OH YES SHE DID 24-Year-Old Teacher Mary Beth Haglin: ‘It’s the School’s Fault’ I Had Sex with that Teen Boy

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A substitute teacher accused of having sex with a student is blaming education officials for her illegal indiscretions — claiming they failed to stop her, and “allowed” the relationship to blossom.

“These people all knew what was going on, and yet hey turned a blind eye because they wanted to protect their school. They didn’t want it to get into the limelight.”

In a series of interviews with reporters in Iowa, 24-year-old Mary Beth Haglin admitted to having sex teacher-3with a 17-year-old boy for much of the 2015-16 academic year — and accused Cedar Rapids Community School District of complicity.

“They didn’t ban me. They never actually said they were banning me from school grounds, they never said they were banning me from working at any other school…”

“These people all knew what was going on, and yet hey turned a blind eye because they wanted to protect their school. They didn’t want it to get into the limelight,” Haglin told KGAN-TV, saying she first had sex with the boy last October. “They allowed this to happen. They knew in February.”

“…they never said they were banning me from thus-and-so many feet of any school. They never said any of that.”

Haglin, a sub at George Washington HS, was arrested on Friday and booked for sexual exploitation of a minor.

[Read the full story here, at New York Post]

She faces up to two years behind bars and having to register as a sex offender for 10 years. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Jonah Goldberg with Bill Kristol: Trump’s Candidacy, Conservative Exile, and ‘Liberal Fascism’ Revisited

editor-commen-desk‘The Newsletterist of Our Time’. My favorite part appears at 1:16:03 – 1:32:20, where Jonah discusses some important books and essays that have influenced his writing. Spoiler: Goldberg, a bonafide scholar and ‘deep diver’ as an adult (the recommended readings discussed here include some of the most influential texts of 20th century conservative thought) was an ardent fan of science fiction and comics as a young man. Jonah’s absurdist flourishes and madcap pop-culture riffing are a happy result of this early influence. I’ve often thought Goldberg could easily ended up as a screenwriter, or sitcom/variety show writer, but accidentally became a professional conservative instead.

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Also revealed: Both Goldberg and Kristol grew up in Manhattan. Their familiarity with the local media climate liberal-fascismthat gave rise to Donald Trump’s public persona is briefly explored here.

[Order Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning”  from Amazon]

Exit question: Is American conservatism preparing to go into exile? As the two leading presidential candidates offer competing versions of statism? Watch the whole thing.

Published on Jul 17, 2016

The National Review senior editor on Donald Trump’s candidacy. Click “Show more” to view all chapters. For more conversations, visit conversationswithbillkristol.org
Chapter 1 (00:15 – 41:02): On Trump and Conservatism
Chapter 2 (41:02 – 57:38): Liberal Fascism Revisited
Chapter 3 (57:38 – 1:16:03): Liberalism, Conservatism, and 2016
Chapter 4 (1:16:03 – 1:32:20): Suggested Reading Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Reason TV: Are Republicans or Democrats More Anti-Science? 

Reason TV talks with California progressives about what happens when science meets politics.

 &  report: It’s popular to portray the GOP as the anti-science party and Democrats as the sane, “party of science” alternative.  And only 6 percent of scientists identified as Republicans, according to a 2009 Pew Research poll, which seems to be the most recent one on the topic. But the truth is that when science and politics meet, the result often isn’t pretty, regardless of partisan affiliation.

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Reason TV asked locals in Venice, California about their thoughts on various scientific policy questions and compared their answers to public opinion poll data. We found that many people favored mandatory labeling of food that contains DNA, the stuff of life contained in just about every morsel of fruit, vegetable, grain, or meat humans consume. Yet a recent survey out of the University of Florida found that 80 percent of respondents favor mandatory DNA labeling, only slightly below the 85 percent that favor labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). While Republicans are divided evenly on the GMO question, Democrats rate them unsafe by a 26-point margin, despite almost 2,000 studies spanning a decade saying otherwise.

Republicans are more skeptical of the theory of evolution, though by a surprisingly slim margin with 39 percent of them rejecting it as compared to 30 percent of Republicans. When it comes to other scientific matters, the waters are even muddier. For instance, Democrats and Republicans believe in the false link between vaccines and autism at roughly equal levels.

