FIRST PRINCIPLES: FIRST IMPRESSIONS ABOUT AMERICA

Vassar Bushmills

Anyone, anywhere, who hears the name “America” already has a first impression about America; either positive or negative. It doesn’t matter if he/she is 18 or 80, and located anywhere in the world.

If abroad those impressions are a mixture of street talk, music, films, and of course, relatives who may have traveled there or live. One man from one village can go to America, and everyone in that valley has a impression of America that no government can conceal.

I knew such a family from Dayton whose father had come to America from a village in Slovakia before WWII, taking work in a steel mill. He left a wife and son back home. Just before the war he went back to bring his wife to America. But he had to leave his 6-year old behind with relatives to secure the family lands. Once in America, Papa and Mama Miluks started a new family, his youngest son my best friend for many years from the Army. In the late 1970s, while on duty in Germany, he was allowed to travel to Slovakia and meet his eldest brother and see the village and old home place, and of course, take gifts. When I visited his family in Dayton Mama Miluks showed me the special place she kept all her letters from her son, who she had not seen since 1940. But those letters! She wrote many-paged reports every week for over 40 years, giving a weekly account of things going on with his papa and brothers and sister, learning quickly to never speak of certain things, for by ’46 the Communists had moved in and her letters were first read and redacted by postal censors, cutting all references to the availability of consumer goods commonly available in America, especially food. Her son, in turn, would reply with heavily redacted letters. He would die in the early 1990’s of the general poor heath common to socialist countries so was never able to join his family. He never met his other two younger brothers or sister. And of course his last personal memory of his parents was when he was 6.

But I am quite sure every adult in that village had clear impressions of America because of Mr Miluks, who went to America.

I tell this story because one, it’s true, and two, it is, next to the Christian’s ideal of Heaven, an impression of America as a place that one has never been and most wants to go, which cannot be duplicated anywhere else. I have met people in several countries and four continents, including Palestinian Arabs (on an overnight sleeper in Russia) and from all I hear basically the same thing, “If only I could go to America.”

(This is not what we are seeing today on our southern border, by the way, so I won’t take this discussion in that direction, although just 30-40 years ago, down there, where I also lived, this was a common refrain, “If I can only get to America.” I deal with this subject in an upcoming conversation about Assimilation, which should be a topic of policy discussion if we can ever get fully in charge or our government again.)

So, abroad, America is viewed through two entirely different prisms, divided by two classes: 1) the political class and 2) all the rest[…]

Continue Reading

Instruction Page for Veterans’ Lecture Series

Vetarans’ Tales by Vassar Bushmills

These lectures are free. Print out and use as you please.

We’re putting these out into the public domain, as it will help get these lectures in front of the several veterans groups, civic organizations and interested school-parent groups.

If you’ve got a knack, and itch to teach young minds, and would like to make some spare cash a few nights a month, simply use at your pleasure.

It would be nice, but you don’t even have to say you’re part of our Program.

We have been sending messages to foundations and veterans groups, but since there are at least three levels of communication before our message actually gets in the hands of a decision-maker…well you know how that works out.

So we thought it best for to create a pipeline directly to the Veteran. After all, this is for the purpose of teaching young students at the community level, wherever a VFW post or American Legion lodge can be found. There are also dozens of parent groups, private schools, maybe even some public school teachers, who are concerned about all the necessary things about America students are no longer being taught.

Our first lecture is “The First Principle of Being American”. I recommend this as a first lecture for I used it for years teaching several college classes of inner-city mothers attempting to get a degree, and it laid the foundation for 24 hours of instruction in American history and government, which they had to have for a degree.

I simply threw the textbook out and taught the course as a series of things they never even considered about their country, and how those things are very relevant in their lives.

I used the same opening lecture for every class, because it made their jaws drop every time.

From this “First Principle of Being American” you can spin future lectures in several different directions. There is no necessary order. In fact, your interaction with your students may give you some ideas I haven’t thought of.  (Just call me.) .

I’ll provide several more Lessons here.

