Top Billing! T. Greer –Far Right and Far Left – Two Peas in a Pod?
….There are two groups who consistently oppose this plutocratic “pragmatic” consensus: the far left and the far right. These two groups, seemingly divided, are united by their “radical” opposition to many otherwise unquestioned aspects of America’s standing political regime. To name but a few:
- The belief that the United States federal government should play a strong role in holding up the U.S. economy – particularly sectors deemed “Too Big To Fail.”
- Strong support for subsidies or other forms of ‘corporate welfare’ for influential or strategic industries (“The Farm Lobby,” “Big Pharma,” and the energy sector – both the “Big Oil” and green energy varieties – are prominent examples).
- A commitment to America’s global hegemony and globalization writ large. The chosen instruments for this are transnational economic agreements, financial interventions (as pioneered by the IMF), or offers of substantial military assistance.
- The use of drone strikes, special forces and other ‘limited war‘ operations as the most effective response to international terrorist movements.
- A disdain for the rule of law and governmental transparency.
- Prioritizing national security over privacy and individual rights.
- Eclipse of the legislative branch in favor of an increasingly large, complex, and powerful executive. Outsourcing legislative policy making to congressional, think tanks, or industry wonks.
Tea-party and Occupy members are opposed to most, if not all, of these things. However, identfying the real problem does not ensure the two sides will agree on solutions. What party program could unify the two sides? Mr. Parameswaran outlines one possible solution. He labels it “radical centrism: [….]
An outstanding post . Hat tip to L.C. Rees
The League of Ordinary Gentlemen – (Blaisep)Under a Field of Flowers: Captain Emil Kapaun
….As Chinese Communist forces encircled the battalion, Kapaun moved fearlessly from foxhole to foxhole under direct enemy fire in order to provide comfort and reassurance to the outnumbered Soldiers. He repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to recover wounded men, dragging them to safety. When he couldn’t drag them, he dug shallow trenches to shield them from enemy fire. As Chinese forces closed in, Kapaun rejected several chances to escape, instead volunteering to stay behind and care for the wounded. He was taken as a prisoner of war by Chinese forces on Nov. 2, 1950.
After he was captured, Kapaun and other prisoners were marched for several days northward toward prisoner-of-war camps. During the march Kapaun led by example in caring for injured Soldiers, refusing to take a break from carrying the stretchers of the wounded while encouraging others to do their part.
Once inside the dismal prison camps, Kapaun risked his life by sneaking around the camp after dark, foraging for food, caring for the sick, and encouraging his fellow Soldiers to sustain their faith and their humanity. On at least one occasion, he was brutally punished for his disobedience, being forced to sit outside in subzero weather without any garments. When the Chinese instituted a mandatory re-education program, Kapaun patiently and politely rejected every theory put forth by the instructors. Later, Kapaun openly flouted his captors by conducting a sunrise service on Easter morning, 1951.
Emil Kapaun, US Army captain, Catholic priest, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and a martyr for religious freedom, is the American Maximilian Kolbe
….To illustrate the nuanced challenges of groupthink, we informally surveyed a small group of Intermediate Level students at one of the Defense Department’s educational institutions. The students were junior field grade officers from joint and international services, nearing the end of their year-long education. Our survey asked two questions: 1) Whether their education had formally addressed groupthink as a subject; and 2) What were groupthink’s causes? A little more than half of the group responded that while groupthink had been discussed early in their education year, albeit briefly as part of a broader class topic, groupthink was not a central focus of the class. In response to the causes of groupthink, about half of the group cited dominant personalities within a group who ignored dissenting opinions, and the inclination of group members to remain within the group’s good graces by avoiding dissention. Less than one-fourth of the responses cited direct pressure on any member who objected to group opinions. What strikes us is not what the students said, but what they did not say.
Two excellent and – I might suggest, related – articles.
Lexington Green – Margaret Thatcher: Revolutionary, Leader
….There is always a “them” who are the current ruling group. They are the ones dealt into the existing game, its apologists and advocates. To take them on, to organize and lead an opposition movement, the leader must have extremely strong character. Such a leader must be self-assured, know how things really work, and have a very thick skin. The leader must have no regard for conventional wisdom and no respect for the often unstated limits of what can be done or, even more, what is “simply not done” or “simply not said.”
As a practical matter, such a leader must have the capacity to speak plainly and clearly to a majority of ordinary people who are quietly victimized in the existing game, to show them how certain changes will be good for them, and good generally. They do not lead by force or lies, they lead by telling hard truths and gaining assent to the hard path to better things.
Mrs. Thatcher was such a leader.
Strategic Studies Institute – (Manwaring) Venezuela as an Exporter of 4th Generation Warfare Instability and (Bunker) Op-Ed: The Need For A “Half-Pivot to the Americas”
Kings of War – (Betz) Kim Jong Un, We’re all gonna be like three little Fonzies here, OK? and (Egnell) Rethink, but don’t dismiss – on U.S. training of foreign troops
The Glittering Eye – Personal Computers Aren’t Too Good
Taking Note –Michelle Rhee’s Reign of Error
It’s easy to see how not trying to find out who had done the erasing–burying the problem–was better for Michelle Rhee personally, at least in the short term. She had just handed out over $1.5 million in bonuses in a well-publicized celebration of the test increases. She had been praised by presidential candidates Obama and McCain in their October debate, and she must have known that she was soon to be on the cover of Time Magazine. The public spectacle of an investigation of nearly half of her schools would have tarnished her glowing reputation, especially if the investigators proved that adults cheated–which seems likely given that their jobs depended on raising test scores.
Moreover, a cheating scandal might well have implicated her own “Produce or Else” approach to reform. Early in her first year she met one-on-one with each principal and demanded a written, signed guarantee of precisely how many points their DC-CAS scores would increase.
Relying on the DC-CAS was not smart policy because it was designed to assess students’ strengths and weaknesses. It did not determine whether students passed or were promoted to the next grade, which meant that many students blew it off.