Sowing the Seeds of a Future Revival

justin-katz-avatar-smiling

Today’s was one of those mornings during which there’s too much to write about for me to pause my thoughts long enough actually to write any of it.

When trying to tame one’s thoughts, beginning with positive news is always a good first step, so:

In a unanimous vote, tonight, the Tiverton School Committee approved full-day kindergarten for the upcoming school year, beginning in September. That outcome represented a reversal of the committee’s vote, on May 26, not to implement the expanded program because the estimates on which the administration based its budget were off by about 1%.

My political opposition in town will disagree with my assessment, but this outcome represents, in my view, a sign that the people can pull together and make their government respond, inch by inch, to their priorities even when they differ from those of the folks holding office.  (Of course, looking at the not-exactly-happy faces in the video still at the top of that post, one might infer that my opposition actually does agree with my assessment.)

That very small, very local turn of events provides, I guess, about the most positive framework it’s possible to put around the rest of my thoughts, this morning, so let’s take another plank out of the pile.

I have no particular affinity for the Confederate battle flag, but with a resurgent terrorist movement in the world and a massive foreign hack of government records — and all of the many, many other stories of huge import — going after a flag that’s been defunct except as fashion for a century and a half seems like an unusual thing to be occupying Americans’ thoughts, right now.  To the extent that I’m not ambivalent about it, though, the process of the movement concerns me.

Last Thursday, I became aware of the flag controversy only because a sort of Twitter mob bizarrely looped me into a discussion in process.  By midway through the next week, it was a subject upon which all public figures were being asked to opine, and major retailers were removing products with the flag from their physical and virtual shelves.  If the episode feels familiar, perhaps it’s because it was only this March that large companies were weighing in on politics unrelated to their services to oppose religious freedom in Indiana.

Americans have the unusual opportunity of learning from history in process: In the Confederate flag kerfuffle, we can see what progressives hope and expect to be the end game for institutions that support marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Shortly after the Supreme Court’s ruling making same-sex marriage the law for the entire nation, Ray Sullivan — who led a political group for the same cause in Rhode Island and who now works as a lobbyist for the left-wing advocacy organization and teacher union, the RI National Education Association — tweeted that there’s “no such thing as ‘gay marriage’ any longer. Now it’s just ‘marriage.'”  Asked to elaborate, he insisted, “the debate’s over.”

Again, the process is more important than the outcome.  How did this social/cultural debate proceed and end?  Simplifying: First came a court decision in Massachusetts.  Then came a public debate, with many states affirming that marriage is a man-and-woman institution, but a handful finding otherwise.  Next, a large number of the former were flipped by judges, and now five life-appointed Supreme Court justices have imposed that as the irrevocable law of the land, with no opportunity for the people to change it short of a Constitutional amendment.

The people didn’t end the debate.  Judges did, and that’s that.

The story doesn’t stop, here, of course.  Ted Nesi tweets that “This isn’t the end of the road: @davidcicilline is working on what he says will be a comprehensive LGBT anti-discrimination federal law.”  What will that mean?  As I tried to get Sullivan to tell me, where, exactly, is the boundary of my right to believe that the debate is not over?

Taking things in another direction:  What other cultural questions will this process of imposing the will of America’s elite on the country follow?  Religious liberty, certainly.  Rights of free association, most likely.  Property rights, probably.

The other day, Kevin Williamson suggested that we’re witnessing “peak Leftism,” with the progressives charging forth in a mixed “temper tantrum and … panic attack” to do as much damage to our society as they can in the final two years of the Obama administration.  We’ll see if his faith in our civic system, to allow Americans to get control of their country again, is justified.  I have my doubts.

Whether we can keep from going off the cliff or must content ourselves to hope for salvation after the accelerating totalitarianism breaks itself up by its own weight, it will be a long process.  And either way, recovery will have to start close to home — with ourselves, with our families, and within our local communities.