[Read the full story here, at Reason.com]

And it’s largely liberal Democratic politicians pushing anti-vaping laws, despite public health agencies estimating e-cigarettes to be around 95% safer than conventional tobacco cigarettes and early evidence they help smokers quit. And vaping products don’t contain any tobacco or its resultant tar, yet the FDA still wants to treat them as tobacco products. Read the rest of this entry »


[BOOKS] David Harsanyi’s ‘The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy’

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Democracy may be one of the most admired ideas ever concocted, but what if it’s also one of the most harebrained? After many years of writing about democracy for a living, David Harsanyi has concluded that it’s the most overrated, overused, and 51SYk6is6ZL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_misunderstood idea in political life. The less we have of it the better.

[Order David Harsanyi’s bookThe People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy” from Amazon.com]

“Democracy” is not synonymous with “freedom.” It is not the opposite of tyranny. In fact, the Founding Fathers knew that democracy can lead to tyranny. That’s why they built so many safeguards against it into the Constitution.

Democracy, Harsanyi argues, has made our government irrational, irresponsible, and invasive. It has left the American people with only two options—domination by the majority or a government that can’t possibly work. The modern age has imbued democracy with the mystique of infallibility. But Harsanyi reminds us that the vast majority of political philosophers, including the founders, have thought that responsible, limited government based on direct majority rule over a large, let alone continental scale was a practical impossibility.

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In The People Have Spoken, you’ll learn:

  • Why the Framers of our Constitution were intent on establishing a republic, not a “democracy”
  • How democracy undermines self-government
  • How shockingly out of touch with reality most voters really are
  • Why democracy is an economic wrecking ball—and an invitation to a politics of envy and corruption
  • How the great political philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Burke and Tocqueville predicted with uncanny accuracy that democracy could lead to tyranny

Harsanyi warns that if we don’t recover the Founders’ republican vision, “democracy” might very well spell the end of American liberty and prosperity.


[VIDEO] Drunk History: John Adams vs. Thomas Jefferson


Former Middle Teacher Serena Milan Admits Sexual Relationship with 14-Year-Old Student

Serena Milan, former Northwest Middle School teacher charged especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. (KNOX COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)

Milan will serve 10 years probation on six felony counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and 22 felony counts of exploitation of a minor.

Jamie Satterfield reports: A former middle school teacher pleaded guilty Thursday to luring a 14-year-old student into a months-long sexual tryst, but she won’t be going to jail.

In a plea deal brokered between defense attorney Gregory P. Isaacs and Knox County Assistant District Attorney General Rachel Russell, Serena Milan, 28, received a probationary sentence.

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“The charges included six counts of statutory rape by an authority figure for specific sex acts, as well as several charges of sexual exploitation of a minor related to sexting between the pair.”

Milan will serve 10 years probation on six felony counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and 22 felony counts of exploitation of a minor.

She also must register as a sex offender and remain on the registry for 20 years.

Her victim’s mother, who is suing Milan, Knox County Schools and a former coach liberal-huhat the school, approved the deal, according to statements made in Knox County
Criminal Court on Thursday.

“On at least one occasion she met up with the boy at West Town Mall and then had sex with him in her car, according to the lawsuit attorney Eddie Daniel filed in Knox County Circuit Court last week on behalf of the boy’s mother.”

Milan faced a 29-count indictment filed as the result of an investigation by Knoxville Police Department Investigator Patty Tipton after the boy’s mother learned of the relationship, which spanned five months in 2015. The charges included six counts of statutory rape by an authority figure for specific sex acts, as well as several charges of sexual exploitation of a minor related to sexting between the pair.

Milan was working as an English “intervention” instructor at Northwest Middle School when in February 2015 she began coaxing the boy with sexual advances, including graphic text messages and photographs. Court records state the two had sex on at least a half-dozen occasions, including in Milan’s classroom. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Christina Hoff Sommers & Camille Paglia on Intersectional Feminism and ‘Safe Spaces’ 

Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia examine the origins of intersectional feminism and “safe spaces”, and discuss Paglia’s own interpretations of feminism—what she labeled over the years as “amazon feminism”, “drag queen feminism”, and “street smart feminism.”

