Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wills and Kate to Use the 1928 English Payerbook Service

They're using Alternative Services, Series One: The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony basically the 1928 (English) prayer book. Chuck and Di used it in '81.

So they'll be forced to practice the "the increase of mankind" [1928] instead of "the procreation of children" [1662] and it's OK for them to marry "to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding" [1662] [censored in 1928]. And their delicate sensibilities won't suffer from hearing that marriage is "a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body." [1662] [censored in 1928]

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer wedding service was used for hundreds of years but was a bit too earthy for 1928. The '28 prayer book was not adopted (Parliament voted it down) but its Form for the Solemnization of Matrimony later became the "conservative" service in the Alternative Service Book and later Common Worship of the Church of England. It's "conservative" because it mentions that the marriage is between a man and a woman.

For those who don't think Anglicans are funny, here's an excerpt from Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers (1937) in which Lord Peter Whimsey and Miss Harriet Vane are engaged to be married and are fighting over the details of the service with his sister-in-law Helen. As his mother (the Dowager Dutchess of Denver) records in a letter:
16 SEPTEMBER Helen obligingly presented us with a copy of the new form of marriage service [the proposed 1928 prayer book], with all the vulgar bits left out--which was asking for trouble. Peter very funny about it--said he knew all about the "procreation of children" in theory though not in practice, but that the "increase of mankind" by any other method sounded too advanced for him, and that, if he ever did indulge in such dangerous amusements, he would, with his wife's permission, stick to the old-fashioned procedure. He also said that as for the "gift of continency," he wouldn't have it as a gift, and had no objection to admitting as much. At this point, Helen got up and left the house, leaving P. and Harriet to wrangle over the word "obey." P. said he would consider it a breach of manners to give orders to his wife, but H. said, Oh, no--he'd give orders fast enough if the place was on fire or a tree falling down and he wanted her to stand clear. P. said, in that case they ought both to say "obey," but it would be too much jam for the reporters. Left them to fight it out. When I came back, found Peter had consented to be obeyed on condition he might "endow" and not"share" his worldly goods. Shocking victory of sentiment over principle.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

There Have Only Been 5 Conservative/Libertarian Films

The recent premier of The Greatest Libertarian Science Fiction Railroad Film ever made has made me (briefly) think about the Conservative/Libertarian Cinema.

Contemplation will establish that there have only been 2 conservative and 3 libertarian films ever made (in English).  I must admit that I've never seen the Italian Fascist version of We the Living but it wasn't produced by anyone with any connections to the movement so it doesn't really fit in.

When I talk about "Films", I mean drama not documentary.  There have been plenty of documentary work in recent years (I remember when The Incredible Bread Machine was about it for libertarians) but I don't think of documentaries as Cinema.  I want drama.

And I'm not talking about 25 Best Conservative Movies lists.  My list is not of films that libertarians or conservatives like or that promote our values.  I'm thinking of films that are actually produced to reflect or promote the values of "movement" conservatism or libertarianism.

I've left Red Dawn off the list.  It's a close call what with the Commie invader prying a .45 from the cold dead hand of an American civilian but I see it more as a war film than an ideological one. 

So what are the five films?

  1. The Fountainhead (1949)
    With a screenplay by Ayn herself, I has to be on the list.  It's a pretty good adaption of the novel.
  2. Harry's War (1981)
    His war is against the IRS.  I saw this indie film during its brief theatrical run in '81.  It was explicitly didactic in making the arguments against IRS collection procedures.  Demonstrates the value of collecting used military hardware as well.
  3. Team America: World Police (2004)
    The libertarian creators of South Park take on the war on terror.  Any film that kills off Michael Moore, Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn  (off camera?), Tim Robbins, Helen Hunt, George Clooney, Liv Tyler, Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon, Janeane Garofalo, Matt Damon, Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Gregory, Danny Glover, Ethan Hawke, Kim Jong-il, and Hans Blix can't be all bad.  Not intended for younger (or, indeed, discriminating) viewers.
  4. An American Carol (2008)
    Satire of a Michael Moore lookalike documentarian coming to love America  was spotty in the effectiveness of its humor but it did serve to out right wing Hollywood actors and had its moments.
  5. Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011)
    In lean times for the railway cinema, fans have to take what they can get.  There have been complaints about the period setting of the film (2016) when the 1930s might have been better.  But you try and throw a film together in 15 minutes on a $10 meg budget and see if you can do better.  Should be done by HBO as a long-form series but for now it's the leading libertarian/conservative film of the 21st century.  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Public Employees are Exploited

I heard it right here on The Takeaway on National Commie Radio a while back.  Robert Pollin, an econ prof at UMass Amherst said that public employees in America are paid 4% less (including benefits!) than private employees at the same age and ed level.