Cost: NONE

These Lessons are offered free of charge. You don’t have to pay us a penny. But once you get a regular paying client base or sponsor it would be nice if you’d send a little back to us through our Donor Page.

Subject Matter: Go to VeteransTales.org/ VETS IN CLASS, and review the articles already there. They explain why Veterans are needed in the classroom because of the things about Service to, and the Uniqueness of America are no longer taught in American public schools….and why this is so.

They also go on to explain why Veterans, above any other group, are most qualified to connect and teach these young students[…]

Continue Reading

OUR “VETS IN CLASS” TEACHING PROGRAM; LOOKING FOR SUPPORTING PARTNERS

Vassar Bushmills

Since its inception, VeteransTales.org has been movinging toward the establishment of a teaching program for veterans in order to fill in the growing gap between modern education in America’s schools about America’s history, and the reasons America was created in the first place.

It takes only three generations for those things to be lost to a culture, and we’re about halfway there.

I set this process of disintegration out in an earlier piece, “Conservatism, Those Other Guys, and the Vetetans”.

When the Soviet Union fell in 1992 virtually no Soviet citizen had any memory or knowledge of the nation (or family) that extended beyond 70 years. I know, I was there. Freed in 1992, they were still had no fixed stars in their heavens to guide them; no history, no church, no moral base.

For nearly two hundred years since our Founding the extant family, our public schools and universities, and our several religious institutions passed these culture-surviving ingredients onto the next generation. And the next. But since the mid-1960s those institutions have been under assault or reshaped as a matter of government policy.

Veterans are uniquely situated to help hold the line, and even pass it on, while public institutions no longer try.

Our Program has three objectives; Find & Recruit, Teach & Train, then Place veterans.

As you already know, finding veterans isn’t hard.

Every town, every school district has veterans. Most towns have a VFW and American Legion chapter. Wounded veterans have their own unique sponsors, Wounded Warriors Project, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and dozens of service organizations from every branch.

We’ll contact virtually every one in coming days via email and social media. But in larger bureaucratic organizations as many now are, I doubt the right people will ever see or read this.

More than donations, if you know any of these people, you would be doing our Cause a great service simply by passing this forward, preferably with a “Deserves a look” or “Attaboy” attached..

it would also be nice if you would contact me (contact info below) as piercing many of your corporate veils is a daunting task without a personal reference.

Allen and I were never palm-grippers in those circles.

All we have to offer are programs that need some sponsorship and partners, and the skill to design them. And a little administrative jump start.

Our objectives are simple:

To put as many veterans as possible in front of as many school kids, aged 11-to-18, as possible, in public schools if allowed, and in other parent-approved settings if the public schools are not available….

And to develop from that open door, other programs.

Our mission will be to train vets to deliver Lectures and Q-and-A sessions about the essence of America, and its relevance to them in their lives as they go forward, beginning with why America is different from all the other countries throughout history; and why so many ordinary peoples in those countries love us and why their political class generally don’t.

(I found this very effective in teaching cynical and indifferent young inner-city black mothers who only needed my classes for a degree, having nothing to do with their degree program.)

These are First Principles and in these age groups veterans have more street cred than any other segment of American society to pass them on.

The political elites of most of the world have always felt negatively about America, even as it’s our shoulders that most of their stand on, and have for the better part of a century.

Only recently have many inside our own political and educational culture become equally hostile to the notion of American uniqueness, hence the current movement to erase that history for the next generations’ memory.

Our proposal:

At VeteransTales.org, in the VETS IN CLASS section (at the top banner), we’ve begun a discussion as to why veterans are uniquely qualified to carry out this mission; namely, they’ve invested skin in the game most other Americans have not.

Moreover, they volunteered that skin when they didn’t have to[…]

Continue Reading

Western IQ scores are falling. Is it computers or something else?

It’s unquestioned that IQ scores are dropping in the West, but I think there’s more to it then screen time. Educational trends and culture matter too.

