Founding Principles of America 25: Stay Independent from Entangling Alliances

Founding Principles of America 25:

Stay Independent from Entangling Alliances

US Constitution Series 25

keyPeace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship with all Nations—entangling alliances with none ~Thomas Jefferson

Separatism vs. Isolationism

tyranny5-jeffersonThis was the Founders’ doctrine of “separatism.” This was far different from the modern term of “isolationism.” The later term implies a complete seclusion from other nations, as though the United States were to be detached and somehow incubated in isolation from other nations.

In point of fact, the policy of the Founders was just the opposite. They desired to cultivate a wholesome relationship with all nations, but they wished to remain aloof from sectional quarrels and international disputes. They wanted to avoid alliances of friendship with one nation which would make them enemies of another nation in a time of crisis. They wanted to keep American markets open to all countries unless certain countries engaged in hostilities toward the United States. (Skousen, 267-268)

 

“Separatism” replaced by “Internationalism”

“Separatism,” and pursuing a “manifest destiny” to encourage the emancipation of “the whole human race,” was the official policy of the United States for the first 125 years of its history.

Nevertheless, there were powerful influences congregating in the United States, particularly in financial circles, which wanted America in the thick of things, world-wide. Their opportunity came with the eruption of World War I. Congressional investigations by the Reece Committee revealed that long before the Lusitania sinking, these influences were agitating for U.S. involvement.

Although the United States narrowly avoided becoming a member of the League of Nations after World War I, the sage was set for an accelerated involvement of the United States, both economically and politically, in foreign quarrels. (Skousen 274-275)

 

Next, Founding Principles of America 26: Protecting the Role of the Family

Founding Principles of America 24: Peace through Strength

church-state2-reagan‘The book Reagan wanted
taught in high schools’

In “The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World,” you will discover the 28 principles of freedom America’s Founding Fathers said must be understood and perpetuated by every society that desires peace, prosperity and freedom. Learn how adherence to these beliefs during the past 200 years has brought about more progress than was made in the previous 5,000 years.

This book describes the problems the Founding Fathers dealt with and how philosophies and ideals collided to form the United States of America. The skills and prosperity of the Jamestown settlers in 1607 greatly contrast those of society after the enactment of the United States Constitution.

Shortly after the Constitution was enacted, a free-enterprise system – an economy with little government influence that flourishes with competition of businesses – was established. It is because of this system that America became the most advanced and powerful country that world history has known.

After highlighting the importance of the nation’s foundation, Skousen covers in detail what went into the design of the Constitution. Surveying the original sources for the principles that inspired the United States, the author shows how the Founders developed these principles from the studies of Cicero, Locke, Montesquieu and Adam Smith.

Skousen also contrasts the affluence of the young United States with that of the present day, showing that it was because of the free-enterprise system that America produced such astounding inventions and ideas, from jet propulsion to the doubling of life expectancy. Within this narrative of success, Skousen weaves the story of America as a Christian nation, guided by divine providence and created for the liberty and rights of mankind.

This book also analyzes problems throughout history (such as national debt) that have come from failing to adhere to the Constitution.

5000leap“The 5000 Year Leap” gives the reader a greater understanding of the origins of the United States of America, the consequences of deviating from the principles on which it was founded and all the characteristics that have made this nation great.

 

Founding Principles of America: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

The practical application of this book review of Skousen educated wisdom is to leverage “We, The People’s” knowledge to easily expose ignorance, anarchy and tyranny, and hold the government accountable.

 

 The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

Independent American: Don’t Vote Liberal

Lifelong Democrat talk-host: Dems should boycott election

‘Something ruinous on an epic scale controls our party’

Bob Just: Be Independent! Think for Yourself! Don’t Vote Liberal!

Bob Just

Bob Just

With midterms around the corner, Barack Obama’s popularity at a stunning all-time low, Democrat candidates avoiding Obama like Ebola and hundreds of audience members actually walking out during a presidential campaign appearance, it’s a rough time for Democrats.

And while some more moderate Democrats like Patrick Caddell and Doug Schoen deal with the failures of the Obama administration by criticizing it on Fox News, another prominent lifelong Democrat – veteran talk-show host and WND columnist Bob Just – has a novel solution for mainstream party members. Democrats conflicted over the direction of their party and of the country under their party’s current leadership should strike, he says.

That’s right – a voter strike. What the Democratic Party needs most from its loyal members, he says, is a boycott of the next few elections.

“Even if the polls completely collapsed regarding our party, those who control the party would never step down, except to ‘raise up’ people who believe the same things they do, and who will lead the same way. That’s the problem,” writes Just in an exclusive column on WND today.

“Only regular Democrat voters can force a real change in our party leadership with a voter strike over the next few elections. One election is not enough,” he adds.