This is part three of a nine part series featuring Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia. The other videos in the series can be found here:

Part 1 – The state of contemporary feminism: https://goo.gl/nRJ0ss
Part 2 – The fight for student liberties: https://goo.gl/dS1QKF
Part 3 – Intersectional feminism and safe spaces: https://goo.gl/cmbj8g
Part 4 – Based Mom and Based Goddess on #Gamergate: https://goo.gl/ZFfuzh
Part 5 – Trigger warnings and the danger of overprotecting students: https://goo.gl/WE29Yc
Part 6 – The “male gaze”: https://goo.gl/hRWfhi
Part 7 – Fixing a broken university curriculum: https://goo.gl/pWmpwh
Part 8 – The absence of biology in gender studies: https://goo.gl/QrZQEU
Part 9 – The danger of looking at history through a contemporary political lens: https://goo.gl/D82LYB

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[VIDEO] Milo Yiannopoulos at Orlando Shooting Site, and at UC San Diego 6-6-16 

“What I Think is a Pity is the Way the Left Has Domesticated Homosexuals”

Milo Begins at 58:00. Streamed live on Jun 6, 2016. Sponsored by the Koala and College Republicans.


[VIDEO] How the Federal Government Is Killing Free Speech on Campus 

“The vocal minority of students who actually want censorship—who want to be protected from ideas they don’t like—they’ve always existed,” says Reason associate editor Robby Soave. “But in the last five years they have gained institutional power on these campuses.”

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From microaggressions and trigger warnings, to the shouting down and assault of controversial speakers, the climate on American college campuses have shifted sharply away from the classical understanding of free speech and inquiry that were once the bedrock of higher education.

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Soave, who reports on political correctness and on college campuses for Reason, sat down with Reason magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch at Reason Weekend, the annual event hosted by the Reason Foundation, to talk about the state of free speech on American colleges and universities.

Edited by Alex Manning. Camera by Paul Detrick and Todd Kranin


[VIDEO] Camille Paglia: ‘Universities Are an Absolute Wreck Right Now’

“The universities are an absolute wreck right now,” said Camille Paglia. “For decades any graduate student in the humanities who had independent thinking was driven out.”

 


[VIDEO] The Hidden World of Campus Conservatives

It’s a lot more tolerant than the critics say it is, argues Claremont McKenna Prof. Jon Shields. Conservatives have to hide in the closet, “until they get tenure”. Then they can come out of the closet, and it’s all okay. This demonstrates, according to Shields, how tolerant the climate is on college campuses today.

 


‘After America, There Is No Place to Go’

‘I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history.’

If you remember the plot of the Sound of Music, the Von Trapp family escaped over the Alps rather than submit to the Nazis. Kitty wasn’t so lucky. Her family chose to stay in her native Austria. She was 10 years old, but bright and aware. And she was watching.

“Totalitarianism didn’t come quickly, it took 5 years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria. Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little eroded our freedom.”

“We elected him by a landslide – 98 percent of the vote,” she recalls.

She wasn’t old enough to vote in 1938 – approaching her 11th birthday. But she remembers.

“Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force.”

No so.

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Hitler is welcomed to Austria

“In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25 percent inflation and 25 percent bank loan interest rates.

“If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.”

Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food. Not that they didn’t want to work; there simply weren’t any jobs.

“My mother was a Christian woman and believed in helping people in need. Every day we cooked a big kettle of soup and baked bread to feed those poor, hungry people – about 30 daily.’

“We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933.” she recalls. “We had been told that they didn’t have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living.

Possible Presidential Candidates Attend South Carolina Democratic Convention

“Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn’t meet all the demands.”

“Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group – Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone in Germany was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria. We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back.

“Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.

“We were overjoyed,” remembers Kitty, “and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed.

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“The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free.”

“After the election, German officials were appointed, and, like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service.

“Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time, unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler.”

“Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women. Before this, it was a custom that married Austrian women did not work outside the home. An able-bodied husband would be looked down on if he couldn’t support his family. Many women in the teaching profession were elated that they could retain the jobs they previously had been required to give up for marriage.

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“Then we lost religious education for kids”

“Our education was nationalized. I attended a very good public school.. The population was predominantly Catholic, so we had religion in our schools. The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler’s picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn’t pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang ‘Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles,’ and had physical education.

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“Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance. Parents were not pleased about the sudden change in curriculum. They were told that if they did not send us, they would receive a stiff letter of warning the first time. The second time they would be fined the equivalent of $300, and the third time they would be subject to jail.”

And then things got worse.

“The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free.”

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“We would go home and gleefully tell our parents about the wonderful time we had.”