The West is losing IQ points. Daniel Hannan points to a disturbing reality in the modern world – we’re getting more stupid. Western IQ scores are dropping (and keep in mind as you read Hannan’s words and mine that IQ tests measure a very specific type of academically-based, analytical intelligence):

The fall in IQ scores in the West is perhaps the most under-reported story of our era. For most of the twentieth century, IQ rose by around three points per decade globally, probably because of better nutrition. But that trend has recently gone into reverse in developed countries.

You hadn’t heard? I’m not surprised. Journalists and politicians won’t go near the subject and you can see why. Consider the theories offered by neuroscientists for the decline. Some argued it had to do with the rising age of motherhood, because the children of older mothers tend to have lower IQs, other things being equal. No one likes to say this, because it can come across as “older moms have dumb kids,” which is not true. (My wife and I were 44 when our youngest child was born, and my own parents were also elderly, but that didn’t make me too thick to grasp the concept of statistical distributions.)

Other theories were even more explosive. For example, that unintelligent people were having more kids, or that the fall in average scores reflected immigration from places with lower IQs.

But a new study from Norway, which examines IQ scores from 730,000 men (standardized tests are part of military service there) disproves all these ideas, because it shows IQ dropping within the same families. Men born in 1991 score, on average, five points lower than men born in 1975. There must, in other words, be an environmental explanation, and the chronology throws up a clear suspect: the rise in screen-time.

I’m sure that Hannan is correct that screen time matters. It’s not just that people spend a lot of time playing mindless games. It’s also that answers are now at everyone’s fingertips. People no longer need to engage in the hard mental work of figuring out the right question, tracking down the data, and then, if the data doesn’t spell out the answer explicitly, reasoning through to a response to the question.

I think, though, that it’s too facile just to blame screen time for the fact that Westerners are showing less academic acumen. Instead, I think there are several factors at play, from dumbed-down education, to academia’s focus on indoctrination over academic rigor, to the growth of populations that do not value traditional educations.

Dumbed-down education. Beginning in the 1960s, the Western education system implemented a vast number of pedagogical changes that downplayed intellectual muscle work such as memorization and side-stepped critical thinking skills.

Some of these changes were in service to the post-WWII idea that “the new is always better than the old.” Many, though, were intended to create ideological change in the children and to address perceived social injustices.

The first and worst change, which still floats along the periphery of American education, was to do away with utilizing the marvels of our phonetic alphabet and replacing it with “whole word” language learning. I recognize that phonics is not perfect. We have some words that defy phonics:

For the most part, though, if you master your letters and a few common phenomes, you can start to read. Dr. Seuss’s The Cat In The Hat is based almost entirely on that phonic principle.

(Also, who can forget helpful rhymes that students no longer learn: “’I’ before ‘E’, except after ‘C’, or when sounded like ‘A’, as in ‘neighbor’ or ‘weigh’.” Remember that rhyme and you’ll spell better every time.)

Starting in the 1970s, the educational establishment looked at newly opened China and said, “Wow, they have a really high literacy rate without a phonetic alphabet. Instead, their kids learn to read and write using character recognition (i.e., “whole word learning”). Let’s do that with our kids.”

What these geniuses missed was that the Chinese students were going to school six days a week and studying reading and writing several hours a day, complete with brute force memorization (which is a great form of mental exercise). Meanwhile, we were “teaching” our poor, captive children “whole language reading” for 45 minutes per day (at most), five days a week (at most). America’s literacy rate collapsed.

Thankfully, American education has returned to phonetic teaching, but that whole language mentality still lurks there. For example, a lot of schools think teaching spelling is a waste of time. If kids can just hear a word and then, using their limited reading skills, write something that someone else can sound out . . . voila! Education.