Just perhaps is best described as a traditional Democrat who doesn’t bend to fringe interests. He’s a veteran national radio talk-show host, has worked with his “old friend” Sean Hannity on the best-seller “Deliver Us from Evil” and guest-hosted his top-rated radio show. He is founder of several Oregon-based organizations, including the nationally acclaimed Concerned Fathers Against Crime.

Just starts his commentary: “I am ashamed of my party. But it goes deeper than shame. I am afraid of what my party has become over the last two decades. And judging by the polls, I’m guessing there are millions of Democrats who feel the same unease I feel.
“As 2016 approaches, it has never been more important for mainstream Democrats to draw a line by not voting Democrat. You don’t have to vote Republican; just let your ‘no-vote’ send a message to our local, state and national leaders. If even a small percentage of each major Democrat voting block were to join the protest, it would force the party to take a hard look at itself, or at least start a healthy discussion.”

He says today’s party has become “something unrecognizable to those of us who remember the Democratic Party of President Kennedy.”

He adds: “Something ruinous on an epic scale controls our party. And only Democrats can do something about it – with a no-vote protest.”

Just takes readers on a quick guided tour, documenting the strange transformation of the Democratic Party in recent decades – from the emergence of “political correctness” on college campuses to the major influence of Saul Alinsky on both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Noting that Clinton was a “student” of Alinsky, Just cited the “community organizing” founder’s published desire “for a future where the means of economic production will be owned by all of the people instead of the comparative handful.”

“To independents and Republicans reading this,” comments Just, “trust me – that’s not a regular Democrat talking. That’s Marxism, straight up.”

“Our leadership problem doesn’t end with Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama,” Just writes. “The sad truth is that our party apparatus has been taken over by political correctness – PC ‘radicals’ who share Alinsky’s basic Marxist worldview, his desire for class warfare and radical ‘change.’ Our party leaders support, or at least tolerate, the use of Alinsky’s aggressive ‘no rules’ techniques against mainstream America – basic bullying strategies,” Just writes.

“It may be that President Obama’s disastrous leadership will be the wake-up call we needed to realize the wrong people are running our party. At this point we must know something is terribly wrong. It’s hard to ignore President Jimmy Carter’s recent decision to step forward and publicly reject President Obama’s handling of Iraq.”

Just recalled that not that long ago, the Democratic and Republican Parties had far more similarities than differences.

“Think of famous Democrat Sen. Patrick Daniel Moynihan, who as a young social scientist and deputy secretary of labor in 1965 warned the country about the devastating effect fatherless families were having on the African-American community,” Just writes. “He was called a racist for that prophetic warning, which if heeded, could have prevented so much misery – not only among blacks, but also among whites and Hispanics who are now following the same self-destructive path.”

He concludes:  “Mainstream Democrats have to decide if this is what we want to support when we vote Democrat. … Do we really want to be forced to accept a creed that’s entirely – entirely – different than the beliefs of our parents and grandparents and great grandparents?”

Read Bob Just’s column, “Democrat voter strike.”
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/10/lifelong-democrat-talk-host-dems-should-boycott-election/#xmLd4mWmjOoLsjpC.99

Moral Repair: Independent Schools, American Safety Plan

Dinner Topics for Thursday

keyIt flies in the face of God’s plan of agency that knowledge should be attained by coercion or mandate of government. ~Darla Isackson

1. Heritage: More States Are Rejecting Common Core

More and more states are becoming independent and withdrawing from participation in Common Core, the one-size-fits-all education scheme pushed by the federal government.

Widespread frustration with Common Core–parents, teachers, and students alike are pushing back–is leading more states to take back their education autonomy.

UD-common-core-status-map_600

Heritage education expert Lindsey Burke explains that Ohio could be the latest state to buck the standards.

What do you think of this push back against Common Core?

 

2. School District Quits Michelle Obama Lunch Program

The state’s second largest school district has started the school year with a new look for its lunch menu, after opting out of the National School Lunch Program and forfeiting nearly $1 million in federal funding, to gain more freedom in the food it serves students.

In May, the board for Township High School District 214 voted to drop out of the federal program, after deciding its guidelines were too restrictive. For instance, kids would not have been able to buy hard-boiled eggs or certain types of yogurt. School officials also have noted new guidelines consider hummus to be too high in fat, and pretzels to be too high in salt; non-fat milk containers larger than 12 ounces could not be sold either.

I know it is slightly off topic but I have to wonder: is current nutritional science really this hateful and hurtful? Is it really impossible to eat good food that is healthy for you and that satisfies you? Reading about these guidelines gives one the impression they are designed to produce malnourished teens that are constantly distracted by hunger. (But what do I know? I drink my coffee with butter and coconut oil.)

