Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What Went Wrong with the American Experiment and When?

I stole borrowed that title from Jim Gourdie, over at Conservatives on Fire, who was brought into a debate by another blogger, Brian at Frankenstein Government.  I won't tell you the conclusions either of them reached - you'll have to read those for yourselves.  Both articles are interesting and deserving of a reading.

Conservatives on Fire:   What Went Wrong with the American Experiment and When?
Frankenstein Government:   Critical Mass...When Exactly Did We Lose Control of Our Country?

I was intrigued by the question and thought I'd throw my views into the pot.  I'm hoping others will, too.

In my opinion, the downward spiral began about 3 nanoseconds after we became a country.  I base that on the knowledge of human nature, which isn't all sweetness and light.  Wherever good people are trying to do the right thing, you will always find people searching for power and control.  It's simply human nature.

I do believe, however, that we reached the top of the roller coaster around 1900, and started the rapid downward scary ride some time around 1960.  Beginning with our entry into WWI in 1917 and followed by WWII, we saw our society rapidly change.

A Few of the Players 

A good place to begin is with Woodrow Wilson.  First elected in 1913, he was a progressive who brought us the Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act, and America's first-ever federal progressive income tax in the Revenue Act of 1913 - all in his first term. Thus began one of the largest and fastest expansions of the federal government.  
Wilson was no fan of the Constitution, viewing it as out-dated and unnecessary, preferring instead a parliamentary form of government.  Like any true progressive, Wilson thought the elitists in the government should be left alone to do what the great unwashed were incapable of doing for themselves.  Sound familiar? 

In 1933, Herbert Marcuse, an associate of the Frankfurt School - essentially a neo-Marxist school of thought in Germany, emigrated to the USA.  During WW II, Marcuse held many important positions with the US government, including  the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which was the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency.  After retiring from service, Marcuse taught at many of the major universities, including Columbia and Harvard,  and became somewhat of an icon to the hippies of the 1960's.

At about the same time, John Dewey, someone we often hear called the "Father of Education", began propagating his theories about education;  mainly that morality is situational, that beliefs should be examined scientifically, and that change in belief is inevitable and desirable.  He believed in the validity of human reason, the primacy of science, the certainty of progress, and the self-sufficiency of man.  This, of course, does not cover in detail everything Dewey believed, but be assured, his influence is still strong in the educational system, and it's not good.  Our schools continue to turn out increasingly dumber kids, because dumb citizens are easier to control. 

Next is Dr. Benjamin Spock.  My mother would never forgive me if I didn't mention him and his mega-popular book Baby and Child Care, first published in 1946 just after my birth.  When I was older, she told me about reading the book and promptly throwing it in the trash heap, declaring it a "bunch of crap."

 In 1969, Nathaniel Branden, an early follower (and lover) of Ayn Rand, published The Psychology of Self-Esteem, a book that became sort of a clarion call for vulnerable people, in that it enabled them to throw off the few restraints they retained after the rockin' 60's.  We still find plenty of lefties invested in this failed concept of "self-esteem" as something we need to be given rather than earned through our accomplishments.

Certainly there were many more people who had negative influences on society during this period.  It would be impossible (without boring you to death) to mention them all, so let's skip ahead to three of the most deleterious influences on the psyche of American citizens.

Modern Welfare, Public Unions, and the Pill

FDR and his "New Deal" marked the beginning of our modern welfare state.  Because of the disastrous policies of FDR, the Great Depression was extended by at least seven years.  Today, we see economic policies similar to those of FDR being promulgated by the Obama administration - with equally disastrous results.

Not to be outdone, LBJ came up with the "Great Society" during the 60's, which turned out to be not so great.  With the proliferation of the welfare state, we've seen black families deteriorate until today over 70% of black babies (the ones not aborted) are illegitimate.  They've traded their slave status on the plantation for being a slave of the government, and a herd of white folk has joined them.

In an attempt to justify his "War on Poverty", I remember LBJ saying something to the effect of "raising up the bottom one third."  Sounds fine and dandy until you realize that unless you make everyone exactly equal, there will always be a bottom one third.

Next are public sector unions.  Until the1950's, they were largely illegal.  The first U.S. state to permit collective bargaining by public employees was Wisconsin, in 1959.  Why am I not surprised?  That was the beginning of public sector unions gouging taxpayers for higher and higher wages and benefits, while union bosses began donating the bulk of their contributions to democrats who would ensure that the gravy train would keep chugging along, making it hard, if not impossible, for the average person to have a legitimate say in elections. 

The third event has to do with a dream Margaret Sanger had sometime during the early 1900's.  A radical feminist, she dreamed of a "magic pill" women could take to prevent pregnancy.  Her dream came true in the early 1960's with the advent of the contraceptive pill.  Up to that time, all churches opposed artificial birth control, but Protestant churches quickly put their Good Housekeeping seal of approval on "the pill."

In Humanae Vitae,  the encyclical letter of Pope Paul VI concerning birth control he said:
Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.
Since the majority of Catholics choose to ignore this proscription on artificial birth control, the divorce rate among Catholics is equal to the population at whole - about 50%.  An intact family, raising morally healthy children, is quickly becoming something our grandchildren will read about in history books.
Flowing from the easy accessibility of contraception, which separates sexual intercourse not just from procreation, but from any obligation of the parties involved,  we come to 1973 and Roe v Wade.  I've no doubt many pro-abortion people will argue that contraception and abortion enjoy no link, but indeed they do.  When the sexual act became distorted, the outcome was the legalization of the killing of one's child.  If the sexual act is not primarily used for the intended purpose, which is the conception of a child, then the fruits of the act become nothing more than a burden to be discarded in a trash can.