Thanks to this mindset, we’re seeing something akin to the days of Willm Shakp William Shaksper Wm Shakspe William Shakspere Willm Shakspere William Shakespeare. There are several problems with this blast from the past:

  • It doesn’t always work well with binary computers, with are the new form of communication (although I must admit that text shorthand has a quality akin to Elizabethan spelling).
  • It means that every word must be sounded out to write and then, thanks to the non-standard spelling, sounded out again to read. Not only does this make both reading and writing laborious, it runs a serious risk of creating dangerous ambiguities in written documents. (“I’m sorry I stabbed Jane’s rabbit. I thought you wrote instructions for me to ‘cut Jane’s hare,’ not to ‘cut Jane’s hair.’)
  • It’s lazy, which means kids’ (and adults’) brains are not getting the mental exercise that comes with memorizing and replicating standardized spelling.

In the world of math and science, intellectual rigor is also collapsing. Fuzzy math, as originally constituted in 1965, allowed mathematicians to work on theories using general concepts rather than spending – or, apparently, wasting – time drilling down to particulars. I have no idea whether this was/is a good thing or a bad thing in the world of true mathematics.

The next level of uncoupling math from numbers was intuitionistic mathematics:

In the philosophy of mathematicsintuitionism, or neointuitionism (opposed to preintuitionism), is an approach where mathematics is considered to be purely the result of the constructive mental activity of humans rather than the discovery of fundamental principles claimed to exist in an objective reality. That is, logic and mathematics are not considered analytic activities wherein deep properties of objective reality are revealed and applied but are instead considered the application of internally consistent methods used to realize more complex mental constructs, regardless of their possible independent existence in an objective reality.

In other words, you can just think about numbers and their relationship without having to calculate the numbers. I recognize that, in highly theoretical matters, thinking about numbers is hugely important and allows for cognitive leaps that change paradigms. In the fifth grade, though, it means kids no longer memorize their times tables.

The absence of standards and memorization from schools doesn’t just leave children with fewer skills. It also leaves them less able to engage in rigorous, logical thought – and that kind of thought is a large part of what IQ exams test. Today’s schools never demand that children exercise those mental muscles.

Academia’s focus on indoctrination over academic rigor. The fact that the education establishment substitutes indoctrination for education, something that happens with ever greater intensity at every stage of education, and that culminates in colleges that too often substitute only propaganda in place of any learning is another reason people are dumber.

Propaganda requires no thought. You simply parrot ideology. Indeed, not only does propaganda not require thought, it is antithetical to thought.

Take just one example: Having students study Colonial-era America in depth, from the rumblings against Britain in the 1760s, through the Revolution, and into the post-Revolutionary period and the Constitution’s ratification, requires students to think deeply about the difference between rights and privileges, liberty and servitude, and, most especially, the reasons behind such core Rights as freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to worship freely, etc.

Rather than doing these in-depth dives into history, it’s easier to tell students that the founding fathers were all evil, white, misogynistic, racist, toxic males, who can be safely ignored. Instead, colleges help students focus on the “important” stuff: Their feelings trump free speech, guns are bad because boys without fathers periodically shoot up white, middle-class schools, and the Judeo-Christian faiths are evil because they advance white privilege and toxic masculinity. Once the students absorb these shibboleths, they never need to think again.

It’s this lack of thinking that makes me hate my little Bookworms’ colleges. Each has gotten dumber in some ways since starting college. My younger Bookworm is in a STEM program, so the dumbing down is less obvious, but my older Bookworm’s trajectory just makes me sad. She freely admits that she makes no efforts with her term papers, simply using the cant and ideas that her teachers want and that she knows will get her good grades.

Moreover, my Bookworm has discovered that if you start thinking seriously without using only race, gender, and sexual orientation as your filter (and they’re often told explicitly that these are the filters through which they must analyze anything), you will quickly arrive at ideas and answers that offend your teacher. It’s not just that you won’t get an A. You might get an F and a referral to the Dean for hate speech.

Culture matters when it comes to education. There’s one more problem with educating American children in ways that raise IQs, and it’s a problem that, today, dare not speak its name: The West is being inundated by people who don’t value education. This is not the same as saying that the West is being inundated by “stupid races.” For the most part, I would never say that (although see below for the exception to my unwillingness to label one group of people as “not so bright,” rather than merely “not so educated”).

