Ivan W. Parkins
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Perspectives For American Society
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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.
Inside This Issue
Disassemble the House
War and Their Costs
Dividing America, Part two
Disinformation, Liberal Ideology
The Supreme Court and Judiciary
The Presidency, Part One
The Presidency, Part Two
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL,
September 6, 2008 (not published)
Professor Alan Brinkley’s THE PARTY’S OVER, featured in WEEKEND JOURNAL, September 6-7, deserves a high grade for the facts and trends summarized and a poor mark for the related facts and trends neglected.
Among the neglected are:
In 1956 President Eisenhower, reelected in a landslide, became the first President in American history to have won office with a popular majority and to face a new Congress controlled by the other party.
The traditional partisan unity of the three elected branches continued after that for Democrat Presidents who won popular majorities, but for none of the several Republicans (including landslide winners Nixon ‘72 and Reagan’ 84) – until George W. Bush in 2004.
Democrat Carter, winner by 50.1% in ’76, got larger congressional majorities, both houses, than any Republican President has ever had. Clinton, winner in ’92 with 43% of the popular vote, got larger congressional majorities (’93-94) than any Republican President has had since the 1920s. Clinton was also distinguished by becoming the third President, since popular election of Electors became common, to win two terms without a popular majority either time.
Since Franklin Roosevelt entered the Presidency, Congress has shared the party of Republican Presidents in only six years, and all of those were by narrow margins.
My conclusions: without great and somewhat balanced attention to both sides, as in most presidential races, the party favored by the media of information, academic as well as journalistic, dominates. Thus, the House is now practically a Democrat precinct; the Senate leans Democrat; Presidents, especially popular ones, are soon greatly diminished in office.
I.W. Parkins, 90608
The Political Long View
This commentary (web site) is based on Dr. Parkins observations and experience in American Politics over the last 8 decades. As a result, there are observations on the current issues of today and then a related article from the archives of Dr. Parkins. The following series of articles concern the disinformation by the left on the economy and the media.
Or the Jig is Up, the disinformation of the left
By Ivan W. Parkins
An old philosopher said: those who do not study history are condemned to relive it.
To that, I add: but, that drowns the joy of feeling creative while repeating old errors.
In 1952 (we) Democrats nominated Adlai Stevenson, age 52 of Illinois, as our presidential candidate. Like Barack Obama, he was a charming and eloquent man. He was the favorite of most intellectuals, especially young college graduates.
Stevenson differed from Obama in that he had been a special assistant to Secretary of the Navy Knox during WWII; had, at the request of the Department of State helped to promote the United Nations, and later become our Delegate there; had won the Governorship of Illinois by the largest popular plurality in the state’s history, and made significant reforms there.
Also in 1952, (our) Democrat Platform called for: greater reliance upon the UN; increased nuclear disarmament; more spending for social welfare; “a full and integrated program of development, protection, management, and conservation of all of our natural resources;” plus, greater peaceful use of nuclear power. It denounced Republicans as “amateurs” and as “dominated by representatives of special interests.”
Of course, Stevenson and Democrats were at a disadvantage compared to Obama today. Eisenhower was still the revered “old soldier.” And, the great disinformation machine that has now grown out of television, huge college faculties and student bodies, and the celebrated Hollywood Left was in its infancy. But, that machine’s glory years were 1968-2000; it is now beginning to creak.
THE HOUSING CRISIS
By Ivan W. Parkins
If the current housing bubble is to be officially investigated, and it surely will be, I’d like to suggest more than just the “usual suspects.” The bubble developed from two major phenomena. One was speculation in markets with rapid price increases. The other was too many unqualified buyers.
No doubt speculation itself is a factor, but it is by no means alone as a cause of price increases. Population increases within a limited area are another large factor. And, that factor has sometimes been increased by unnecessarily restrictive zoning, some of it prompted by environmental extremists. Speculation requires advertising and finance; we have too many institutions that profited from both.
Unqualified buyers may themselves be more sinned against than sinners. Perhaps salespersons who won bonuses should be held liable, at least to the extent of their own “takes” from sales that resulted in early foreclosures. And in this regard, at least one national figure became famous for the pressures that he generated upon lenders to accommodate his “brothers.”
I.W. Parkins, 91208
By Ivan W. Parkins
There are few subjects about which disinformation is more prevalent than about our economy. For decades opinion surveys have found that most Americans are more optimistic about their own economic future than about that of the nation. Individuals answer such questions about their own case from experience; their responses regarding the national economy come mostly from what they learn in the media. And the media emphasize the negatives.
National statistics comparing family incomes over time are terribly misleading unless they make difficult allowances for the changes that take place in the numbers and ages of family members. Comparisons of worker incomes over time are largely meaningless unless they include benefits such as insurance and paid holidays.
The national economy does fluctuate up and down over time, but much less radically than it used to. Too much is made of the year or administration in which each change occurs. In President Clinton’s first campaign he talked of making our economy more like with those of Germany and Japan; in his second campaign that was not an issue. Presidents Reagan and Bush (’41) took lots of heat for policies that enabled our businesses to become more competitive. That, and the end of the Cold War, was Clinton’s inheritance. George Bush (’43) inherited an economy in which the Dot-Com Boom had recently crashed and the Twin-Towers fell soon after.
