Links to Articles and Items of Interest

· WSJ’s Editorial- “A Gay Marriage Muddle”

· WSJ’s Jess Bravin- “Court’s Session Told Tale of Two Justices”

· “Yes, IRS harassment blunted the Tea Party ground game” by Stan Veuger @AEI

· Peggy Noonan in WSJ-(related to above article) “Where was the Tea Party”

· Charles Krauthammer on-”Nationalized Gay Marriage, Now Inevitable”

· Ann Coulter on “New GOP Strategy: Give Democrats Big Head Start

· Cheryl Wetzstein at Washington Times-”Gay Marriage-DOMA”

· Thomas Sowell on “Random Thoughts”

· Walter Williams on “Bit by Bit Strategy”

Websites and Other items

· The Heritage Foundation Blog

· Thomas Sowell on “The Fallacy of Redistribution” (more articles)

· Breitbart.com– stories which are not seen in “the media”

· The Drudge Report— Current events website by Matt Drudge 

· Library of Congress-The Federalist Papers

About Ivan W. Parkins

©Ivan W. Parkins 2013,  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,  rwhinkle@americanpoliticalcommentary.com

Text Box: Vol.6, Issue 8
Text Box: July 1, 2013

I. W. Parkins

Front Page

American Political Commentary

 

Veritas Veneratio Virtus

Text Box: Have A Great 
July 4th.

Dividing America

By Ivan W. Parkins

(The following article was originally published in the Daily Times-News, 10/06/1971). You will notice some language usages at the time which were acceptable, but currently are not used due to cultural sensitivities.-Ed.) See the Heritage Foundation’s, 30th.anniversary of the Kerner Report in 1998 here

             The Kerner Commission on civil disorders in its final report stated that, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal.”  That evaluation has been quoted again and again.  Both the Johnson and the Nixon Administrations have been castigated for a lack of enthusiasm in accepting and implementing the report.

             The implication of the report and the charge bluntly levied by a militant minority of Americans, is that racial bigotry prevailing in the American public and intransigence existing in American institutions makes reductions of our racial tensions unlikely.  I am reminded that when I moved to Michigan, just after the Detroit riots of 1967, the more specific prediction , then popular in the press, was that more and bigger riots would soon follow.  I required one of my classes to write a brief paper discussing the capacity of the American political system to cope with the problem over the next five years.  To my chagrin, I discovered that very few of my own suggestions had been accepted by my students.  Almost unanimously, they echoed predictions of a holocaust borrowed from the news media.

             Arguing against “liberals” that a few riots did not foreshadow a race war was a new role for me.  I had moved from the South, where my arguments were chiefly with segregationists, many of whom cited sporadic violence and threats of violence as a reason why the civil rights movements should be halted.  Neither group seemed to be aware that race relations during much of American history, especially in the late nineteenth century, were more violent than during the recent civil rights movement.  Apparently, few people considered race relations in the perspective of violence which accompanied other great changes, such as the rise of labor unions.

             The violence of the civil rights movement thus far has been moderate, when taken in the perspective of history and considering the magnitude of the change.  Furthermore, there is growing  evidence of progress.  Economic gains, especially for the younger and more educated Negroes, are substantial.  Negro voting, and successes in winning political offices, have multiplied.  It is largely in the more subtle area of white-black attitudes toward one another that some people still claim to find bases for pessimism.

             Several major opinions polls in recent years have produced results suggesting that white attitudes are less bigoted and intransigent, and black expectations more moderate, than some journalists and intellectuals would have us believe.  Recently, the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, probably the foremost center in attitudinal survey in the world has published confirmation that white and black attitudes are converging. 