Regular readers of this blog know my story of the very wealthy, very elite Hispanic couple that I knew as family friends when I was growing up. About 30 years ago, I ran into them on the street and they told me they were working to help improve Hispanic children’s educational accomplishments and, especially, to keep them in school.

According to my friends, the problem was that most immigrant and first-generation American Hispanics come from agrarian societies. Those societies do not value academic learning. Instead, they are oriented to physical labor as a means of earning a living.

My friends explained that, even if the kids hadn’t succumbed to anti-education gang pressure when it came to schooling, the parents were pressuring the kids to get out and get a job. My friends told me that they were trying to explain to Hispanic parents that this was short-term thinking and that the way to get ahead in America is to get, at minimum, a high school degree.

What these family friends told me made sense, because I had met three people during my time in schools who experienced this parental pressure. All three kids were extremely bright. Their teachers were urging them to stay in school and, more importantly, to go to college. In all three cases, though, the students faced enormous pressure to drop out of school and get a job in factory or field. I’m happy to report that my friends did go to college, but it takes a lot of inner strength to stand up to that parental pressure.

Nor have things changed much in the intervening 30 years. Both anecdote and data indicate that the immigrant and first-generation Hispanic culture is not orientated to academic education but is, instead, more practically oriented towards manual labor. Given that the children whose culture pushes them away from academic rigor are part of the IQ cohort, they are going to drag the scores down. This is not because Hispanic kids are stupid. They’re not. It’s just because their culture doesn’t encourage the narrow range of academic skills that IQ tests measure.

There’s a similar problem in the black community. Once upon a time, before the modern era, blacks understood that education was the key to raising themselves out of poverty. They knew that there was a reason that slave laws prohibited their getting educated. Once they were educated, they were manifestly as good as, if not better than, the whites in their community.

Leaders such as Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, and Martin Luther King, Jr., advocated for and were role models of education. Then, as John McWhorter ably exposes in Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, young blacks turned on education because it was, they said, “being white” and therefore a rejection of their essential blackness. Michelle Obama reflected the new hostility to education when she wrote her tortured, semi-literate bachelor’s thesis about being black at Princeton.

Although I don’t remember if McWhorter talks about the origin of this horrible idea, I suspect it came from the hard Left, possibly the communist party. After all, thoughtful, informed, analytical people are not malleable. They will not instantly parrot propaganda and cannot be bought with welfare or, as used to be the case in old-time elections, beer. Having blacks turn against education made them slaves, once again, of the Democrat party.

And then there are the Muslims who are immigrating in ever greater numbers throughout the Western world. Another unspeakable fact in the modern era is that Muslims have low IQs. This is where I take a dive, not into race, because Islam is a religion, not a race, but into the lifestyle habits that many Muslims practice. These habits do affect intelligence. Change the habits, change the intelligence.

Before I get to the habits, though, it’s true that part of the problem with Muslim IQs is hostility to the traditional education that IQ measures. A wide fund of knowledge and analytical rigor might cause people to question the perfection of the Koran. We can’t have that.

However, there are two other factors that are tightly tied to Islamic lifestyle choices. One factor, which probably has a small, but still real, effect on IQ is that, under certain circumstances, including hot weather, fasting can damage a fetus.

Thus, it’s possible that pregnant women’s daytime fasting during the month of Ramadan may affect fetal development. We know that the fasting can cause children to have low birth weights and to be smaller than they should be. It’s not unreasonable to believe it can also have an effect, even if only a small one, on the children’s developing brains.

Finally, and here’s where we get to a big problem no one wants to speak about, is that Muslim culture all over the world encourages first-cousin marriages. On average 50% of Muslims engage in first-cousin marriage with that number going up to 70% in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. (It’s a tribal thing because the people you can trust most are family.) It’s long been known that this kind of second-degree incest dramatically increases genetic defects, many of which affect intelligence.

Based upon the above three considerations about practitioners of Islam (disdain for Western education, Ramadan fasting, and incest), it’s reasonable to believe that an influx of Muslims into the West will lower the overall IQ.

