Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bach in School

J.S. Bach ended his musical compositions with "S.D.G." -- Soli Deo Gloria, to God alone be the Glory.

Modern composers don't say who they seek to glorify, but their music is dark and discordant.

Walter Block has pointed out that Libertarians believe that voluntary contracts can involve apparent limitations of our liberty. Can you imagine a libertarian forming a contractual relationship which gives someone such comprehensive control that he has the power to tell the libertarian when she can and when she cannot breathe? "Breathe now." "Don't breathe now."

Well, yes, a libertarian can legitimately give someone the right to control her to that extent. In the case Prof. Block is considering, it's a contract to play clarinet in a symphony orchestra, giving the Conductor great power to control the actions of the libertarian.

On the other hand, such control can be used to foster fascist and collectivist thinking.

OK, here's what prompted this meandering discussion. is a left-leaning group of thinkers and activists that seeks to channel funds to their pet projects. A recent winner of the TED prize is Jose Antonio Abreu, who founded El Sistema ("the system") [I couldn't get Microsoft's browser to open that page; use Firefox] in 1975 to help poor Venezuelan kids learn to play a musical instrument and be part of an orchestra. 30 years on, El Sistema has seeded 102 youth orchestras -- and many happy lives.

Watch Jose Abreu discuss kids transformed by music.

He says,

A few years ago historian Arnold Toynbee said that the world was suffering a huge spiritual crisis.

Not an eocnomic or a social crisis, but a spiritual one.

I belive that to confront such crisis, only art and religion can give proper answers to humanity, to mankind's deepest aspirations, and to the historic demands of our time.

Art used to be a subsidiary of Religion. Bach's work is an example of art as a servant of worship.

Art can equally be a servant of the State. An orchestra can be a very collectivist endeavor, teaching the values of the State.

But being an energetic fascist is better than being a typical moderate American (Revelation 3:15-16). An American teenager mindlessly cruising through the neighborhood with a subwoofer registering on the richter scale is not as fully human as a teenager playing in an orchestra.

For the untrained, reading music is like reading algebra. But it is possible to inspire children to learn.

The Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra is the national high-school-age youth orchestra of El Sistema, made up of the best young musicians from throughout Venezuela. You can see more expression of what it means to be a human being in the video below than in the mindless stupor of a functionally illiterate American public school student.

Drag the index to about 6:30 into the video to skip Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10, 2nd movement, which is the musical equivalent of bad LSD. Making children play this is next to child abuse. (Liberals like are frightened by Bach and other Christian music.)

Federal control of schools is destructive of the creative energy that elevates students like this. Not that governments cannot command high levels of artistic energy -- just that the price is too high.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wednesday Radio Appearances

I'll be appearing on two Internet broadcasts on Wednesday, February 25.

At noon central time I'll be a guest on "Become Vocal Local!" on Restore The Republic Radio; formerly Ron Paul Revolution Radio.

Then at about 8:30pm central, I'll be a guest once again on "the Libertarian Dime":

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Dividing Line

Gary North writes:

There has been a Christian nation called the United States. There has been a secular nation called the United States. (The dividing line was the Civil War, or War of Southern Secession, or War Between the States, or War of Northern Aggression -- ­­ take your pick.)

Van Til's Version of Common Grace - Dominion and Common Grace

This would mean that it was not George Washington and the Constitution that secularized America, it was Lincoln's repudiation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (and its concept of the right to secession) that secularized America.

Bigger government does not aid Christianity; big government secularizes.

Monday, February 16, 2009

George Washington Coaching

I didn't mean to be so hard on George Washington. He was a product of his times, a man of his age, and a better and more admirable man than any living president. I think if he could visit our day, he would be as critical of his achievements as I am.

So I propose looking at the man, his life, and the advice he gave to his country.

Each of us could do quite well to have George Washington as our personal coach and mentor. He was a man of virtue, courage, and a keen intellect. His breadth of learning and sagacity enabled him to mediate conflicting political factions and move them toward a goal he believed was in the nation's best interests (not to be confused with Clintonian "triangulation").

I'd like to believe that Washington would look back with 20/20 hindsight and reject armed revolution over a 2% tax rate, reject the Constitution of 1787, and adopt what we have called "anarcho-theocracy." This is where he and his "experiment in liberty" was headed during his lifetime: "Liberty Under God."

February 22 will be the 277th anniversary of George Washington's birth. On that day a select few will begin a year-long program of personal coaching from George Washington:

Or at least as good an impersonation as we can expect in the dismal year of 2009.

President's Day

Today is called "President's Day" by some who wish to honor Abraham Lincoln along with George Washington. 'Court' Historians Rank Lincoln as our Greatest President. He was arguably our worst. If that claim sounds ridiculous to you, start with Mark Alexander's essay here or here if you don't like pdf's. In addition to zillions of anti-Lincoln articles here, a few more recent essays are found below.

What about George Washington? He's known as "the Father of his Country." Perhaps his three best-known "achievements" are

• leading the Continental Army in the War for Independence;
• presiding over the Constitutional Convention;
• reigning as the first President of the United States under the Constitution.

All of these are arguably huge mistakes.

