religion that says otherwise?

The same self-absorption in whiling away life as pleasantly as possible explains why Europe has become a continent that no longer celebrates greatness. When life is a matter of whiling away the time, the concept of greatness is irritating and threatening. What explains Europe's military impotence? If the purpose of life is to while away the time as pleasantly as possible, what can be worth dying for?

Those who have fallen prey to cultural emptiness see no voids in their lives that need filling and have lost the ability to demand of government the right to capture deep satisfaction through appropriate policy decisions.

Sadly, every element of the Europe Syndrome is infiltrating American life and there is every reason to believe that when Americans embrace the European model, they begin to behave like Europeans.

And yet Murray says there is reason for strategic optimism. We who think that the Founders were right about the relationship of government to human happiness will have an opening over the course of the next few decades to make their case. Not only is the “European model inimical to human flourishing,” 21st-century science is going to explain why. Specifically, the social sciences are increasingly going to be shaped by the findings of biological neuroscientists and geneticists.

These findings will fundamentally alter two premises about human beings are at the heart of the social democratic agenda: what Murray labeled "the equality premise" and "the New Man premise."

The equality premise says that, in a fair society, different groups of people--men and women, blacks and whites, straights and gays, the children of poor people and the children of rich people--will naturally have the same distributions of outcomes in life--the same mean income, the same mean educational attainment, the same proportions who become janitors and CEOs. When that doesn't happen, it is because of bad human behavior and an unfair society. For the last 40 years, this premise has justified thousands of pages of government regulations and legislation that has reached into everything from the paperwork required to fire someone to the funding of high school wrestling teams. Everything that we associate with the phrase "politically correct" eventually comes back to the equality premise. Every form of affirmative action derives from it. Much of the Democratic Party's proposed domestic legislation assumes that it is true.

He believes within a decade, no one will try to defend the equality premise because research will show that “groups of people will turn out to be different from each other, on average, and those differences will also produce group differences in outcomes in life, on average, that everyone knows are not the product of discrimination and inadequate government regulation.” Because of this, “the success of social policy will be measured not by equality of outcomes for groups, but by open, abundant opportunity for individuals. It will be measured by the freedom of individuals, acting upon their personal abilities, aspirations and values, to seek the kind of life that best suits them.”

The second bedrock premise of the social democratic agenda is the “New Man premise” which says that “human beings are malleable through the right government interventions.” This leads us back to the idea that the socialist agenda can fix or perfect man’s negative nature by “taking some of the trouble out of things.”

There is a blind lack of insight among the socialist mindset that “human nature tightly constrains what is politically or culturally possible,” and Murray notes that new findings in evolutionary psychology and genetics will broadly confirm that human beings are pretty much the way that wise human observers have thought for thousands of years. These findings will re-affirm that hard work and happiness gained as a result of government allowing social institutions to flourish unfettered can be the only moral legislative policy.

Social democrats will simply have to stop making glib claims that the traditional family is just one of many equally valid alternatives. They will have to acknowledge that the traditional family plays a special, indispensable role in human flourishing and that social policy must be based on that truth. The same concrete effects of the new knowledge will make us rethink every domain in which the central government has imposed its judgment on how people ought to live their lives--in schools, workplaces, the courts, social services, as well as the family.

The 20th century was “the adolescence of Homo sapiens,” according to Murray, because it was “riddled from beginning to end with toxic political movements and nutty ideas.” And 20th-century intellectuals reacted precisely the way that adolescents react when they think they have figured out life, they assume the grown-ups are wrong about everything and press ahead with smug self-assurance.

Murray reminds us the nice thing about adolescence is that it is temporary, and, when it passes, people discover that their parents were smarter than they thought. The good news is that we're growing out of adolescence and the kinds of scientific advances in understanding human nature are going to accelerate that process. All of us who deal in social policy will be forced into “thinking more like grown-ups” that “must be translated into a kind of political Great Awakening--‘renewals of faith, felt in the gut’--among America's elites.”

Murray says that social engineers have to ask themselves how much they really do value what has made America exceptional: qualities such as American optimism, a lack of class envy, and the assumption by most Americans that they are in control of their own destinies. They then must ask themselves what they are willing to do to preserve it?

American exceptionalism has “come from the cultural capital generated by the system that the Founders laid down, a system that says people must be free to live life as they see fit and to be responsible for the consequences of their actions; that it is not the government's job to protect people from themselves; that it is not the government's job to stage-manage how people interact with each other. Discard the system that created the cultural capital, and the qualities we love about Americans can go away. In some circles, they are going away.”

Murray focuses on elites in urging a Great Awakening because he says it's the top that has such decisive influence on American culture, economy, and governance, even though elites make up only a small percentage of the population. Unfortunately, elites have increasingly been withdrawing from American life on both sides of the political spectrum. This is a significant part of the problem.

Not so long ago, the overwhelming majority of the elites in each generation were drawn from the children of farmers, shopkeepers and factory workers--and could still remember those worlds after they left them. Over the last half century, it can be demonstrated empirically that the new generation of elites have increasingly spent their entire lives in the upper-middle-class bubble, never even having seen a factory floor, let alone worked on one, never having gone to a grocery store and bought the cheap ketchup instead of the expensive ketchup to meet a budget, never having had a boring job where their feet hurt at the end of the day, and never having had a close friend who hadn't gotten at least 600 on her SAT verbal. There's nobody to blame for any of this. These are the natural consequences of successful people looking for pleasant places to live and trying to do the best thing for their children.

This disconnect within the elite American mindset will create an America that is not what we are use to thinking about when we think about America.

Murray states “soberly and without hyperbole, that this is the hour. The possibility that irreversible damage will be done to the American project over the next few years is real.” We as Americans must undergo a re-awakening to ensure that the vital natural law of happiness is preserved by focusing on government that moves in the authentically American direction in lieu if the European socialist vision.

He says it won't happen by appealing to people on the basis of lower marginal tax rates or keeping a health care system that lets them choose their own doctor. The drift toward the European model can be slowed by piecemeal victories on specific items of legislation, but only slowed. To save America we must focus not on a “glossy life” but a “textured life” in “the midst of others who are leading textured lives.” To do this Americans must liberate from the bonds of government, institutions that are “the stuff of life,” through which human beings achieve deep satisfactions and true happiness: family, community, vocation and faith. We must “cope with life as it exists around us in all its richness if we are to be free and fulfill our destinies.”