Conclusion. All in all, I agree with Hannan that our children’s fixation with screens is a problem. They’re missing out on important life lessons, such as the common sense that comes from unimpeded play, especially outdoor, competitive play with other children. But let’s be honest: our nanny-state fascist Democrats have already made that kind of play out-of-bounds.

Hiding behind statements such as “kids can get hurt,” or “competition encourages toxic masculinity,” our educators paved the way for screens to become the dominant form of play because they’d already mandated that kids sit around talking about their feelings. Girls might like doing that, but it is mental death for boys.

Still, I’m loath to blame screens entirely. The Western world has lost the academic skills that are correlated with IQ measurements and it’s done so because education is either dumbed down, turned into indoctrination, or is out of sync with certain cultures flooding the West. Swirl those three factors into schools and you’re going to see lower IQs, including a drop in IQs between educated Western parents and their sadly less educated Western children.

THE CANONS OF CONSERVATISM, “THOSE OTHER GUYS”, AND THE VETERANS, A PREAMBLE

Vassar Bushmills

William F Buckley, Jr. was the founding figure of modern conservatism in America. He wrote God and Man at Yale when he was 25, and wrote many books afterward until he died in 2008.

But he had an extra dimension which seems to have been lost on the newer generations of conservatives, which I’ll discuss here.

In 1960, at age 35, in his home, WFB and several other “founders”, penned the Sharon Statement, which became the founding statement of the Young Americans for Freedom, (the YAF) which went on to become the central conservative campus organization for over 50 years.

I never joined, as I was not a conservative in my college days.

It was not until 1964, and the Goldwater campaign, that I became aware of Mr Buckley, who was then still not yet 40, 4 years younger than my dad, who subscribed to National Review that year and sent back- issues to me every few weeks or so.

By the time Ronald Reagan was elected, and I was 35, I had been a conservative for only four years, but never disagreed with National Review in all those earlier years about conservatism, just still holding onto my own brand of “Civil Rights liberalism”.

Like many liberals of my generation, my error was in believing government could do good things, which, later reading and real-life experience proved to me was wrong-headed and that the Founders knew exactly what they were doing when they designed government small, and left the people in charge.

In 1976 I had my Road to Damascus moment while in the Army, during the Ford-Carter campaign. I read a Mary McGrory column in the Arizona Republic where she stated (and I paraphrase) that “Modern Liberalism stands for the proposition that all human conduct should be subject to the political process.”

At that instant I ceased being a liberal, and never looked back.

The Sharon Statement, which I link here, while aimed at defining the YAF, is essentially the Canons of Conservatism. Virtually every conservative, including #NeverTrumpers, would agree with it, if they’d bother to read it.

So I recommend every millennial and Gen X’er to do just that.

But in 1960 it was written for college students who already possessed a core set of principles that inclined them to see threats to democracy, internal and external, and the freedom found in free markets and the uniqueness of America in the first place.

But today we cannot assume that millennials and Gen X’ers who have passed though our college system had any of those core principles imparted to them, at home or in public school. So, the Sharon Statement, and many of its founding principles are likely alien to them.

Easy to digest and similar to the Ten Commandments in structure, I liken the Sharon Statement more to the Apostle’s Creed which most every Christian faith recites, for it is a statement of faith, not rules of conduct.

It is also a self-reminder of one’s faith. The Apostle’s Creed weighs on me every time I recite it, for while my faith never wavers, when I recite the Creed my shoulders become heavy with the reminder of my many weaknesses; the four deadly sins still with me, Vanity (Pride), Envy, Wrath, and Sloth, and the other three, Lust, Gluttony and Greed that I’m too old or poor to pursue anymore.

This self-awareness William Buckley did not teach me, especially of my shortcomings. There were other men, far less educated than he, who did. I was always lucky that way. It was because of them, when I recite the Creed, that I can notice others as they fumble through their purses looking for a stick of gum while saying it.

It’s the “vain repetitions” (Mt 6:7) of our conservative beliefs that have always concerned me.