As we've witnessed, the next step is euthanasia for the old and infirm, a practice which has been legalized in many states.   In no time at all, it will probably become a duty to die for the citizens of this country .

Are We Finished as a Country?

But back to the original question of when we lost control of the country.  While most people want to latch onto the evil 60's, we can see that it all started much earlier.  I'd have to take it back to the Garden of Eden when the serpent promised Eve she could be a god.  Now who the heck doesn't want to be a god? Once thrown out of the garden and having their eyes opened, Adam and Eve passed unto their progeny a certain weakness in spirit, a propensity, as it were, to do the easy thing.

The 1950's saw prosperity and growth unparalleled by no other time in history.  People became complacent and stopped paying attention to what was occurring.   And why not?  They were, for the most part, good and moral people who worked hard and were enjoying the fruits of their labor, never expecting that the people they elected may have had other ideas.  Their mistake was forgetting that there is such a thing as evil and evil never rests. 

This country is definitely teetering on the edge of a very steep cliff.  What gives hope, real hope - not the phony "the government will take care of you hope" of our current president, is the organic movement called the Tea Party.  People with morals and intelligence have been awakened to the forces that seek to destroy us, and are fighting to stop and reverse the destruction.

The battle lines have now been drawn and it will be a long and ugly war. 

I would like to have others join in by doing their own posts on this subject.  It's important to know what happened in order to launch the most effective battle.  If you chose to do a post, please let me know so I can link to it.  

with some great bloggers joining in

Additional Reading:

The Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto
Democracy and Education by John Dewey (full book online)
The Underground History of Education by John Taylor Gatto (full book online)
The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt (full book online)
Benjamin Spock: The Systematic Destruction of the Freedom to Fail
Timeline:  The Pill


Old Bob said...

This is a fascinating topic, and I just started writing a post about it. It's going to be quite long (I've always been wordy), so I may post in in parts. I have added a link to here. Many thanks for wht you have written and linhed to!

Adrienne said...

Bob - Looking forward to your post. I think you're one of my very smartest blogger buddies.

Be sure and let me know when you post so I can link to you :-)

Adrienne said...

Bob - well, duh! I'll see it on my reader. It's late (midnight) and I'm not thinking clearly.

RightKlik said...

I hope the Tea Party hasn't burned out. Maybe we'll have one good hiccup before this country takes its last breath.

Our country was built on some great ideas, but I'm afraid those ideas are obsolete now.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

This is an awesome post! You pinpoint key figures and times that really contribute to our current predicament.

I'll have to give it some thought and come up with something too. This is definitely a great idea, without thinking about how we got here, we're never going to be able to get out of this mess.

Justin said...

I think all of your points are valid, with the exception that I'm not in full-agreement with the anti-pill argument.

If I were to try and simplify the question of what has happened to America, I would say it is that we've surrendered the notion that having a unified culture is important. We no longer have a basic shared worldview.

First, we've surrendered basic conceptions of reality and humanity's place within it. In large part, Christians in the U.S. have themselves to blame for having engaged in what was, at times, down right vicious internecine warfare. This opened the way for various other ideologies to adopt a "divide-and-conquer" strategy.

Second, we've surrendered commitment to linguistic uniformity. Mind you, I'm not at all opposed to requiring students to learn multiple languages in school. Indeed, I'd probably require more language study beginning in Kindergarten and continuing at least through High School. But requiring academic study of other languages is one thing...saying that all legal and economic business MUST be conducted in multiple languages is quite another.

Perhaps as a manifestation of my first point, we've given up on logic and systematic reasoning as a culture. It has been pointed out (I think rightly so) that philosophical foundationalism is a chimera. What that's been taken to mean, however, is that we don't need to both trying to be logical or consistent at all! There's no need to analyze the effects of economic policy, for example, because what's really important is that we "meant well." There's no need to take responsibility for the effect that leaving my spouse might have on my children, because I "still love them...just in a different way." etc. etc.

Adrienne said...

RK - In all honesty, I don't hold out much hope for a good end to all of this. The numbers (fiscal ones) are just against us. Math doesn't lie.

Adrienne said...

Fuzzy - I couldn't think of anyone better to fisk this subject. Bob is going to post, too - and he's a super smarty like you.

What fun!

Adrienne said...

Justin - I doubt if more than 1 in a million people would agree on artificial birth control. It's a subject I studied quite rigorously as part of my religious ed teaching.

All your other points are excellent. They made me think of Michael Savage and his mantra, "borders, language, culture."

As for not being able to think - thank the schools and the absentee parents - most of whom are products of the same dumbed down schooling as their kids.

Anonymous said...

Really good post and something I've been studying up on recently. I don't know if I already recommended this book to you or not; "None Dare Call It Treason" by John Stormer, published in 1964. It's about the slow and inexorable creep of Socialism/Communism into our education system, religious communities, Media and even the upper echelons of the Federal government. There's a whole chapter devoted to John Dewey and his disciples.


Adrienne said...

I remember hearing about that book and will look into getting a copy. Wonder what Stormer would write now since his book was published in 1964. Honestly - anyone with half a brain can see what's been going on in our schools.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a great essay. I will look forward to reading what Bob and Fuzzy and others have to say. Thanks for doing this piece.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post but I'd argue that our country had two turning points. The first when Marshal decalred the Supreme Court alone had the right to onterpret the Constitution and elevated the Supreme Court to a position that Jefferson had warned about. The second and death blow to the Constitution came with Lincoln who shredded the Constitution.