In any case, the school district is “rebelling.” That is how I have described other schools doing the same thing, as have many other conservatives. But some of the details in this story make me realize it is not so much about them rebelling as that they are financially forced to opt out of the Federal program. While the story claims that the school district “forfeit[ed] nearly $1 million in federal funding to gain more freedom,” it later becomes clear that they did not forfeit anything. The program effectively ended the reimbursement program.

School-lunchesHere’s how it worked.

Schools that serve the lunches can get a certain amount reimbursed. But in order to get reimbursed, the students must actually purchase the food. But the students stopped buying the food. So rather than get money the school district was losing money. It was spending money to acquire and prepare food that no one would buy. So the school was stuck with food and no way to cover their costs.
Read more at http://politicaloutcast.com/2014/09/school-district-quits-michelle-obama-lunch-program/#zdQPEU0gPPFY6MvB.99

 

3. Ted Cruz Introduces the Expatriate Terrorist Act

A plan for American Safety

 

Daniel Doherty | Sep 08, 2014

TedCruzIn an effort to prevent traitorous Americans from joining ISIS, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced legislation on Monday that would revoke their U.S. citizenships if they do.

Speaking on the Senate floor this afternoon, he explained why such legislation is finally necessary.

“ISIS is a study in oppression and brutality that is conducting ethnic cleansing against religious minorities in the region, that is targeting and persecuting Christians, and that is attempting to subject the local population to the strictest forms of Sharia Law,” he said. “And ISIS has gruesomely murdered U.S. civilians and, indeed, journalists on the public stage.”

Washington lawmakers must therefore take two forms of action to protect Americans. First, he argued, securing all U.S. borders.

“It is beyond time for us to secure our borders,” he declared. “Representing the state of Texas, which has a border nearly 2,000 miles long, I know firsthand just how unsecure the border is right now.”

“This week of all weeks with the anniversary of the September 11th attacks upon us, we can have no illusions that terrorists won’t try to make good on their specific threats to attack America,” he continued. “And as long as our border isn’t secure, we’re making it far too easy for the terrorists to carry through on those promises.”

Secondly, he said, Washington lawmakers “should take commonsense steps to make fighting for or supporting ISIS a [citizenship-stripping offense].

“That is why I have today filed legislation which would amend the existing statute governing renunciation of United States citizenship,” he announced.

“[Defeating ISIS] requires clear, decisive, unified action,” he continued. “And it is my hope that all of us will come together supporting such action.”

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/danieldoherty/2014/09/08/ted-cruz-introduces-the-expatriate-terrorist-act-eta-n1888894

 

4. God-Centered Comic Book

 

GodcomicWhen most people think about God, they picture a grumpy old man in the sky handing out impossible rules and smiting people. It’s not often that we have the opportunity to see God as the inventor of humor and a connoisseur of friendship. Knocking on Heaven’s Door explores the relationship between a little boy named Spencer and his best friend‐God. This collection of comic strips (with behind-the-scenes notes from writer/comedian Tommy Blaze and artist Nate Fakes), is equally whimsical and profound.

As author Tommy Blaze puts it,

If Knocking on Heaven’s Door is about anything, it’s about our relationship with God and the understanding that He wants to be included in our everyday lives, no matter how seemingly trivial or insipid…How could Spencer truly have a personal relationship with an omnipotent being so clearly superior to him? The answer is in the question. God can do anything He wants, which includes empathizing with a little kid and really getting down on his level.

 

State Liberty vs. Government Agenda

Oklahoma state stands independent while so many other states bow to liberal government agenda

keyOklahoma is the only state that Obama did  not win even one county in the
last election…  While everyone is focusing on Arizona’s new law, look
what Oklahoma has been doing!!!

THIS IS REALLY  INTERESTING, AND TRUE ….


An update from Oklahoma :


10commandmentsOklahoma law passed, 37 to 9 an amendment to place the Ten Commandments
on the front entrance to the state capitol. The feds in D.C., along with
the ACLU, said it would be a mistake. Hey this is a conservative state,
based on Christian values… HB 1330

Guess  what… Oklahoma did it anyway.


Oklahoma recently passed a law in the state to incarcerate all illegal
immigrants and ship them back to where they came from unless they want to
get a green card and become an American citizen. They all scattered. HB1804. This was against the advice of the Federal Government, and the ACLU,
they said it would be a mistake.


Guess what… Oklahoma did it anyway.


Recently we passed a law to include DNA samples from any and all
illegal’s to the Oklahoma database, for criminal investigative purposes.
Pelosi said it was unconstitutional SB1102

Guess what… Oklahoma did it anyway.


flag2Several weeks ago, we passed a law, declaring  Oklahoma as a Sovereign
state, not under the Federal Government directives. Joining, Texas, Montana
and Utah as the only states to do so.