Today I worry whether younger people have picked up conservative slogans as their banner simply because some kid like David Hogg or Emma Gonzalez so annoyed them in high school they wanted some other way to distinguish themselves. (Since Hogg and his type are not natural leaders, it’s only natural to assume they would encourage an awful lot of alpha’s to go to the opposite camp just to be noticed as “not like them”.

But this can inspire people to become conservative for less than the best of reasons. “Not being like those guys” is not a good reason.

In fact, that used to be what defined the liberalism of the 1960s, “Civil Rights liberalism”, and defines why it was so easy to jettison when they came to that crossroads, having to choose between core principles and getting ahead socially and professionally.

The Sharon Statement was formulated after Barry Goldwater lost to Richard Nixon in the 1960 Republican primary, as a way to propagate conservatism on campus to fight back against what Buckley and his friends (rightly) concluded would be a rise of liberalism.

I was in high school at the time. My own circle of smart people (A-students), defined their liberalism entirely by two criteria,  1) the Civil Rights movement, and 2) “not being like those other guys” (C-students). By 1968, when we graduated from various universities, most had abandoned the freedom-theme of Dr MLK in favor of LBJ’s Great Society and welfare plan, which involved a kind of (in)voluntary internment in exchange for a monthly welfare check.

We’ve all seen how that worked out, but two generations since, most don’t know how.

But no matter, for 1960s liberalism had been very good for them, professionally and socially, and by the 1970s, when liberalism turned hard Left, they had no option but to stay the course. Indeed, they regaled in what they had gained as members of a new rising social order, whether in the academy, business, or country-club set.

Mostly grandparents now, they formed the nexus of what we call “Modern Liberalism” today, i.e., the Left, which in all likelihood is still 90% perqs, privileges, and status, and only 10% ideology.

Over the past 50 years their children and grandchildren have fared very well as well in this club, taking on new cause after new cause never pausing even once to consider the betrayal they first made to Martin Luther King about the value of black freedom…in part because they never really shared it in the first place.

As Cactus Jack Garner, FDR’s first vice-president, might have said, their moral conviction “was as shallow as a pool of warm piss.”

It was defining themselves separately from “those other guys” that mattered most.

Me?

I joined the Army and got to know “those other guys” in an entirely different setting, and never stopped enjoying their company, later in industry for 10 years, then among the small business classes of the old Soviet Empire for 20.

So, when a younger conservative (under 50) today tells you his conservatism “goes without saying”, it generally doesn’t go without saying. Billy Graham once said that if we’re going to call ourselves Christian, “it would be nice if, from time to time, we mentioned Jesus.”

Like the Apostles Creed, the purpose of conservatism are “those other guys”, America’s Homer Simpson’s, and it really does need to be said aloud from time to time.

In fact, William F Buckley said so.

I know because I asked him.

In 1992 I had just returned from the then-Soviet Union, where I was lucky to be one of only a few private Americans to witness its fall firsthand. It was a heady time. I also had the good fortune not to be there on the behalf of any government agency, but rather to meet people to discuss developing their small, private business sector, which Bill Clinton would eventually help snuff out.

I wrote Mr Buckley about what I had seen there, and during our back and forth I asked him about his quote about preferring to be governed by the first 400 names in the Boston Telephone Directory than the entire faculty of Harvard. I asked him if he really meant it?

Probably on that little typewriter he sat on his lap in his car on the way home or to the airport, (at least according to Murray Kempton), he simply typed out “You bet I did.”

Even if half-hearted, I considered Buckley’s comment significant, for it transcended “class” as my generation believed it to be. Buckley verified what I had always thought about the American common man, (the C-student) and why our system was set up by the Founders so that they would be and should be ultimately in charge in America.

They were (are) the font of common sense in America, as the past 40 years have proved.

Of all places, this was pointed out to me at a birthday dinner of a Ukrainian university professor in 1991, after I had read Jefferson’s preamble to the Declaration (the story here). They all cried. Than after dinner some ran up to tell me “Now we understand Amerika Constitution…even Ivan Ivanovich (the Soviet Homer Simpson) can pursue life and liberty without permission of state!”