             The quiet progress of school busing for integration purposes in most of the South is a visible refutation of the pessimistic evaluations of our people and our institutions.  The failure of most pessimists to support their arguments with solid evidence does not mean that there is no racial problem in America.  Samuel Lubell’s Hidden Crisis in American Politics provides both reasons for concern and some grounds for hope .  Lubell has been interviewing representative Americans in their homes while too many other journalists and academics were populating the country with Archie Bunkers, fictitious characters whose principal virtue is making intellectuals feel smugly superior.  Lubell found, not attitudinal bigotry, but specific problems of competition for housing and job opportunities, and fears for personal safety to be the roots of tension.  He attributed much of this to population mobility (southern farms to northern cities, cities to suburbs).  Such material problems pose difficult problems to American society; they do not imply degeneracy in the American character.

             Senator Fred Harris, himself a member of the Kerner Commission, referred in LOOK magazine (3/18/1969) to racism as “the number one mental health problem in America.”  Considering the failure of attitudinal surveys to support such evaluations, it is fair to inquire whether views such as those of Harris may not be both and impediment to racial understanding and an additional major cause of division in America.

Two Tea Parties,

Russell Kirk’s And Mine

Ruminations from my past.,

By Ivan W. Parkins

     Shortly before I retired from college teaching, about thirty years ago, a nationally known political scientist who had retired to a community near here was invited to give a series of lectures at our institution. 

      Our department had not extended that invitation, but the subject of a tea in recognition of Russell Kirk came up in a regular departmental meeting.  Favorable sentiment was obviously minimal, but after a brief discussion our chairman said that apparently most thought that “it was the thing to do.”  (Professor Kirk, though better known than any of us, was “a conservative.”) One professor replied “can’t we have a vote?”  The tea was held.

      My own retirement, after fifteen years in the department, was acknowledged more warmly than I had anticipated.  I was given a pair of fine fishing rods, built by a colleague who had also been a fishing companion.  My almost total separation (I live about a mile away.) has been largely my choice.  At one of the few events that I did attend I was greeted by the person who had called for the vote, that person had become a dean.

FREEDOM’S CHOICES

Liberty (freedom) is a responsibility of it’s Citizens.

 Are you ready to defend it?  If not, it will disappear.

By Ivan W. Parkins

     We, and all of mankind, face an especially complex, but potentially fruitful, problem.  It is how much freedom? And it is especially, what freedoms for whom?

     Individuals are not, never were, and can be only briefly (as they die off), totally free.  Especially as numbers of humans have grown, we have compromised individual freedoms socially to enhance freedoms from natural hazards, and to make our lives more fruitful.

     That, for the most part, has been a gain.  Our more remote ancestors were much less free than we are.  But it was not due primarily to social rules or to other humans.  The first hominids faced natural hazards, as does every sparse and, in some respects, weak species.  By joint efforts and particularly by the cultivating and sharing of our unique mental and communications capacities, we have extended our freedom from many of nature's  hazards and become dominant among Earth's creatures.  The price of that is, and will continue to be, some restrictions of individual freedoms in the interest of communal security against hazards that can easily crush individuals or small communities.

     The principle is a simple one.  Its specific applications are increasingly numerous and complex.  The survival and advance of mankind has been, and can be, long lasting and grand.  The survival of most individuals can be made more likely and more self-satisfying, but only as individuals participate within a larger context.

     To this point in history, the most effective large unit of human cooperation has been the nation state, and organized as a constitutional democracy.  As Americans, we enjoy membership in a particularly successful one.  If we fail to support it thoughtfully and with our lives, we are likely to see that much of what we have valued as our freedom will disappear.

THE REAL CHALLENGE

Or are you ready to protect the Constitution?

By Ivan W. Parkins

     In the past half century Americans have experienced growing conflict between the “mainstream” mass media and popular chief executives.  Both are key elements in our political system, and both claim to speak for most of us. 

     The clearest evidence of our problem is the fact that the three Presidents (one Democrat and two Republicans) who won the greatest popular pluralities plus record majorities of the votes cast were either driven from the office that they had recently won or sorely harassed in their conduct of it.  That would be less startling if it were not for the additional fact that all three were especially well known to the public before their elections.  All had been on America’s political stage for decades, and their landslide victories were all returns to this nation’s top office.