More states  are likely to follow: Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia,
Carolinas,  Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi and Florida .
Save your confederate money, it appears the South is about to rise up once
again. HJR 1003


The federal Government has made bold steps to take away our guns.
Oklahoma, a week ago, passed a law confirming people in this state have the
right to bear arms and transport them in their vehicles. I’m sure that was
a setback for the criminals  The Liberals didn’t like it — But….

Guess  what… Oklahoma did it anyway.


english-speakJust this month, the state has voted and passed a law that ALL drivers’
license exams will be printed in English and only English and no other
language. They have been called racist for doing this, but the fact is that
ALL of the road signs are in English only. If you want to drive in
Oklahoma, you must read and write English. Really simple.


By the way, the Liberals don’t like any of this either


Guess what… who cares… Oklahoma is doing it anyway.

Government Corruption of Independent Moral Character

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Government Corruption of Independent Moral Character Destroys the Family and the Soul

The Worldview that Makes the Underclass

keyold

Ye have eaten up the vineyard . . .What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? Saith the Lord God of hosts. ~Isaiah 3:14-15

 

“Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.”

Anthony Daniels
Writer and Doctor

ObamacaredoctorsexitANTHONY DANIELS, who often writes under the penname Theodore Dalrymple, is the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. Born in London in 1949, he qualified as a doctor in 1974 and has worked in various countries in Africa and elsewhere. From 1990 to 2005, he worked as a doctor and psychiatrist in a prison in Birmingham, England. He has written a column for the London Spectator for 14 years, and writes regularly for National Review and the Wall Street Journal. He has published more than 20 books, including Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics & Culture of Decline, The New Vichy Syndrome: Why European Intellectuals Surrender to Barbarism, and Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on May 20, 2014, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Dearborn, Michigan.

 

Work in Africa

I worked for 15 years as a doctor and psychiatrist in a general hospital in a poor area of a British city and in the prison next door, where I was on duty one night in three. The really dangerous people were in the hospital, perhaps because of the presence in the prison next door of very large uniformed men who exerted a strangely calming effect on the prisoners. In the hospital, I personally examined many thousands of patients who had attempted suicide or at least made a suicidal gesture (not quite the same thing of course). They were overwhelmingly from poor homes, and each patient told me of the lives of the three, four, or five people closest to them—and I spoke to many of those people as well. I could not, of course, have spoken to so many people, and heard about so many others, without some general impressions forming themselves in my mind. One abiding impression was of the violence of their lives, particularly that between the sexes—largely the consequence of the fluidity of relations between the sexes—and also of the devastating effect of prevalent criminality upon the quality of daily existence.

Before I did this work, I had spent a number of years working as a doctor in Africa and in other places in the Third World. I also crossed Africa by public transport, such as it was, and consequently saw much of that continent from the bottom up. These experiences also helped me in my understanding of what I was later to see in England. As Dr. Johnson put it, all judgment is comparative; or as Kipling said, “What should they know of England who only England know?” Indeed, what should anyone know of anywhere, who only that place knows?

A Look at Poor Families in England

On my return to England, I used to visit the homes of poor people as part of my medical duties. Bear in mind that I had returned from some of the poorest countries in the world, where—in one case—a single hen’s egg represented luxury and the people wore the cast-off clothes of Europe that had been donated by charity. When I returned to England, I was naturally inclined to think of poverty in absolute rather than in relative terms—as people not having enough to eat, having to fetch water from three miles away, and so forth. But I soon ceased to think of it in that fashion.

In the course of my duties, I would often go to patients’ homes. Everyone lived in households with a shifting cast of members, rather than in families. If there was an adult male resident, he was generally a bird of passage with a residence of his own somewhere else. He came and went as his fancy took him. To ask a child who his father was had become an almost indelicate question. Sometimes the child would reply, “Do you mean my father at the moment?” Others would simply shake their heads, being unwilling to talk about the monster who had begot them and whom they wished at all costs to forget.

TVblkboyI should mention a rather startling fact: By the time they are 15 or 16, twice as many children in Britain have a television as have a biological father living at home. The child may be father to the man, but the television is father to the child. Few homes were without televisions with screens as large as a cinema—sometimes more than one—and they were never turned off, so that I often felt I was examining someone in a cinema rather than in a house. But what was curious was that these homes often had no means of cooking a meal, or any evidence of a meal ever having been cooked beyond the use of a microwave, and no place at which a meal could have been eaten in a family fashion. The pattern of eating in such households was a kind of foraging in the refrigerator, as and when the mood took, with the food to be consumed sitting in front of one of the giant television screens. Not surprisingly, the members of such households were often enormously fat. 

Family Meals are Rare

TVobesitySurveys have shown that a fifth of British children do not eat a meal more than once a week with another member of their household, and many homes do not have a dining table. Needless to say, this pattern is concentrated in the lower reaches of society, where so elementary but fundamental a means of socialization is now unknown.