We have to relearn the political process, and reteach each other what it means to hold civil debate without turning to some government authority to decide when we hold the power.  This can’t be turned around from top down, because there will be no foundation for a national policy of freedom and true diversity.  We have to hope that it can be turned around from the bottom up.



  • Mike

    Congrats on full day K, but it’s a mixed bag–look at the research starting to be published examining the behavioral problems cropping up as a result of pushing young children too fast academically. Too soon to be a trend, but some studies show poorer academic performance in later grades and an uptick in behavioral issues. This, of course, is never discussed by proponents of full day K.

    As for the country, you’ll know it’s over when Justice Roberts leads the charge to gut the second amendment by deciding the right to “keep and bear arms” means exactly that–your get to keep your arms and, by extension, your hands. Have a great weekend…

  • Warrington Faust

    There is much in what Justin says, However, I fear that we are in the
    clutches of “low information” voters. This was brought home this morning when I
    watched a video of recent high school graduates being asked when the United
    States declared independence. Only about 15% knew. In realization of this, the
    media chooses to concentrate on “emotional issues” that require only “feelings”.
    Everyone wants to “be nice”. The Confederate Battle Flag and Same Sex Marriage
    are two such issues. I find it difficult to establish a clear connection between
    Dylann Roof and the Stars and Bars. The most common picture of him shows him
    burning the Stars and Stripes. The battle flag can be seen as a symbol of
    “racism” or a symbol of “states rights”. Compelling arguments can be made for
    both, but those are issues for “high information” voters. It is well to recall that our Civil War began as an effort to “preserve the union” by conquest. “Freeing the slaves” arose late in the war as an objective to unite the public behind a war that the Union was losing. The modern mind, at
    least mine, has difficulty understanding the social theory of slavery in 1860.
    It might ease the process by wondering what the people of 1860 would think about
    people piercing their faces with nuts and bolts, covering their bodies with
    tattoos, wearing Ubangi like plugs in their ears, Bruce Jenner “transforming”
    into a woman, and same sex marriage. Arriving at same sex marriage, I wonder
    why a “civil union” device is not acceptable. Such unions could have been
    accompanied by a declaration that they are “equal” to a marriage. The need for
    recognition of such marriages as “equal” seems like “feel good” to me. But it
    does respond to an emotional pull to “be nice”. There are complex issues of
    “states rights” here, that is for “high information” voters. I confess that I
    have not yet read the court’s opinion on SSM, I will be interested to see how
    they establish a congruence with established principles.

    The heat of emotion shall pass on these issues. However, the court’s decisions will endure. Each decision which finds that the Constitution overrides the rights of the states is a milestone on the road away from a republic. Our Founders well knew that all prior republics had failed and did their best to protect it in the Constitution. We must not fail them, that is one road to tyranny.

    • D. S. Crockett

      Great post. Justice Roberts has it right in his descending opinion. The politicians gladly let the judiciary settle issues affecting social policies because they are incapable of taking a stand that would negatively affect their own self-interest. The founding fathers knew human beings were skunks who would act in their own self-interest. I am afraid this once great republic is well on its way to totalitarianism due in part to low-information voters. Then again, you have to hand it to the left, they eliminated civics classes in schools long ago.

  • guest

    It’s been a rough week for the baggers and assorted others that are usually on the wrong side of history. How bad you ask? When Justin has to celebrate the expansion of “Government” schools as “positive” news, you know it’s’ bad. I may tune in to Fox News tonight to see if anyone’s head explodes on the air.

    • Max

      …and they call conservatives hateful, go figure.

    • ShannonEntropy

      When Justin has to celebrate the expansion of “Government” schools as “positive” news, you know it’s’ bad.

      Justin may have a major disagreement with three other posters here — Warrington, Mike & Yours Truly — about the value of all-day kindergarten. But none of us are Anarchists

      We all recognize that the Government does have a role in Society. Just like eventually getting around to fixing the bridges, Public Education is one of those roles

      Once you accept that axiom, the only debate is over the size & scope of those roles. Why do you think Justin spends so much time trying to bring some conservative principles into the processes in Tiverton ??