I never knew.  I feel terrible.  We simply must free these workers from the oppression of these working conditions.  Let them go to find wealth and happiness in the "private sector".

Let my people go.

Friday, January 21, 2011

More than a century of American educational reform in one post

  • 1893 - Report of the Committee of Ten on Secondary School Subjects recommends that students in the newly developing high schools be taught Latin, Greek, English, other Modern Languages, Mathematics, Geometry, Algebra,  Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, History and Civil Government, Geography,  and Meteorology.
  • 1918 - Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education is published by the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education (a.k.a. the Gang of Twenty-seven). It has a broader scope finding the Cardinal Principles to be: 1. Health, 2. Command of fundamental processes, 3. Worthy home membership, 4. Vocation, 5. Civic education, 6. Worthy use of leisure, and 7. Ethical character.    
"Cardinal Principles was a small pamphlet, not much larger than The Communist Manifesto or a man's hand. It rejected the elitist and undemocratic education of the dark past and provided in its place "preparation for effective living." It made us the effective livers we are today, and it sends forth every year from our public schools and colleges all those effective livers who will make the future of the nation." -- Richard Mitchell The Graves of Academe
  • 1918 - 0.9% of recruits are rejected for failing the Army Alpha and Army Beta tests of intellectual preparation.
  • 1938 - Progressive's Progress cover story in Time Magazine heralds the mainstreaming of Progressive Education.
  • 1941 - 4% of recruits are rejected for failing the Army General Qualification Test because they could not perform intellectually at the 4th Grade level.  These recruits would have learned to read before Progressive Education came to dominate American schools.
  • 1944 - The Serviceman's Adjustment Act passes Congress.  Better known as The GI Bill.
  • 1947 - The Educational Testing Service is founded by all the usual suspects (American Council on Education, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and the College Entrance Examination Board) to supply a standard entrance exam for tertiary educational institutions.  Essay writing as a means of testing is largely abandoned because it can't be machine graded. 
  • 1951 - 16.6% of recruits are rejected for failing the Army General Qualification Test because they could not perform intellectually at the 4th Grade level.  These recruits would have learned to read after Progressive Education came to dominate American schools.  Illiteracy increases by 4 times in just 10 years.
  • 1955 - Rudolph Flesch publishes Why Johnny Can't Read: And What You Can Do About It.  The phonics exercises in the back of the book allow parents to bypass the Look-Say teaching methods of government schools.
  • 1957 - The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1 and also yet another of the periodic reform efforts in American education in the form of 1958's National Defense Education Act.
  • 1959 - Admiral Hyman Rickover (Father of the Nuclear Navy) publishes Education and Freedom promoting his views that:
    "The chronic shortage of good scientists, engineers and other professionals which plagues us is the result of time wasted in public schools which must be made up later on. (America is) reaping the consequences of the destruction of traditional education by the Dewey-Kilpatrick experimentalist philosophy. For all children, the educational process must be one of the collecting factual knowledge to the limit of their absorptive capacity. Recreation, manual or clerical training, etiquette and similar know-how have little effect on the mind itself - and it is with the mind that the school must concern itself.
  • 1962 - John Wales, a British teacher crossing the Atlantic on his way to work at Western Michigan State University, is surprised to win a trivia contest on American History, Geography and Literature competing against the American passengers.  At Western Michigan, he surveys Michigan  school students on similar topics and publishes Schools of Democracy: an Englishman's impressions of secondary education in the American Middle-West discovering (among much else) that American secondary school students' basic knowledge of facts about their country was poor.  The fact about America that they knew best was the nicknames of the states, presumably because of their appearance on automotive license plates.
  • 1965 - Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) gives aid to public and private schools.
  • 1977 - Dick Mitchell, a professor of English at New Jersey's Glassboro State College (now Rowan University),  begins publishing The Underground Grammarian - A Journal of radical, academic terrorism.
  • 1979 - The Department of Education (a new Cabinet Department) is founded by President James Earl Carter, Jr. 
  • 1981 - John Holt publishes Teach Your Own the first major book on home schooling.
If there were no other reason for wanting to keep kids out of school, the social life would be reason enough. In all but a very few of the schools I have taught in, visited, or know anything about, the social life of the children is mean-spirited, competitive, exclusive, status-seeking, [and] snobbish.
  • 1983 - The National Commission on Excellence in Education publishes A Nation at Risk and, famously, states:  "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war." 
  • 1990 - The US and Japan agree to a Structural Impediments Initiative designed to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade.  Among (many) other points, the parties agree that the American education system is a non-tariff barrier to trade (presumably because ignorant children have nothing to trade).  The US agrees to improve its education system. 
  • 1991 - America 2000.  President George H. W. Bush.
  • 1994 - Educate America Act - Goals 2000. President William Jefferson Clinton.
  • 2001 - No Child Left Behind Act. - President George W. Bush.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Baby It's Cold Outside" - The real cause of WWIV