“My mother was very unhappy,” remembers Kitty. “When the next term started, she took me out of public school and put me in a convent. I told her she couldn’t do that and she told me that someday when I grew Alle_zehnjaehrigen_zu_unsup, I would be grateful. There was a very good curriculum, but hardly any fun – no sports, and no political indoctrination.

“I hated it at first but felt I could tolerate it. Every once in a while, on holidays, I went home. I would go back to my old friends and ask what was going on and what they were doing.

“Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time, unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler.

“It seemed strange to me that our society changed so suddenly. As time went along, I realized what a great deed my mother did so that I wasn’t exposed to that kind of humanistic philosophy.”

“In 1939, the war started, and a food bank was established. All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant if you didn’t work, you didn’t get a ration card, and, if you didn’t have a card, you starved to death.”

“Women who stayed home to raise their families didn’t have any marketable skills and often had to take jobs more suited for men.”

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

“Soon after this, the draft was implemented.”

“It was compulsory for young people, male and female, to give one year to the labor corps,” remembers Kitty. “During the day, the girls worked on the farms, and at night they returned to their barracks for heller_5military training just like the boys.

“They were trained to be anti-aircraft gunners and participated in the signal corps. After the labor corps, they were not discharged but were used in the front lines.

“When I go back to Austria to visit my family and friends, most of these women are emotional cripples because they just were not equipped to handle the horrors of combat.

“Three months before I turned 18, I was severely injured in an air raid attack. I nearly had a leg amputated, so I was spared having to go into the labor corps and into military service.

“When the mothers had to go out into the work force, the government immediately established child care centers.

“You could take your children ages four weeks old to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, seven days a week, under the total care of the government.

“The state raised a whole generation of children. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had.”

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“After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything.”

“Before Hitler, we had very good medical care. Many American doctors trained at the University of Vienna..

“After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything.

“When the good doctor arrived at his office at 8 a.m., 40 people were already waiting and, at the same time, the hospitals were full.

“If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.

“As for healthcare, our tax rates went up to 80 percent of our income. Newlyweds immediately received a $1,000 loan from the government to establish a household. We had big programs for families.

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“All day care and education were free. High schools were taken over by the government and college tuition was subsidized. Everyone was entitled to free handouts, such as food stamps, clothing, and housing.”

“We had another agency designed to monitor business. My brother-in-law owned a restaurant that had square tables.

AFP PHOTO / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / FILESBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

“Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn’t meet all the demands.”

“Soon, he went out of business. If the government owned the large businesses and not many small ones existed, it could be in control.”

“We had consumer protection, too”

“We were told how to shop and what to buy. Free enterprise was essentially abolished. We had a planning agency specially designed for farmers. The agents would go to the farms, count the livestock, and then tell the farmers what to produce, and how to produce it.”

01 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during Hitler's 1938 state visit to Italy

“In 1944, I was a student teacher in a small village in the Alps. The villagers were surrounded by mountain passes which, in the winter, were closed off with snow, causing people to be isolated. Read the rest of this entry »


Heterodox Academy Combats Academic Uniformity, Leftist Bias

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Fed Up with Peers’ Blind Devotion to Leftist Tenets, Freethinking Professors Launch their Own Website.

Kate Hardiman writes: In January, a mere five months after the launch of Heterodox Academy, the scholarly blog was cited by professor and columnist Paul Krugman in the New York Times as an example of educators who are “conservative” and “outraged” at “what they see as a sharp leftward movement in the academy.”

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“Krugman is wrong—we are neither conservative nor outraged. We are concerned about the loss of viewpoint diversity in the academy because it means that we lose ‘institutionalized disconfirmation.’”

— Jonathan Haidt

But Krugman – like so many of his left-leaning peers – appeared blind to the truth.

“The quality of research produced by politically orthodox disciplines deteriorates. We are working within the academy to try to improve it.”

“Krugman is wrong—we are neither conservative nor outraged,” responded Jonathan Haidt, a professor of business ethics at New York University and co-founder of the website. “We are concerned about the loss of viewpoint diversity in the academy because it means that we lose ‘institutionalized disconfirmation.’”

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…speakers and writers are often vilified for presenting contrary opinions to the common narrative. Here’s some of what can get scholars in trouble:

Suggest some or many aspects of modern feminism are misguided.”

“Claim that affirmative action is dysfunctional.”

“Argue that some psychological and behavioral differences between some groups might have derived from the different evolutionary adaptation pressures on different continents.

