Ivan  Parkins

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©Ivan W. Parkins 2008,  All articles, text, web pages property of Ivan W. Parkins.  Use of any material requires permission of the author and can be obtained by contacting info@americanpoliticalcommentary.com

About Ivan W. Parkins:

Dr. Parkins is a retired professor of Political Science from Central Michigan University.  He received his PhD from the University of Chicago and is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.  Dr. Parkins served as a naval officer during WWII aboard the battleship Alabama.  He is a recent widower with three daughters, 3 grand children and 2 great grand children.  Dr. Parkins has written extensively, having authored 3 books and a newspaper opinion column for many years. 

Front Page

Inside This Issue

Front Page Archive 2008 Archive 2009

Page 2, Disassemble the House

Page 3, Media Bias

Page 4, Book Reviews

Page 5, War and Their Costs

Page 6, Broken Congress

Page 7, Dividing America

Page 8, Dividing America, Part two

Page 9, Disinformation, Liberal Ideology

Page 10, The Supreme Court and Judiciary

American Politics, Archives

COMMENTS

  REAL,

CONSTITUTIONAL, CHANGE

A REVIEW AND COMMENTARY

OF NEWT GINGRICH’S NEW BOOK, REAL CHANGE

By

Ivan W. Parkins

 

   REAL CHANGE is the title of Newt Gingrich’s new book.  I agree with most of the policies that he proposes; I also agreed with most of what he did as Speaker of the House.  But, I have grave doubts about the means by which he expects to accomplish so much.

   Mr. Gingrich himself cites an old axiom of Albert Einstein’s that doing more by the same methods that have failed repeatedly and expecting a different result is a sign of insanity.  Except for some other quotes that he cites, I might think Gingrich insane.  He also cites Eisenhower and Peter Drucker to the effect that often the answer to tough problems is to consider them as mere symptoms and attack the underlying cause.  That, I believe, is the way to real change in the performance of our government.

   Electing some other persons as Senators and Representatives and discarding a few dilatory rules of congressional procedure will only suppress a few symptoms.  The cancer has grown slowly and from causes that were largely obvious.  Huge growth in the population of the United States, even greater increase in our worldly economic and military power, and a transformation in the locus and focus of our information system have made Congress, especially the House of Representatives, dysfunctional.

     A growing separation between Representatives and the people whom they are expected to represent is obvious.  There is no way that a Representative can be “close” to more people than there are minutes in a year.  The almost year-around sessions allow congress persons fewer and fewer minutes to spend with constituents.  They have little practical choice but to cater to those who have the most to contribute to their reelections.

    Meanwhile, there is more public notice to be had by defying presidential leadership and partisan compromises than by cooperation in service to the nation.  That is especially damaging to national morale and to long-term policy formation.  Also more often than not destructive are numerous sensational investigations of the past, and often no longer significant, actions of the Executive and Judicial Branches.

     The necessary solution will be difficult, and its personal or partisan rewards will be remote.  Failing to take the hard course will assure that events will control us more and that we will control the events less. I.W. Parkins/70808

  MY ENVIRONMENTS:

1939-2008

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

   The tiny conservation organization that I helped to establish, and headed, in my pre-WWII high school caused me no grief.  We were only cooperating with an adult group to maintain game bird and fish populations in our part of Indiana.  Hungry “sportsmen” in the 1930s had decimated those populations.

   Following the war, my initiation into college teaching was different.  I came to it with some background from Professor Rex Tugwell, who had been prominent as a New Deal environmental planner.  Also, I read RESOURCES FOR THE FUTURE, the report of President Truman’s commission on that subject.  It appeared to me that beginning students, as part of an introduction to social sciences, should be made aware of how technological and industrial advances had altered, but not eliminated, man’s dependence on his environment.  That produced no complaints from students or administration.  But, in the small and informal faculty discussion group, to which I had been admitted as the junior member, better established “intellectuals” informed me that such stuff belonged in high school civics.  As the university’s leading classicist put it, “Nature leaves me cold.”

    By the time that I retreated from teaching, I was unhappy with the growing “environmentalism movement.”  It seemed to me that it was becoming, primarily, another of those avenues by which higher education was “coaching” college students, not how to be more thoughtful and responsible individuals, but how to win over and direct the larger American public.

    In nearly every matter of great public interest today the total information available is so complex and voluminous as to require severe selection before any practical use can be made of it.  That is what makes disinformation so dangerous.  And environmentalism has become a frightening channel of disinformation. I.W.Parkins 7/2008

                                 GREAT AWAKENING?

