America’s Conservative Road to Destruction – A Brief History
I was born in the early 50’s, spent 8 years in the Air Force, and had the chance to raise two great kids and enjoy a prosperous America before the right wing tentacles grabbed two thirds of our government. I’ve watched this happen in my lifetime, as have many of you. Please take a few minutes and grab a fresh cup of coffee (or tea), sit back and review the timeline I’ve put together. Yes, it is lengthy, but our American government wasn’t infiltrated over night. It was a calculated effort. This essay explains not only what happened, but also chronicles the predetermined sequence of events that allowed it to happen.
Foreigners – Them
Democracy is a middle-class enterprise, and the ever-widening spread of income inequality over the last thirty years has reduced the American middle-class to the ever-larger and unknown horde seen by presidential candidate Mitt Romney as the 47 percent of Americans who don’t take responsibility for themselves, by Republican congressman Paul Ryan as “takers.” The 5 percent of the population in the upper reaches of net worth regard themselves as peers in the realm of a global plutocracy, having less in common with their once-upon-a-time fellow citizens of the United States than they do with their counterparties in Zurich, Bahrain, and Mumbai.
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How to Think
Cultures that endure carve out a protected space for those who question and challenge national myths. Artists, writers, poets, activists, journalists, philosophers, dancers, musicians, actors, directors and renegades must be tolerated if a culture is to be pulled back from disaster. Members of this intellectual and artistic class, who are usually not welcome in the stultifying halls of academia where mediocrity is triumphant, serve as prophets. They are dismissed, or labeled by the power elites as subversive, because they do not embrace collective self-worship.
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We Are All Aboard the Pequod
The most prescient portrait of the American character and our ultimate fate as a species is found in Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” Melville makes our murderous obsessions, our hubris, violent impulses, moral weakness and inevitable self-destruction visible in his chronicle of a whaling voyage. He is our foremost oracle. He is to us what William Shakespeare was to Elizabethan England or Fyodor Dostoyevsky to czarist Russia.
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When the Republicans…
“Leading the Movement Conservatives was Georgia Republican Newt Gingrich. A consummate egotist, Gingrich believed he could put the Republicans in control of Congress for the first time since 1954. To do that, he took a hard Movement Conservative line, accusing anyone who stood against him of elitism, socialism, or corruption—either personal or in the traditional sense of corrupting the body politic by representing “special interests.” “You are killing us,” Bush told him, “you are just killing us.”
That was exactly Gingrich’s intention: to knock off the remaining Republican moderates, whom he and his lieutenants were beginning to think of as RINOs—Republicans in Name Only”
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Excerpted from “To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party” by Heather Cox Richardson. Published by Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright 2014 by Heather Cox Richardson. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Columbia University – 2008 Commencement Address
Lee C. Bollinger
When you leave these gates, the positions in the mental universe are reversed in how they’re weighted. The battle over beliefs is increasingly dominating and threatens the possibilities for a reflective mind. Busyness is the first problem. Multitasking is the arch-enemy of reflection.
Read more at: Columbia University – 2008 Commencement Address