“Present evidence that many stereotypes are accurate.”

“Present evidence that children of gay or lesbian parents are not necessarily as psychologically well adjusted as parents of heterosexual parents.”

“Criticize Islam, as a religion and/or set of cultural values and/or political ideology.”

“The quality of research produced by politically orthodox disciplines deteriorates. We are working within the academy to try to improve it.”

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[Read the full story here, at The College Fix]

Heterodox Academy was founded in September 2015 by eleven professors of liberal, conservative, libertarian and centrist bents who hail from various disciplines and universities and who have taken up the mission to combat the lack of “viewpoint diversity” in academia, with a special focus on the social sciences. Read the rest of this entry »


James Bowman on the Eternal Inaccuracy of the Socialist-Invented Word ‘Capitalism’

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Like life, markets will generally find a way to survive. Socialism can harass and suppress what it calls capitalism—now, often just by calling it capitalism—but it can never replace it.

James Bowman writes: They’re demonstrating in Seattle about “capitalism” again. Young people, presumably of the hip variety now famed for supporting Bernie Sanders, rioted there on May Day.

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“You’ve got to wonder how, for all those centuries, nobody realized that they were either oppressed or oppressing merely by marrying and having children—just as it never occurred to either employers or employees that they were part of a system, whether called ‘capitalism’ or something else, until patently self-interested socialist theorists came up with a rival system that, they said, would solve all their problems.”

The Seattle Times reported nine arrests and several injuries to police, including one officer who was bitten. Meanwhile, James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institutenoting that a recent survey found 51 percent of young people, aged 18–29 described themselves as not supporting capitalism, wondered if the c-word “really isn’t the right word for the free enterprise system, the deep magic that has made America the richest, most powerful nation on Earth.”

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“The system should rather be called ‘technological and institutional betterment at a frenetic pace, tested by unforced exchange among all the parties involved.’ Or ‘fantastically successful liberalism, in the old European sense, applied to trade and politics, as it was applied also to science and music and painting in literature.’ The simplest version is ‘trade-tested progress.’”

I hope it will not sound immodest in me if I mention that this is what I have been saying for years. As I wrote back in June of 2002, “capitalism” is simply the socialist word for life. You can tell because even under socialism there is still capitalism, in the form of the black market.

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Like life, markets will generally find a way to survive. Socialism can harass and suppress what it calls capitalism—now, often just by calling it capitalism—but it can never replace it. 514B+AoYlbL._SL250_

[Order Deirdre McCloskey’s book “Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World” from Amazon.com]

You can’t replace an organic growth of human enterprise and ingenuity with a merely theoretical system designed by intellectuals to transform fallen humanity into a perfect society.

Mr Pethokoukis’s point is to promote Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World, by Deirdre McCloskey….(read more)

Source: thenewcriterion.com

 


College Encourages Lively Exchange Of Idea

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BOSTON—Saying that such a dialogue was essential to the college’s academic mission, Trescott University president Kevin Abrams confirmed Monday that the school encourages a lively exchange of one idea. “As an institution of higher learning, we recognize that it’s inevitable that certain contentious topics will come up from time to time, and when they do, we want to create an atmosphere where both students and faculty feel comfortable voicing a single homogeneous opinion,” said Abrams, adding that no matter the subject, anyone on campus is always welcome to add their support to the accepted consensus…(read more)

Source


‘One Boy’s Grades Improved’ says Brianne Altice, Former Utah English Teacher Accused of Sex with Students

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The parents claim the school did nothing when employees complained about Altice’s behavior with students.

A former teacher in Utah who pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges made surprising admissions in a written response filed Tuesday in federal court.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brianne Altice, 35, was taken into custody and ordered to stand trial in 2nd District Court after Judge John R. Morris refused to set bail, Thursday, January 15, 2015. Altice, is facing a total of 14 felony charges for allegedly having sexual relationships with three male students: five counts of first-degree felony rape, two counts of first-degree felony forcible sodomy, three counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse, along with three counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and one count of dealing harmful material to a minor, all third-degree felonies.

Brianne Altice is facing a total of 14 felony charges for allegedly having sexual relationships with three male students. (Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Brianne Altice is in prison for having sexual contact with three boys aged 16 and 17. She filed a two-page response last month after one of the victim’s parents filed a lawsuit against her and the school district. The parents claim the school did nothing when employees complained about Altice’s behavior with students.