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

   Is environmentalism a third manifestation of the Great Awakening phenomenon that American historians have identified?  The first, in the eighteenth century, was mainly religious and educationally focused, a wave of enthusiasm that contributed to America’s sense of identity and desire for independence.  The second, in the nineteenth century, was religious and academic, and it contributed to the anti-slavery movement.  Now, Iain Murray contends,” . . environmentalism [has] begun to replace liberal Christianity as the Left’s motivating religious force.” He further asserts that environmentalism, in the fashion of Martin Luther, values “faith” more than good works.

 

   Murray’s book, “The Really Inconvenient Truths,” carries the subtitle “Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don’t Want You To Know About—Because They Helped Cause Them.”  The first and most gross catastrophe is the ban on DDT, with its huge, and continuing, toll of human lives, especially among Earth’s poorest people.

 

   I had not remembered that a DDT ban was enacted in Michigan the year that I moved here.  That preceded the international ban by five years.  And, Dutch elm disease is a continuing problem.

 

   Murray refers to research that shows sexually mutilated and declining fish populations suffer far more from the traces of birth-control chemicals in urban sewage than they do from industrial wastes.  Environmentalists remain much more interested in attacking industry than in the real problem.

 

   One especially interesting passage in the book describes the history of a natural wonder, identified, purchased, and preserved (with public access) for more than two centuries.  It is Natural Bridge in Virginia, and its original “warden” was Thomas Jefferson.

 

   Not only is environmentalism now highly organized, its top organizations pay their CEOs annual salaries ranging from $125,000 to $700,000.  Murray cites ten such organizations with recently reported top salaries averaging just over $200,000.

 

   Most significant of his criticisms is the contention that environmentalist work and money is focused, not directly upon protection of the environment, but indirectly, into lobbying and law suits directing governments to behave in ways that the environmentalists favor, largely towards socialism.

 

   Is environmentalism, today, a third Great Awakening, or is it a larger edition of THE BIG SLEEP—confusing, corrupt, and deadly?

 

ENVIRONMENTALISM

THE NEW RELIGION OF THE LEFT

The following series of articles have been compiled to illustrate how the left has used environmentalism through disinformation.

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

 Or How Misinformation Has Destroyed Many Lives

 

Recently, it was the birthday of Rachel Carson.  Her SILENT SPRING inspired the ban on DDT.    In just fifteen months we will have Lyndon Johnson's centennial.  He escalated the Vietnam War.

    Should we now have?    Buzz, buzz, and fatal sting,
                                                Thanks to Carson’s 
SILENT SPRING.

    To go with:                        Hey, hey, LBJ,
                                                How many kids did you kill today?

What's so gross about this?
      First:   LBJ's toll was tiny compared to Carson's.
      Two:   Carson's continues.
      Three: The less lethal policy was a conscious, though reluctant, decision.   The more lethal one was an ill-considered act of enthusiasm.
       Four:   Without "offsets," i.e. allowances for good and evil intent, it is             doubtful that even Hitler and his crowd inflicted as many deaths on helpless humans as Carson and her crowd have.
        Five:    How much of this have you heard before?

    Several African countries have reintroduced DDT to combat mosquitoes.  That again is helping to curb malaria.  Meanwhile the post-ban increase is estimated to have taken a million lives per year, or some tens of millions total.

I.W.Parkins, 7/07

PARKINS POINTS TO PONDER:

 

The First Amendment to our Constitution is not what the First Congress proposed for that spot.

 

Partisan divisions of Congress and the Presidency in the second half of the twentieth century differed extremely from those in the first half.

 

Since 1930, no Republican President has enjoyed a partisan congressional division as favorable as Clinton’s was in 1993-1994, but all other Democrat Presidents have fared better than Clinton.

 

If the average Representative were to spend 1000 hours per year meeting face-to-face with individual constituents, it would not be possible to spend 10 seconds with each constituent.

 

In just 5 weeks of 2006, Israel lost approximately twice (as a percentage of its population) as many soldiers in Lebanon as our military fatalities in five years of the “War on Terror”.

 

Just the increase of violent deaths domestically, among American youths in the 1960’s and ‘70’s, exceeded our combat fatalities in Vietnam.

 

According to the World Health Organization’s calculations of increased malaria deaths following the ban on DDT, that policy has already been more deadly than Hitler’s “final solution”.

 

The pension funds held by state and local governments, and by corporations, for their employees exceed the “National Debt”.

 

None of the above is a secret, but none is emphasized in the mass media.

 See attached link for more  information.  American Politics