     Meanwhile, the branch of our government that is supposed to be closest to the people has been, during the same half century, almost totally a one-party stronghold.  Republicans have had only brief and very narrow partisan advantages there.  In the House of Representatives two major impeachment proceedings were launched against Presidents.  The first forced out President Nixon soon after his record-setting popular plurality; the second left in office President Clinton, the third President (all Democrats) in our history of popular elections to gain that office twice without a popular majority either time.  And, both impeachment procedures were soon after denounced as improper by the Chief Investigating Counsels (Democrats both) who the House Committee on the Judiciary had chosen to pursue them.

     We now have in the House of Representatives (again) a large Democrat majority, led this time by a Speaker who is clearly intent upon ramming through measures of dubious popularity, likely high cost, and very uncertain practical benefit.  President Obama, a solid popular, but not a landslide, winner was virtually unknown to Americans until a couple of years before the election.  No other President in recent times has had so little public exposure or political experience prior to his election.    

     Meanwhile, old "mainstream" media have dominated our political scene for the past half century.  And, they are substantially responsible for shaping it.  Now, they are clearly losing ground to newer elements with much less of a Democrat fixation.  For some doctrinaire and extreme parts of our polity, a key part of the Democrat Party, and one to which President Obama owes much of his limited experience, this is a "do now or never" moment.  If  they can force through enough "entitlements" and other legal measures that suggest constitutional rights of the types that favor their supporters, they may be able to elect Presidents, and to dominate American politics for generations.      

     If more moderate and traditional elements among Americans do not want to fare far worse than they have in the past half century, now is time for them to unite in support of a few moderate and traditional goals.  Special and sectarian interests of the Right have already been out maneuvered by those of the Left; for the short-term at least, they should be willing to compromise.  This is the time for Americans who want to enhance America’s record of progress as a constitutional democracy to unite against those who seek radical “corrections” of the shortcomings that they choose to identify and to exaggerate.

New Americans and Multiculturalism

 

                                   By Ivan W. Parkins

     One of the greatest of liberal, mainly Democrat, changes to America in recent decades has been multiculturalism.  Regarding this and related matters, I recommend Michael Barone’s book, THE NEW AMERICANS: HOW THE MELTING POT CAN WORK AGAIN.

     Barone compares Irish immigrants during the mid-nineteenth century with the great migration of Black Americans north from the Old South, especially that since 1940.  He also compares Italian and later Latino immigrants, and Jews with recent Asians.  All are interesting, but the Irish/Black comparison is especially sharp in the political lessons that it offers.

     Barone concludes that “race, as liberals have wisely insisted for years, is an arbitrary category.”  But, “the descendents of past immigrants have now become deeply interwoven into the fabric of American life.”  It can happen again.  “There is less overt bigotry and discrimination,” now.  “The greatest obstacle…is the American elite”; it, since the 1960s, does not promote assimilation.

     He points out that in one major respect the Irish fared much better than recent Blacks.  Both came from crude and repressive environments, poorly educated, inclined to violence and uncivil.  Both also relied heavily on their own churches.  The Irish soon learned the advantages of discipline and civility in Catholic schools; the Blacks encountered public schools that would change to accommodate their shortcomings.

     Partisanship is not emphasized by Barone; with the 2008 election pending, it will be by me.  Multiculturalism, and its implied divisions of America, is mainly an innovation of liberal Democrats, and mainly since the Vietnam era.  It has been imposed, or “sold,” as an example of acceptance of other cultures as equal to, and as appropriate as, our own.  Actually, from my own experiences, it seems to be more a rejection of traditional America and of the chief types of leadership that America has produced.

     Do liberal Democrats really want to improve upon the America that we have known, or do they plan instead to replace that with a quasi-Marxist nirvana, their own ”creation”?

Michael Barone by Gage Skidmore.jpg