Brianne Altice listens to the testimony during a preliminary hearing in 2nd District Court in Farmington, Utah. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

Brianne Altice listens to the testimony during a preliminary hearing in 2nd District Court in Farmington, Utah. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

Altice, a former English teacher, said the then-16-year-old boy whose parents are suing her would “thwart inappropriate comments directed at her.”

[Read the full story here, at nbc41.com]

Altice wrote that the teen would come to her for advice on his relationship with his parents. She said she told him “to communicate with his parents and continue to do his best in school.” Read the rest of this entry »


The End of Democracy in America

Tocqueville foresaw how it would come.

Myron Magnet writes: Alexis de Tocqueville was a more prophetic observer of American democracy than even his most ardent admirers appreciate. True, readers have seen clearly what makes his account of American exceptionalism so luminously accurate, and they have grasped the profundity of his critique of American democracy’s shortcomings. What they have missed is his startling clairvoyance about how democracy in America could evolve into what he called “democratic despotism.” That transformation has been in process for decades now, and reversing it is the principal political challenge of our own moment in history. It is implicitly, and should be explicitly, at the center of our upcoming presidential election.

“The man who properly understands his own self-interest has all the guidance he needs to act justly and honestly. They believe that every person is born with the faculty to govern himself and that no one has the right to force happiness on his fellow man.”

Readers don’t fully credit Tocqueville with being the seer he was for the same reason that, though volume 1 of Democracy in America set cash registers jingling as merrily as Santa’s sleigh bells at its 1835 publication, volume 2, five years later, met a much cooler reception. The falloff, I think, stems from the author’s failure to make plain a key step in his argument between the two tomes—an omission he righted two decades later with the publication of The Old Regime and the French Revolution in 1856. Reading the two books together makes Tocqueville’s argument—and its urgent timeliness—snap into focus with the clarity of revelation.

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“True, readers have seen clearly what makes his account of American exceptionalism so luminously accurate, and they have grasped the profundity of his critique of American democracy’s shortcomings. What they have missed is his startling clairvoyance about how democracy in America could evolve into what he called ‘democratic despotism.’”

What’s missing in volume 2 of Democracy is concrete, illustrative detail. Volume 1 mines nine months of indefatigable travel that began in May 1831 in Newport, Rhode Island—“an array of houses no bigger than chicken coops”—when the aristocratic French lawyer was still two months shy of his 26th birthday. Tocqueville’s epic journey extended from New York City through the virgin forests of Michigan to Lake Superior, from Montreal through New England, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee by coach, steamboat, and even on foot through snow-choked woods, until he and his traveling companion, Gustave de Beaumont, boarded a steamer for New Orleans.

“That transformation has been in process for decades now, and reversing it is the principal political challenge of our own moment in history. It is implicitly, and should be explicitly, at the center of our upcoming presidential election.”

From there, they crossed the Carolinas into Virginia, visited Washington, and returned to New York to embark for home with a trunkful of notes and American histories. Tocqueville had watched both houses of Congress in action and interviewed 200-odd people, ranging from President Andrew Jackson, ex-president John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State Edward Livingston, Senator Daniel Webster, Supreme Court Justice John McLean, and future chief justice Salmon Chase to Sam Houston, a band of Choctaw Indians, and “the last of the Iroquois: they begged for alms.”

[Read the full story here, at City Journal]

Only by the time The Old Regime came out, though, three years before Tocqueville’s untimely death from tuberculosis at 53 in 1859, had he amassed the wealth of practical political experience needed to flesh out the argument of Democracy in America’s second volume. After three terms in the Chamber of Deputies during Louis Philippe’s bourgeois monarchy, he had served in the Constituent Assembly following the 1848 revolution, helping to write the Second Republic’s constitution and serving as foreign minister, until president Louis Napoleon made himself emperor. He had researched The Old Regime by reading mountains of official reports and correspondence from the 1750s onward in the archives, chiefly of Tours and Paris. All this allowed him to document what had 51mOL73ChuL._SL250_been inspired but mostly theoretical speculation in volume 2 of Democracy in America.

[Order Alexis de Tocqueville’s masterpiece “Democracy in America” from Amazon.com]

Tocqueville didn’t go to America out of blind democratic enthusiasm. “It is very difficult to decide whether democracy governs better, or aristocracy,” he mused: but the question is merely academic, because anyone who pays attention to swiftly shifting French affairs—from the Revolution, the Directory, and Napoleon to the Restoration and the constitutional monarchy of 1830—can’t deny that “sooner or later we will come, as the Americans have come, to an almost complete equality of conditions.” In that case, “[w]ould it not then become necessary to consider the gradual development of democratic institutions and mores not as the best way to be free but as the only way left to us?”