Here I should mention in passing that in my hospital, the illegitimacy rate of the children born in it, except for those of Indian-subcontinental descent, was approaching 100 percent. 

 

No Moral Responsibility (Don’t Blame Me!)

It was in the prison that I first realized I should listen carefully, not only to what people said, but to the way that they said it. I noticed, for example, that murderers who had stabbed someone always said of the fatal moment that “the knife went in.” This was an interesting locution, because it implied that it was the knife that guided the hand rather than the hand that guided the knife. It is clear that this locution serves to absolve the culprit, at least in his own mind, from his responsibility for his act. It also seeks to persuade the listener that the culprit is not really guilty, that something other than his decisions led to the death of the victim. This was so even if the victim was a man against whom the perpetrator was known to have a serious grudge, and whom he sought out at the other side of the city having carried a knife with him.

wealthredistribute1The human mind is a subtle instrument, and something more than straightforward lying was going on here. The culprit both believed what he was saying and knew perfectly well at the same time that it was nonsense. No doubt this kind of bad faith is not unique to the type of people I encountered in the hospital and the prison.

In Shakespeare’s King Lear, Edmund, the evil son of the Earl of Gloucester, says:

This is the excellent foppery of the world: that when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeit of our own behaviour—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars, as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!

In other words, it wasn’t me.

This passage points, I think, to an eternal and universal temptation of mankind to blame those of his misfortunes that are the natural and predictable consequence of his own choices on forces or circumstances that are external to him and outside his control. Is there any one of us who has never resorted to excuses about his circumstances when he has done wrong or made a bad decision? It is a universal human tendency. But in Britain, at any rate, an entire class of persons has been created that not only indulges in this tendency, but makes it their entire world outlook—and does so with official encouragement.

Let me take as an example the case of heroin addicts. In the 1950s, heroin addiction in Britain was confined to a very small number of people, principally in bohemian circles. It has since become a mass phenomenon, the numbers of addicts having increased perhaps two thousandfold, to something like 250,000 to 300,000. And with the statistically insignificant exception of members of the popular culture elite, heroin addiction is heavily concentrated in areas of the country such as the one in which I worked.

“Addiction is Just a Disease; It’s Not Your Fault”

Heroin addiction has been presented by officialdom as a bona fide disease that strikes people like, shall we say, rheumatoid arthritis. In the United States, the National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction quite baldly as a chronic relapsing brain disease—and nothing else. I hesitate to say it, but this seems to me straightforwardly a lie, told to willing dupes in order to raise funds from the federal government.

Be that as it may, the impression has been assiduously created and peddled among the addicts that they are the helpless victims of something that is beyond their own control, which means that they need the technical assistance of what amounts to a substantial bureaucratic apparatus in order to overcome it. When heroin addicts just sentenced to imprisonment arrived, they said to me, “I would give up, doctor, if only I had the help.” What they meant by this was that they would give up heroin if some cure existed that could be administered to them that would by itself, without any resolution on their part, change their behavior. In this desire they appeared sincere—but at the same time they knew that such a cure did not exist, nor would most of them have agreed to take it if it did exist.

In fact, the whole basis of the supposed treatment for their supposed disease is rooted in lies and misconceptions. For example, research has shown that most addicts spend at least 18 months taking heroin intermittently before they become addicted. Nor are they ignorant while they take it intermittently of heroin’s addictive properties. In other words, they show considerable determination in becoming addicts: It is something, for whatever reason, that they want to become. It is something they do, rather than something that happens to them.

Research has shown also that heroin addicts lead very busy lives one way or another—so busy, in fact, that there is no reason why they could not make an honest living if they so wished. Indeed, this has been known for a long time, for in the 1920s and 30s in America, morphine addicts for the most part made an honest living.

Withdrawal from opiates, the fearfulness of which, reiterated in film and book, is often given as one of the main reasons for not abandoning the habit, is in fact a pretty trivial condition, certainly by comparison with illnesses which most of us have experienced, or by comparison with withdrawal from other drugs. I have never heard an alcoholic say, for example, that he fears to give up alcohol because of delirium tremens—a genuinely dangerous medical condition, unlike withdrawal from heroin. Research has shown that medical treatment is not necessary for heroin addicts to abandon their habit and that many thousands do so without any medical intervention whatsoever.

In Britain at least, heroin addicts do not become criminals because they are addicted (and can raise funds to buy their drugs only by crime); those who take heroin and indulge in criminal behavior have almost always indulged in extensive criminal behavior before they were ever addicted. Criminality is a better predictor of addiction than is addiction of criminality.

In other words, all the bases upon which heroin addiction is treated as if it is something that happens to people rather than something that people do are false, and easily shown to be false. This is so whatever the latest neuro-scientific research may supposedly show.

