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On the Inside
In This Issue:
¨ The Marriage Institution
¨ Out Most Corrupt Branch
¨ All the News
¨ Free Markets
¨ American’s Crisis
¨ Man: A Long View
THE MARRIAGE INSTITUTION
Traditional, one man and one woman, marriage is an
institution much older, and perhaps more vital to the
future of America, than the Constitution.
By Ivan W. Parkins
Gay marriage has recently been banned by a substantial majority of California voters, but that was overturned by a federal district court judge citing broad/thin “equality” grounds.
Historically, marriage between a man and a woman is an institution of most cultures, older and more deeply rooted than institutions such as democracy and constitutionalism. Its primary function is to encourage and foster the preservation of the society itself, by means that will produce and nourish children. It is not something to be altered lightly by any society/nation that expects to survive.
Once, a century and a half ago, we dealt with the legality of equal rights for Americans of different races, our most bloody war. And it took another century of civil and legal efforts to make that outcome reasonably effective.
Just extending voting rights to women and eighteen year olds, during the past century required Constitutional Amendments XXIV and XXVI. To treat a major alteration of the marriage institution more lightly would be, at best, ridiculous.
OUR MOST CORRUPT BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT?
By Ivan W. Parkins
Yes, it is the House of Representatives! Yes, the cases against Representatives Rangel and Waters should go forward, even though many of their colleagues have committed similar offenses. It will help to inform the voters.
Our political system is failing in many respects. The most obvious center of most failure is the House of Representatives. Some causes of the failure are impersonal social trends. Even there, however, individual Representatives and the major political parties share some blame for the ease with which they have adapted to social trends that served them well, but did not serve representation or the nation.
Rapid population growth was expected even by the Framers of our Constitution. They, the First Congress, attempted to provide for it with their first (never ratified) proposal of amendment. Congresses attempted after each census to provide, but could not keep up without creating a body too numerous to work together and legislate effectively. About a century ago they fixed total membership at 435. The population of the United States has tripled since then. See my proposal on addressing this key issue
(The following article is a reprint from
January of 2008 –Ed.)
AMERICA’S CRISIS, 2008
Or How the Media makes Popular Presidents Impotent
By Ivan Parkins
During the Franklin Roosevelt Administration, and for about a decade after, “liberal” academics contended that strong executive leadership had rescued our divided political system. The weakness, an inability to control powerful minority interests, was not represented in the presidential administrations of the two Roosevelt’s, Lincoln and Jackson. They had supposedly rescued America by an ability to control powerful minority interests. I did, and I do, subscribe to that broad thesis.
What materialized during the Vietnam War, and especially in the 1968 elections, was the rise of a new special interest or elite. Burgeoning college enrollments, new and more pervasive media communication, private foundations, etc. created a rapidly growing mass of extensively schooled and nationally organized persons. Dominating, as they did and still do, the main channels of communication, they maligned old institutions and elites. Meanwhile, they made themselves the most politically potent and legally protected elite- and ultimately the enemies of strong Presidents.
In this nation, a clear and lasting majority of the public can accomplish almost anything, politically. But only a talented and vigorous President is able to assemble and maintain majority support. In the late twentieth century, with the outlets for political information more centralized and united than ever before, we had conflicts on an unprecedented scale between professional communicators and those Presidents who won the largest popular majorities at the polls.
Americans are now understandably confused and depressed. The solution, I’m convinced, is more diverse information and accountability of professional communicators regarding the information that they disseminate.
The First Amendment should not canonize professors, journalists, artists, or protesters. I.W. Parkins, January 25, 2008
Post Script (August 9, 2010)
The future of the Obama Administration will test whether or not America is to be governed, primarily, by a new set of institutions.
Is the Obama Administration an instrument of the American people, or is it the instrument of a new special interest, the information media?"
MAN: A LONG VIEW
By Ivan W. Parkins
The species Homo Sapiens is engaged in the most grand of adventures. Other species also seek to survive and to thrive. We alone, are able to refine and extend our comprehension of the universe and to consciously enhance our survival capacity. Among our greatest problems is how to enable more of our species to participate meaningfully and cooperatively in this grand adventure.
The varied ethnic and cultural groups of our species are both an advantage and a problem. It is advantageous that we are not all equally dependent upon the same resources and the same climatic conditions. It is burdensome and dangerous that some portions of our species feel a need to contend destructively against others.
Our history, from the earliest evidences to the present, is essentially one of extending our cooperation over space and the increasing numbers of humans who inhabit it. Although many basic features of individual and family lives remain much the same, the extent and structures of our larger groups have changed radically, And, all-in-all, we have progressed and prospered in both our total numbers and the security of our individual lives.- I.W. Parkins, 6/2008
By Ivan W. Parkins
The following are brief adaptations from columns that I did in the local BUYER’S GUIDE during 1980.
A simplified, money, value system and free market exchange are much of what makes capitalism function.
How is it that hundreds of millions of people can each contribute his own kind of work and each receive numerous products of his own choosing? The substitution of more complex, word based, value systems, i.e. regulations, greatly complicates and almost invariably delays, exchanges.
Authors of THE FEDERALIST, more than two centuries ago were well aware of the danger:
“Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any manner affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest for those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens.”
According to an article in FORTUNE, 8/14/78, Congress tried to prove that point. In that earlier oil crisis it enacted a subsidy to help small refiners. The subsidy was so generous that new small refineries were created, not to refine oil (they were too inefficient) but to profit from the subsidy. Does that sound like ethanol to you?
If that is not convincing, consider the effects upon poor Africans and some others of our banning DDT. Malaria, a major plague to humans throughout history, had been declining rapidly. With the ban, malaria returned in millions of cases and an estimated million deaths per year. No doubt DDT had been over-used, but that gross regulation will likely be recorded as one of the largest and most lethal “crimes” of our age.
Regulation should be undertaken only with great caution.
ALL THE NEWS?
By Ivan W. Parkins
Did your know that Jerry Zeifman, Chief Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, when it was planning to impeach President Nixon, later published a book denouncing that procedure, CRIMES OF CAMELOT, 1995? I learned of it only recently while reading a very new book, THE SECRET PLOT TO MAKE TED KENNEDY PRESIDENT, by Geoff Shepard, 2008. Shepard, a Harvard Law graduate, received a fellowship to work in the Nixon White House. He offers an extensively documented report on the same point.
This “old news” hit me hard because it is so similar in nature to SELL OUT, the denunciation by Chief Investigative Counsel David Schippers of what he regards as a virtual House guarantee of Clinton’s acquittal. Like Zeifman, Schippers denounces procedures in which he headed the staff, and both were life-long Democrats.
If you want to look at the closed-door discussions of the House Judiciary in the Nixon case—live longer! The people’s Representatives put a 50-year secrecy “hold” on their discussions of (whose?) business.
Am I right in thinking that John Kerry has never released all of his war records? Isn’t it peculiar that our huge information system seems to overlook so much that is politically significant, especially if it might embarrass Democrats?