  • D. S. Crockett

    Warrington Faust: Great post. Justice Roberts has it right in his descending opinion. The politicians gladly let the judiciary settle issues affecting social policies because they are incapable of taking a stand that would negatively affect their own self-interest. The founding fathers knew human beings were skunks who would act in their own self-interest. I am afraid this once great republic is well on its way to totalitarianism due in part to low-information voters. Then again, you have to handle it to the left, they eliminated civics classes in schools long ago.

    • Warrington Faust

      Thank you for the compliment. Frequently I am unable to constrain the impetuosity of my thoughts. My Southern grandfather would begin Sunday breakfast with grace, followed with “Now is the time for grits (hominy) and gravitas”. This may be one of those times. More than you need to know. I had an ancestor at Valley Forge and 13 collateral relatives killed in Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg (28th NC) I certainly admire their “grit”. (NC was not a major slave state, crops did not lend themselves to it). While not prominently displayed, I have in my home a battle flag from the 9th Va. This year, on the Fourth of July (anniversary of Gettysburg), I am tempted to “run it up”.

      • Johnny Reb

        If you are so proud and loud, why don’t to attach it to your vehicles antenna and drive around South Providence while blasting “Dixie” from your sound system.

        • Warrington faust

          Why not? Because it would be seen as a symbol of “racism” and “hatred”. One of those tricks of history that we need to believe. For instance why do we feel some guilt over the civilians we killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? We killed many more civilians in the fire bombing of Dresden, but that is lost to history. A political decision was made to “clean up” Japanese history. Today, an amazing number of college students think they were our allies in WWII. I remember providing my daughter’s history teacher with a video of Japanese “War Crimes” trials. She didn’t know there had been any.

        • ShannonEntropy

          Why doesn’t he ??

          For the same reason YOU can burn an American flag in front of Warrington’s house but he would *never* burn a Koran in front of 39 Haskins St in LaProv — address of The Islamic Society of RI — i.e. he’s not suicidal

          If blacks held a Black Lives Matter parade thru my lily-white neighborhood of Paxtuxet Village in Warwick … *crickets chirping*

          But if whites held a White Lives Matter Too parade thru south Provodence they would get literally slaughtered

          Or haven’t you heard that the over-whelming majority of inter-racial violent crime is black-on-white ?? … See =►

          http://tinyurl.com/no28e9m

  • Jus’ Sayin’

    Does anyone else see a correlation between this list and red states?

    10 Most Dangerous States for You and Your Family to Live In

    10.Alabama
    9. Texas
    8. Florida
    7. Delaware
    6. Alaska
    5. Tennessee
    4. New Mexico
    3. Louisiana
    2. Arkansas
    1. South Carolina

    • Tommy Cranston

      Does anyone else see a correlation between this list and blacks and Mexicans?
      Try looking at the murder rates in all Democrat all black Deeeeetroit compared to the mostly white suburbs and all white exurbs, small towns and rural areas of Michigan that vote overwhelmingly Republican. Closer to home we can look at murder rates in East and West Greenwhich, Exeter, Scituate, Coventry, Lincoln, Tiverton, Little Compton and other mostly white Republican/Republican leaning areas as contrasted to the murder rates in the lovely diversity of CF and the “capital city”.

      Jus’ Sayin’

      • Warrington Faust

        I have to say that correlation struck me immediately.

  • Jus’ Sayin’

    How about this one? Does anyone else see a correlation between this list and red states?

    10 Dumbest States for Educating Your Kids Before College

    10.Kentucky
    9. South Carolina
    8. Arizona
    7.Arkansas
    6. West Virginia
    5. New Mexico
    4. Nevada
    3.Louisiana
    2. Alabama
    1.Mississippi

Quantcast