Does Government Promote Addiction?

I have taken the example of heroin addiction as emblematic of what, with some trepidation, I may call the dialectical relationship between the worldview of those at the bottom of society and the complementary worldview of what one might call the salvationist bureaucracy of the government. In the old Soviet Union there was a joke in which the workers would say to the party bosses, “We pretend to work and you pretend to pay us.” In the case of the heroin addicts, they might say, “We pretend to be ill, and you pretend to cure us.”

One of the possible dangers or consequences of such a charade is that it creates a state of dishonest dependency on the part of the addicts. They wait for salvation as Estragon and Vladimir wait for Godot in Samuel Beckett’s play; they wait for something that will never arrive, and that at least in some part of their mind they know will never arrive—but that officialdom persists in telling them will arrive someday.

Dependence as a Lifestyle

redistsocialismillustratedDishonest passivity and dependence combined with harmful activity becomes a pattern of life, and not just among drug addicts. I remember going into a single mother’s house one day. The house was owned by the local council; her rent was paid, and virtually everything that she owned, or that she and her children consumed, was paid for from public funds.

I noticed that her back garden, which could have been pretty had she cared for it, was like a noxious rubbish heap. Why, I asked her, do you not clear it up for your children to play in?

“I’ve asked the council many times to do it,” she replied. The council owned the property; it was therefore its duty to clear up the rubbish that she, the tenant, had allowed to accumulate there—and this despite what she knew to be the case, that the council would never do so! Better the rubbish should remain there than that she do what she considered to be the council’s duty. At the same time she knew perfectly well that she was capable of clearing the rubbish and had ample time to do so.

This is surely a very curious but destructive state of mind, and one that some politicians have unfortunately made it their interest to promote by promising secular salvation from relative poverty by means of redistribution.

Whether by design or not, the state in England has smashed up all forms of social solidarity that are independent of it. This is not an English problem alone: In France the word solidarité, solidarity, has come to mean high taxation for redistribution by state officials to other parts of the population, which of course are neither grateful for the subventions nor find them sufficient to meet their dreams, and which are, in fact, partly responsible for their need for them in the first place. And not surprisingly, some of the money sticks to the hands of the redistributionist bureaucracy.

Breaking Down Families

By a mixture of ideology and fiscal and social policies, the family has been systematically fractured and destroyed in England, at least in the lowest part of the society that, unfortunately, needs family solidarity the most. There are even, according to some researchers, fiscal and welfare incentives for parents at the lower economic reaches of society not to stay together.

Certainly the notions of dependence and independence have changed. I remember a population that was terrified of falling into dependence on the state, because such dependence, apart from being unpleasant in itself, signified personal failure and humiliation. But there has been an astonishing gestalt switch in my lifetime. Independence has now come to mean independence of the people to whom one is related and dependence on the state. Mothers would say to me that they were pleased to be independent, by which they meant independent of the fathers of their children—usually more than one—who in general were violent swine. Of course, the mothers knew them to be violent swine before they had children by them, but the question of whether a man would be a suitable father is no longer a question because there are no fathers: At best, though often also at worst, there are only stepfathers. The state would provide.

Government Corruption of Independent Moral Character Produces Dependent Mentality

TVbabyIn the new dispensation the state, as well as television, is father to the child.

A small change in locution illustrates a change in the character and conceptions of a people. When I started out as a doctor in the mid-1970s, those who received state benefits would say, “I receive my check on Friday.”

Now people who receive such benefits say, “I get paid on Friday.”

This is an important change. To have said that they received their check on Friday was a neutral way of putting it; to say that they get paid on Friday is to imply that they are receiving money in return for something. But what can that something be, since they do not appear to do anything of economic value to anyone else? It can only be existence itself: They are being paid to continue to exist, existence itself being their work.

It has been said that the lamentable state of affairs I have described has been brought about by the decline, inevitable as we now see it, of the kind of industry that once employed millions of unskilled workers, whose wages, though low by today’s standards, were nevertheless sufficient to sustain a stable, though again by today’s standards not rich, society. And I do not think that this view can be altogether dismissed. But it is far from the whole story. One of the curious features of England in the recent past is that it has consistently maintained very high levels of state-subsidized idleness while importing almost equivalent numbers of foreigners to do unskilled work.

Let me here interject something about the intellectual and moral corruption wrought by the state in recent years—and I don’t know whether it applies to America. The governments of Britain, of both political parties, managed to lessen the official rate of unemployment by the simple expedient of shifting people from the ranks of the unemployed to the ranks of the sick. This happened on such a huge scale that, by 2006—a year of economic boom, remember—the British welfare state had achieved the remarkable feat of producing more invalids than the First World War. But it is known that the majority of those invalids had no real disease. This feat, then, could have been achieved only by the willing corruption of the unemployed themselves—relieved from the necessity to seek work and relieved to have a slightly higher subvention—but also of the doctors who provided them with official certificates that they knew to be bogus. And the government was only too happy, for propaganda purposes, to connive at such large-scale fraud. One begins to see what Confucius meant when he said, 2,500 years ago, that the first thing to do to restore a state to health was to rectify the names—in other words, to call things by their right names rather than by euphemisms.