The Bible clearly commands us to avoid violent revolution against the powers that be. Pay your taxes, don't get your muskets out. Couldn't be clearer.

Patrick Henry, George Mason, and many other "anti-federalists" were right to refuse to sign or support the Constitution. They doubted the claims made by its proponents that its "checks and balances" and "separation of powers" and "Bill of Rights" and popular representation would prevent another tyranny from emerging on this soil. Ha! The anti-federalists were right.

Following the end of the war in 1783, Washington returned to private life and retired to his plantation at Mount Vernon. He spoke of his desire to live safely under his own Vine & Fig Tree, prompting an incredulous King George III to state, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world."

But he left private life, he left his Vine & Fig Tree, and began a line of monarchs that has now extended to Abraham Lincoln II.

America was once an "Experiment in Liberty." It is now a horrible Frankensteinian experiment in government central planning. It is the new Soviet Union.

Happy President's Day.

PJB: Mr. Lincoln’s War: An Irrepressible Conflict? Patrick J. Buchanan - Official Website

The Mises Review: Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream by Lerone Bennett, Jr.

Taking the gloss off of the Great Emancipator -- Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

Admiring and Disillusioned, I Turn from Lincoln to Jesus

The Birthday Boys Darwin and Lincoln by Gary North

A 'Lincoln Scholar' Comes Clean by Thomas DiLorenzo

Iron Ink - Celebrating All Week Lincoln's 200th Birthday - I

Iron Ink - Celebrating All Week Lincoln's 200th Birthday - II

Iron Ink - Lincoln The Christian? Happy Birthday Abe -- III

Iron Ink - Lincoln And Freedom? -- Happy Birthday Abe -- IV

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bedtime Stories Banned?

Every night, millions of parents walk into their children's bedrooms, premeditatedly grab a book off the shelf, and intentionally and with malice aforethought read that book outloud to a soon-to-be-asleep child.

Don't try this at home.

Not without first checking with your attorney.

The Wall St. Journal reports:

"They don't have the right to read a book out loud," said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. "That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."

Paul Aiken's words, courtesy of AT&T Labs

Actually, Aiken was speaking of's new "Kindle," a wireless reading device which has a similar text-to-speech technology and allows buyers to hear the text of the growing number of books available on the reader.

But just in case, we recommend buying and giving your child the Audiobook version of the bedtime story instead of personally and lovingly reading it aloud without legal permission.

Copyright attorneys may be listening.

Monday, February 02, 2009

"Deadly Missiles" Launched on U.S. Soil

Did Saddam Hussein have "weapons of mass destruction?"

Of course he did. Just as Derek Shareef, a pathetic, homeless schlep from Rockford, Illinois, had "weapons of mass destruction."

A federal indictment of Shareef [pdf] describes the case of a socially-maladjusted 22-year-old American Muslim working as a clerk in a video game store who was approached by an FBI agent provocateur named William Chrisman, who called himself “Jameel.” “Jameel” continuously egged Shareef into Jihadist ambitions to prove his faith, until he helped Shareef formulate feeble plans for blowing up some hand grenades near a shopping mall. Shareef, who had no car, no permanent address, nor any military training or the means to acquire weaponry or explosives, was aided by the FBI's "Cooperating Source" to trade some stereo speakers for four hand grenades. Shareef was arrested in a parking lot waiting to make the trade. The federal indictment describes the hand grenades with all seriousness as "weapons of mass destruction." The headline of a typical story about this episode claims that an “FBI sting thwart[ed]” Shareef's plans. (Source: Will Grigg)

Now a report out of the pulsing metropolis of Ocala, FL, where police have charged two boys, aged 15 and 17, with launching "deadly missiles" at police. If convicted of these felonies, the boys will lose their right to vote before they ever get an opportunity to exercise it. The "deadly missiles" were oranges, which hit the passenger side of a patrol car. (Source: Al Cronkrite)

Nobody in the United Nations or the liberal media has ever been able to deny that Saddam Hussein had oranges.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Nationalizing the Banks

William K. Black, professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, says "nationalization" is a boogeyman that shouldn't scare the government away from taking complete control of the financial sector.

“It’s insane to leave it in the control of the people who have every incentive to cover up the scale of the losses,” said Black, former lawyer at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and Office of Thrift Supervision. “You’re deliberately negotiating a bad deal for the American people by not getting an appropriate return for the risk you’re taking.”

Faced with pressure from lawmakers, banks have shaken up management, eliminated executive bonuses and staff and canceled conventions. They’ll be forced to do monthly reports on how they’ve boosted lending while slashing quarterly dividends to one cent a share for three years.

“When the Treasury tells a bank to pay a penny a share vs. its old dividend, you know who’s calling the shots,” said Jon Bruss, a 40-year industry veteran and founder of Hartland, Wisconsin-based Fortress Partners Capital Management Ltd., which invests in banks. “It may not be de jure nationalization but I think it’s de facto nationalization.”

Citigroup, Bank of America May Look ‘Nationalized’ (Update3) Worldwide

Bank bailout could cost $4 trillion Fortune - Jan. 27, 2009

De facto nationalization took place a long time ago.