“In French, the word is moeurs, meaning manners, morals, core beliefs, and customs—what we would call culture. There are ‘three major factors that have governed and shaped American democracy,’ Tocqueville argued, ‘but if I were asked to rank them, I would say that physical causes matter less than laws and laws less than mores.’”

So he went to America in search of “lessons from which we might profit”—negative lessons as well as positive ones. And just after the publication of volume 1 of Democracy in America, he cast his own lot with democracy, marrying, to his family’s horror, a beautiful middle-class English Protestant, Mary Mottley, whom he considered “the only person in the world who knows the bottom of my soul”—but who never shed her middle-class outrage at “the least deviation on my part,” he complained. After all, who can stop his “blood boiling at the sight of a woman”? (And, already at 17, he had fathered a child, whose fate is unknown, with a servant girl.) Still, he at least remained faithful to democracy: when he inherited the title Comte de Tocqueville in 1836, he never used it.

[Also see – We’re Losing The Two Things Tocqueville Said Mattered Most About American Democracy, at The Federalist]

In America, he believed, he’d find democracy in its purest form—morally pure but also unmixed with any vestiges of a hierarchical regime from which it had had to revolt, unlike any other modern democracy. The earliest Anglo-American settlers had crossed the sea to begin the political world A view of America, from France.afresh. This band of equals had “braved the inevitable miseries of exile because they wished to
ensure the victory of an idea,” he wrote—the Puritan idea that “was not just a religious doctrine” but that “coincided with the most absolute democratic and republican theories,” inseparably intertwining “the spirit of religion and the spirit of liberty.”

 “’There is nothing the human will despairs of achieving through the free action of the collective power of individuals.’ Free and collaborative: that’s the mainspring of American mores.”

For the Pilgrims, Tocqueville explained, “Religion looks upon civil liberty as a noble exercise of man’s faculties, and on the world of politics as a realm intended by the Creator for the application of man’s intelligence. . . . Liberty looks upon religion as its comrade in battle and victory, as the cradle of its infancy and divine source of its rights.” As the settlers believed, “religion subjects the truths of the other world to individual reason, just as politics leaves the interest of this world to the good sense of all, and it allows each man free choice of the path that is to lead him to heaven, just as the law grants each citizen the right to choose his government.”

“Nongovernmental associations spring up for furthering ‘public security, commerce and industry, morality and religion.’”

So Puritanism was the wellspring of American mores—a key term for Tocqueville that refers not just to “what one might call habits of the heart, but also to the various notions that men possess, to the diverse opinions that are current among them, and to the whole range of ideas that shape habits of mind.” In French, the word is moeurs, meaning manners, morals, core beliefs, and customs—what we would call culture. There are “three major factors that have governed and shaped American democracy,” Tocqueville argued, “but if I were asked to rank them, I would say that physical causes matter less than laws and laws less than mores.”

tocqueville

From the seventeenth-century Puritan acorn grew American culture’s fundamentally libertarian creed. Universal reason (which reveals Jefferson’s self-evident truths, for example) is the source of moral authority, “just as the source of political power lies in the universality of citizens.” Most Americans believe that “consensus is the only guide to what is permitted or prohibited, true or false,” and that “the man who properly understands his own self-interest has all the guidance he needs to act justly and honestly. They believe that every person is born with the faculty to govern himself and that no one has the right to force happiness on his fellow man.” And they believe in human perfectibility, the usefulness of the spread of enlightenment, and the certainty of progress, so that what seems good today will give way tomorrow to something better but as yet unimagined.

[Read the full text here, at City Journal]

Why are your ships not built to last? Tocqueville once asked an American sailor. Naval architecture improves so quickly, the sailor replied, that the finest ship would be obsolete before it wore out. A Silicon Valley engineer would sound the same today. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say? 

Climate change is an urgent topic of discussion among politicians, journalists and celebrities…but what do scientists say about climate change? Does the data validate those who say humans are causing the earth to catastrophically warm? Richard Lindzen, an MIT atmospheric physicist and one of the world’s leading climatologists, summarizes the science behind climate change.


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