1949 - Egyptian writer, teacher, and the intellectual father of modern Islamic Radicalism Sayyid Qutb visits Colorado State Teachers College in Greeley, CO.  The experience caused him to condemn America as a soulless, materialistic, sex-obsessed place.  He particularly disliked the mixed couples at a Baptist church dance dancing to the hit of that year - Baby It's Cold Outside.    

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Math of Congressional Shootings

Hat tip to the WSJ for the interactive timeline.

  • 11 Members of Congress have been shot while in office.
  • 9 House members have been shot while in office.
  • 7 Members of Congress were shot by 'progressives'.
  • 6 Members of Congress survived their shootings.
  • 5 Members of Congress died from their shootings.
  • 5 Members of Congress were shot by Puerto Ricans.
  • 4 Members of Congress were shot by Democrats. (The Southern shooters had to be Democrats)
  • 2 Senators have been shot while in office.  (Huey Long and Robert Kennedy)
  • 0 Members of Congress were shot by Republicans.
The Shootings

1868 - Rep. James Hines (R-Arkansas) - Shot by a drunk County Democratic Committee Secretary presumably upset by Reconstruction Republican control of state politics.

1905 - Rep. John McPherson Pinckney (D-Texas) - Shot in the back at a public meeting in Hempstead, Texas by "passionate and misguided men" who opposed his support for (mandatory) temperance.

1935 - Sen. Huey Long (D-Louisiana) - Shot by 1) the physician son of a political enemy or 2) by his own bodyguards.  Perhaps at the direction of FDR who considered him "one of the two most dangerous men in America".

1954 - Rep. Alvin M. Bentley (R-Michigan), Rep. Clifford Davis (D-Tennessee), Rep. Ben F. Jensen (R-Iowa), Rep. George Hyde Fallon (D-Maryland), and Rep. Kenneth Roberts (D-Alabama) - Shot on the floor of the House of Representatives by 4 Puerto Rican nationalists. All the congressmen survived.  Attackers were released after 25 years by James Earl Carter Jr.

1968 - Sen. Robert Kennedy (D-New York) - Shot by a (Christian) Palestinian upset by his support for Israel during the Six Day War (1967).

1978 - Rep. Leo Ryan (D-California) - Shot by a member of Jim Jones' People's Temple at that cult's facility in Guyana.  Jim Jones - in addition to being a Marxist - was active in Democratic Party politics in both Chicago and San Francisco. 

2011 - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) - Shot by a deeply disturbed young man at a public meeting.
The Frequency

Years Interval
1868 79
1905 37
1935 30
1954 19
1968 14
1978 10
2011 33

Note that after the first shooting, the frequency of congressional shootings increases steadily until 1978 when we experience a 33-year gap.  Looks like the rhetoric toned down since the '70s.

Eleven shootings in 222 years (1 every 20 years) seems low to me considering the frequent unpopularity of Congress.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

What I Didn't Say to the U.S. PIRG Guy at the Door

U.S. PIRG regularly sends door-to-door solicitors to recruit activists and money in areas where they figure the pickings are good.

I've been solicited at my door (in different states) twice but had a hard time convincing them that I knew who they were and I was on the other side.

I resisted the temptation to clearly state the situation.

"Get off my porch, I hereby specifically cancel your implied license to enter my property. We're your worst nightmare; heavily-armed, libertarian, right-wing, Christian, homeschoolers who always vote Republican."

My daughter hates it when I tell the truth.