There you have it, Bill Kristol. Key term, “self-evident” means even Homer Simpson can figure it out. And choose his leaders without your guidance.

That became the “Homer Simpson clause” that needs to be mentioned “from to time”, alongside the Canons of Conservatism, as younger conservatives try to establish their bona fides.

In America today, “those other guys” are no longer just ditch diggers, truck drivers and factory workers. They are also small business owners, small-town lawyers, corporate middle managers, nurses, even doctors, just plying their trades a million miles from those east and west coast high castles where are housed America’s intellectual brain trusts, who still refer to them collectively as so many Homer Simpsons.

Veterans, who I’ll speak more about in the next part, have always had a different sense of mission than many of those writers at The Weekly Standard or National Review.

This is largely because of the nature of the relationship between soldiers and their understanding of their mission.

In the corporate world this is a natural process, as I learned first hand for about 10 years. I was in a non-lawyer manufacturing world throughout the 80s, with one of the nation’s most recognized corporate brands. But while I spent 25% of my time with the corporate managers at their headquarters, even meeting with the CEO each week, I spent 75% of my time in the plants (the troops), where our product was produced by the other 90% of the company’s payroll.

So I was very prejudiced against the sideward glance front office managers gave to the people who actually made what they tried to market and sell, what the Indians (of India) used to call the “thousand yard stare” when walking along a street in Bombay, when the English would look right through them, never acknowledging they were even there.

And this was years before iPhones.

I mention this only because it was the result of a relatively recent phenomenon, for it was only in the 70s-80’s that MBA’s and lawyers were taught in their respective professional schools to think of themselves as part of a separate class, and entitled to certain perquisites of society on that basis alone.

After years in the Army, I was just too old school.

This restructuring of the business class was the principal reason I ran away from home and went off to the Russias for 20 years in 1989.

Consequently, I’m always looking for this quality of conservatism, recognizing “those other guys”, the Homer Simpsons, whether it’s in Rush Limbaugh, 67, Stephen Hayes, 48, Ben Shapiro, 34, or Charlie Kirk, 24.

Only of late, I find fewer and fewer.

This means conservatism is in trouble in the next generation.

This is why I have both a concern for the state of education among conservatives, and the more general state of education in the population-at-large from which we are supposed to draw our membership.

Without the institutional platform our nation has relied upon for generations, in passing our constitutional culture on, we need to develop long-term plans to reach as many as we can in as many informal ways we can.

The best qualified to carry out this mission?

Veterans.

I’ll only say this once, but the American military is unlike any other military in the history of the world, and that is due to the relationship between Soldiers and their Mission.

Unlike the English, French, Germans, Russians, Chinese….make your own list…ours are always on the same page as to their mission, and their duty to their fellow soldier. Since modern warfare began in the 20th Century, if a captain went down, there was a lieutenant to take his place; that lieutenant a sergeant, that sergeant a corporal.

This trait is peculiarly American.

The Russians and Chinese hate us because we can do this, because their cultures could never allow it.

America has always had this X-factor, and in small business it is why we have thrived, while modern corporations, as more a matter of attitude than organizational structure, has created a cold top-heavy bureaucratic, class-based type of operation.

Obamacare was a direct attempt to destroy small business on this account. And nearly succeeded. And the Tea Party and 2010 wave election was a direct result, spawned entirely by “those other guys”.

Our worry should be what happens as those original “those other guys” begin to pass away. What of our replacements? Who will teach them?

The Left has known this math for years, that as the Boomer generation dies off, the Left will be able to replace it with youngsters more to their liking, all because they are in charge of producing those youngsters.

At best, it will take 10-20 years to reverse that politically, in public schools and universities, both bureaucracy-ladened. In the meantime we have to find ways to peel away as many younsters from the Left’s education factories as we can.

Veterans should be at the forefront, and we need money to help make that happen.

(This is only the Situation Analysis. For the Proposal, See Part II, at VeteransTales.org) in about two days.)