There are three reasons that I can think of why we imported foreign labor to do unskilled work while maintaining large numbers of unemployed people. The first is that we had destroyed all economic incentive for the latter to work. The second is that the foreigners were better in any case, because their character had not been rotted; they were often better educated—it is difficult to plumb the shallows of the British state educational system for children of the poorest homes—and had a much better work ethic. And the third was the rigidity of the housing market that made it so difficult for people to move around once they had been granted the local privilege of subsidized housing.

I will leave you with an anecdote. As Mao Tse-tung might have put it, one anecdote is worth a thousand abstractions.

Anecdote to Summarize

iwelfarenotcareeropportunityI had been asked by the courts to examine a young woman, aged 18, who was accused of having attacked and injured her 90-year-old great-grandmother, with whom she lived, while under the influence of alcohol and cannabis. She had broken her great-grandmother’s femur, but fortunately it did not prove fatal. (Incidentally, the homicide rate, it is said, would be five times higher than it is if we used the same medical techniques as were used in 1960.) I asked the young woman in the course of my examination whether her mother had ever been in trouble with the police.

“Yes,” she replied.

“What for?” I asked.

“Well, she was on the social,” she said—“on the social” in English argot means receiving welfare payments—“and she was working.”

“What happened?” I asked.

“She had to stop working.”

She said this as if it was so obvious that my question must be that of a mental defective. Work is for pocket money, the public dole is the means by which one lives.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the view from the bottom, at least in Britain: but it is a view that has been inculcated and promoted from the top.

Parenting, Teaching, and Children’s Independence

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

Raising Resilient Children

By Lyle J. Burrup

LDS Family Services

family4How well children respond to setbacks depends largely on how well their parents helped them develop the attitudes and the skills of resilience.

Life is full of trials. The Lord says that He has chosen us “in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10), that we will be “tried, even as Abraham” (D&C 101:4), and that adversity will “give [us] experience, and shall be for [our] good” (D&C 122:7). This sounds quite daunting. We may wonder, can we be happy and at peace in the midst of trials? The scriptures teach us that we can (see 2 Corinthians 12:10; Hebrews 5:7–8; D&C 127:2).

While counseling missionaries at the missionary training center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, I noticed that the most common cause of emotional problems was a lack of resilience. When an intelligent, talented missionary with no history of emotional problems struggled, priesthood leaders and others often wondered why. In many cases, the missionary just hadn’t learned how to deal with challenges well. Parents can help their children avoid such problems by teaching principles that foster greater resilience.

Attitudes of Resilience

The original definition of the word resilience had to do with a material’s ability to resume its shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed. Today we commonly use the word to describe our ability to bounce back from adversity.

We know two things about adversity and resilience: First, there is “an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). Second, obtaining anything of great worth often requires great sacrifice.

As children become resilient, they understand and accept these two facts. They see life as challenging and ever changing, but they believe they can cope with those challenges and changes. They view mistakes and weaknesses as opportunities to learn, and they accept that losing may precede winning.

As children develop resilience, they believe they can influence and even control outcomes in their lives through effort, imagination, knowledge, and skill. With this attitude, they focus on what they can do rather than on what is outside their control.

Another mark of resilience is to see great purpose and meaning in life and people. A sense of purpose will help our children avoid giving up, in spite of setbacks and pressure to do so. If our children are becoming more resilient, they will develop deep values that guide them: charity, virtue, integrity, honesty, work ethic, and faith in God. They will involve themselves in what is happening around them and opt for commitment to values rather than feel alienated and avoid struggle.

The gospel teaches and reinforces these values and perceptions.

Perfectionism Undermines Resilience

One thing that hinders the development of resilience is a misunderstanding of the commandment to be perfect (see Matthew 5:48). This misunderstanding is the most common factor I’ve seen undermining resilience in new missionaries. They want to be perfect in everything because they love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and do not want to disappoint Them. But they do not understand that the Lord works through weak, simple servants (see D&C 1:19–23) and that striving to be perfect does not mean we never make mistakes but rather that we become fully developed or complete through the Atonement of Christ as we strive to follow Him (see Matthew 5:48, footnote b).

This misunderstanding may also stem from what society teaches our youth: that their worth depends on talent and performance. In schools and communities, sometimes even at church or at home, youth see their peers get acceptance, admiration, approval, and praise for being talented at something. So they try to measure up. As they do so, they start to fear failure and mistakes. They choose what to do based on how successful they think they will be. They procrastinate when they do not feel confident. They worry about what others will think if they make mistakes. They fear loss of approval. They view their performance as the measure of their worth. Their perfectionism becomes a mean taskmaster, and it wears down their resilience.