As a professor, I often invited students to make me President-- for one term only. I would cut taxes, balance the budget, offer better retirements, and reduce the debt. Those who came after me could pay for it. Our national budget contains far too many details, and very little realistic accounting for maintenance of capital (road, bridges, armaments, and parks). It is an old and primarily political device.
Keep in mind, also, Presidents are the chief targets of both the praise and the condemnation for the state of the economy. Congresses enact the laws, especially the budget. And, for decades now the Democrats have dominated Congress. I.W. Parkins, 91408
LETTER TO THE EDITOR, University of Chicago Magazine, Nov/Dec ‘ 71:
To The Editor: Has the rebellion of youth really been revolutionary in nature? My question is not meant to discredit Ralph W. Conant, whose article [“The Prospects for Revolution,” May/June ‘71] appears to be a competent and rational summary of events from the prevailing academic viewpoint. I aim to challenge the rationale, which my colleagues have made conventional. Their interpretation of youth’s rebellion is, I contend, narrow, self-serving, and inadequate. Among other things, calling the rebellion revolutionary suggests that it moves with the current of history. Does it? May it not be counterrevolutionary?
The counter posing of youthful protesters and the greater part of America’s institutional leadership need not imply that youth is free of parochial attitudes. When Conant refers to what “youth saw” he seems to imply that the vision of youth was especially clear, but the youths in question were much too old to be untouched by social affectations. Thus it may have been the specific nature of their biases, which distinguished them. Since rebellion has been centered in our most prestigious institutions and departments of higher learning, it is convenient for academics to believe that the rebels have been especially perceptive. A contrary view would almost certainly raise questions about the quality of higher education.
Are protesting students speaking with incisive candor, or do they mouth the cant of a divergent subculture? Do they speak primarily for a movement of their own, or as “nouveaux savants” anxious to proclaim their membership in a privileged class whose mature members are more discrete? Are they actually opposing conspicuous consumption, or is their education itself a socially accepted waste? Is the depth of their concern for the rights of disadvantaged minorities to be measured by their own testimony, or by their inclination to mix defense of those rights with such trivia as long hair and pot? Does the appeal of the McCarthy and Lindsay type of leader rest upon records of service, or upon reasonable anticipation of performance, or is it chiefly a matter of style?
Questions about student life styles and curriculum requirements, as well as those about Communists on campus, strike me as being peripheral in significance. The key questions have to do with the nature and role of liberal education in a society where leisure and information are abundant. Should we anticipate that thinking of the most creative and humane sort will “trickle down” only from a few cultivated minds, or have the numerous and varied people who occupy the remainder of society major contributions to make?
Generation gaps and alienation are commonly used to describe the division between youths, especially those educated in the liberal arts departments of our leading colleges and universities, and the political leaders and private citizens who are sometimes identified as the silent majority. It is a crucial part of my case that, while the latter group have made numerous concessions to reconcile protesting youth, the protesters have utilized everything from outlandish dress and obnoxious language to planned insults and acts of destruction to assure that the gap remained, a gap they view as the result of an intellectual and moral lag in the rest of society. To compromise would therefore be degrading.
In March of 1968, Senator Fulbright interrupted Secretary of State Rusk with the admonition that the senators needed no lectures on patriotism but that they were concerned about the “pigheadedness” which seemed to guide American policy. Usually, men of Fulbright’s standing manage, as befits their advanced achievements in intellectual style, to be more circumspect. The Senator’s outburst was significant. From the protest viewpoint, the division in America has been between the pig heads who react to conventional symbols of patriotism and piety and those discerning individuals who perceive and pursue humane values. That estimate of America’s social division is now dramatized in the CBS program “All in the Family.”
Television deserves far more attention in explanations of the youth rebellion than Conant gave to it in his article. How else could a burgeoning youth movement have learned so quickly to identify its leaders, its issues, and its most effective tactics? Where else have persons of liberal learning expressed themselves so freely to such wide audiences as they have in the news and public affairs programs of television?
Freedom, especially freedom of verbal expression, has been a major issue of the rebellion. Is a laissez faire approach to verbal expression inherently more valid than a similar approach to business enterprise? May not both have acquired their aura of sanctity as political objectives of privileged groups? Does unlimited freedom for intellectuals to attack the symbols by means of which less articulate people communicate contribute to knowledge and communication, or does it amount to a unilateral privilege of aggression? I suggest that the readiness with which the more articulate professions deny that social harm and personal injuries result from unbridled use of language is as crass a bit of hypocrisy as any elite has ever advanced in rationalizing its own privileges….
By Ivan W. Parkins
Our politics are too much driven by what the media say at the moment. Yesterday, September 18, even THE WALL STREET JOURNAL carried a front page story headed “Worst Crisis Since ‘30s,. . .”. They might have noted that in one day of 1987 the Dow fell by over 23%, about as much as it has lost in the past year, and unemployment was higher then.
Has government intervened too much or too little? In 1977 the Community Restoration Act required that lenders invest more among people who failed to meet the usual requirements for borrowers. That was reinforced in 1999 by legislation promoted by President Clinton and enacted by large majorities of Congress.
Derivatives spread risks among financial institutions. Was it too little, or the wrong kind of, regulation that contributed to this crisis?
Some important Members of Congress, many of them being designers and builders of SS Titanic, want to know who will be first in the life-boats before rushing to prevent it from sinking.