For instance, because missionaries at the MTC cannot choose what they are going to do or not do as part of their training, they make mistakes as they learn how to speak a new language, teach gospel concepts, and perform other missionary tasks. They make these mistakes in front of strangers, and if they haven’t gained a sense of resilience, they feel distressed and overwhelmed.

Helping Children Develop Resilience

So how do we help our children develop resilience? Our Father in Heaven provides the model. He treats us with great love and respect, even when we make mistakes. He reminds us of our potential (see Moses 1:39) and our great worth (see D&C 18:10), which are based on our identity as His sons and daughters. He gives us laws so we know what He expects (see D&C 107:84), allows us to make choices (see 2 Nephi 2:15–16), and honors our choices (see D&C 130:20). He allows for learning and instruction to correct mistakes (see D&C 1:25–26) and for repentance and restitution to correct sin (see D&C 1:27–28).

Here are some recommendations for how we might apply these principles in our homes:

  • Pray to understand your children’s strengths and how to help them with their weaknesses.
  • Be patient and realize that children need time to develop resilience.
  • Strive to understand that mistakes and failures are opportunities to learn.
  • Allow natural, logical consequences to serve as the disciplinarian.
  • Respect children’s decisions, even if their poor choices lead to lost privileges.
  • Refrain from berating children for breaking the rules.
  • Do not discourage effort by criticizing harshly.
  • Rather than praising accomplishment, encourage and praise effort.
  • “Praise your children more than you correct them. Praise them for even their smallest achievement” (President Ezra Taft Benson [1899–1994], “The Honored Place of Woman,” Ensign, Nov. 1981, 107).

As we prayerfully work on the challenging job of raising resilient children, the Lord will bless us with the guidance and inspiration we need to help them gain the emotional and spiritual strength to deal with life’s challenges.

Lessons of Resilience from Childhood

—Lyle J. Burrup

childwkgardenWhen I was a child, many adults in my life—parents, neighbors, teachers, and Church leaders—taught me and my brother and sisters the following lessons. These five principles may be helpful for your children:

  1. Paying the price for privileges. I knew that freedom to play with my friends in the coming days depended on whether or not I came home on time.
  2. The law of the harvest. If I wanted money, I had to deliver the newspapers for my route and collect the money each month.
  3. Personal accountability and responsibility. I had to complete my own homework, science fair projects, and merit badges.
  4. The law of restitution. I could make up for misbehavior by apologizing and repairing the wrong. My parents sometimes suggested that I complete extra chores, such as pulling weeds.
  5. Learning from mistakes. If I made my bed poorly, did not wash the dishes properly, or did not pull weeds properly, I had to redo these tasks correctly.

Recommendations for Raising Capable, Resilient Children

While parenting requires a personalized approach for each child, some principles seem to be nearly universal. The following principles have proved effective.

Instead of Doing This …

Do This …

And Get This Result …

Set random or arbitrary rules and consequences. Discuss rules and set logical consequences that are reasonable, related to the behavior, and respectful of both parent and child. Children know what to expect and learn that choices have consequences.
Allow children to avoid the consequences of their choices. Allow children to experience natural and logical consequences of their choices. Children learn accountability and responsibility for their choices.
Give mostly correction. Give mostly praise. Celebrate small steps in the right direction. Children learn what parents want. They feel encouraged, worthwhile, and appreciated.
Be arbitrary and inconsistent in requiring obedience. Consistently offer desirable rewards for the actions and behaviors you would like to reinforce. Children learn that they don’t have to want to do hard things; they just have to do them.
Praise only outcomes. Praise for effort regardless of outcome. Children feel encouraged, confident, and more willing to take on challenges.
Send the message to children that their self-worth depends on outcomes. Tell children they have inherent worth because they are sons or daughters of God and have divine potential. Self-worth will be attached to the child’s eternal potential instead of temporary success or failure.
Talk about failures or successes as being connected to luck or talent. Define failure as temporary and an opportunity to learn. Define success as a product of hard work and sacrifice. Children are less discouraged by or afraid of setbacks and are more willing to be persistent.
Try to solve children’s problems by giving them all the answers. Help children (1) identify what happened, (2) analyze what contributed to the outcome, and (3) identify what they can do to avoid this problem next time. Children develop perceptions of being capable, will address and solve their problems, and will see that they have control in their lives and can overcome challenges.
Make children feel dumb by criticizing them, their effort, and their accomplishments. Listen and be supportive and encouraging so your children will want to come to you again for help. Children feel more comfortable discussing their mistakes and problems with you.