Sunday, March 31, 2019

Reverend Wayne Perryman Interview! (3/29/19)

We are honored to welcome, Reverend Wayne Perryman, an Afro-American pillar & icon! He is a community servant and award winning author. A former newspaper publisher, radio talk-show host, and corporate employment relations consultant.

Reverend Wayne Perryman devotes much of his time serving his community in Washington State and all over America. In addition to serving as Minister in charge of church administration for Mt. Calvary Christian Center Church of God in Christ, Rev. Perryman heads up his own consulting firm. His company specializes in conducting fact-finding investigations on behalf of inner city plaintiffs who are unsuccessful in obtaining representation through law firms and community agencies.

This is a great hour discussion about Afro-Americans you just will not hear anywhere else! It is an incredibly honest, thoughtful, & insightful dissemination of the history of Republicans and Democrats as it relates to the true responsibility for the state of the Afro-American community in the present day! Reverend Perryman presents some stark solutions that we all should heed!


Sunday, March 24, 2019

Do they make writing on Thomas Jefferson harder than it really is?

by Mark Andrew Holowchak

(M. Andrew Holowchak, Ph.D., is a philosopher and historian, editor of "The Journal of Thomas Jefferson's Life and Times," and author/editor of 11 books and of over 80 published essays on Thomas Jefferson. He can be reached through Thomas Jefferson Sage.)

 Merrill Peterson, the preeminent Jeffersonian scholar, writes in his watershed work, The Jefferson Image in the American Mind, “Jefferson was a baffling series of contradictions.” Albert Ellis in American Sphinx states magisterially that Jefferson’s “multiple personalities” are much like “the artful disguises of a confidence man.” Peter Onuf writes in The Mind of Thomas Jefferson, “The search for a single definitive, ‘real’ Jefferson is a fool’s errand, setting us off on a hopeless search for the kind of ‘knowledge’ that even (or especially) elude sophisticated moderns in their encounters with each other—and themselves.” Thus, there appears at the beginning of nearly every Jeffersonian biography, including the best biographers, some statement of or caveat concerning the difficulty, if not impossibility, of getting to know Jefferson. It has become part of the ritual. It is also part of the lure.

 Is Jefferson really a “baffling series of contradictions” and an “American sphinx,” and is Jeffersonian scholarship really a “fool’s errand”? Might not such caveats merely be rationalizations for the possibility of scholarly mistakes?

 What is frequently missed in reading Peterson’s work is that he is not committed to, as is Onuf, the impossibility of continued progress in coming to know Jefferson. Yet there are for Peterson nodi.

 One difficulty is that Jefferson—a man of great intellectual breadth and depth, and a man of uncommon ideals—wrote voluminously and appealed to everyone at some cognitive or visceral level. Because he appeals to everyone at some level, says Peterson, scholars give numerous depictions of him. “In his letters, account books, and other memoranda, Jefferson left ample records of his personal tastes and habits; yet, as with his public record, it was possible to draw from these almost any picture the writer wished.”

 Furthermore, Jefferson often dissimulated. “More ardent in his imagination than his affections, he did not always speak exactly as he felt towards either friends or enemies. As a consequence, he has left hanging over a part of his public life a vapor of duplicity, or, to say the least, of indirection, the presence of which is generally felt more than it is seen.”

 Moreover, Jefferson was fundamentally a curious immixture of everyday citizen and philosopher. “It was precisely because Jefferson combined, or seemed to combine, the traits of the man-of-the-people and the man-of-vision that he was capable of being mythicized as the Father of Democracy.”

 Yet Peterson is clear that those difficulties can be overcome. The perplexity is in the scholars, not in Jefferson. Peterson writes: “The historians could not fairly plead the lack of information on Jefferson. If still fragmentary, it was constantly on the increase. The difficulty was less one of the scholars’ knowledge than of the uses they made of it. The image of Jefferson shattered when they came through the doors of partisan, and perhaps hereditary, prejudice to the interpretation of the facts.” He adds, “If Madison was right [in asserting an early and uniform devotion to liberty and the equal rights of man], as I think he was, the apparent ironies, paradoxes, and contradictions in Jefferson’s life and thought, so much dwelled upon by latter-day scholars, mattered little in the light of this fundamental harmony and clarity of purpose.”

Jefferson indeed was a man of fundamental harmony and clarity of purpose. Because of those enduring qualities, Jeffersonian scholarship might be a dead lift—an inordinately difficult task—but it is not the cul de sacthat scholars habitually claim it is.

 There are reasons why scholars—and here I refer to first-tier scholars—make mistakes when approaching Jefferson.

 First, there is refusal to take Jefferson at his word. As Peterson states, Jefferson does not always speak frankly. He often dissimulates. The reasons are politeness and guardedness. Jefferson is in the habit of speaking to correspondents in language with which they are familiar and on topics in which they are especially interested. Moreover, dissembling often occurs because of caution. Jefferson was wont, for instance, not to share his religious views with correspondents or the general public—his own family did not know his religious views—for fear of public censure. That fear was genuine. Close friend Dr. Thomas Cooper, for instance, was kept from a professorship at University of Virginia on account of his liberal religious views made public. Had Jefferson’s religious views been commonly known, his political career also would have doubtless been hampered. Such things noted, scholars who are committed to a Protean Jefferson tend to read into or “deconstruct” Jefferson’s writings, when there is no good reason for doing so, and the result is a proliferation of amphigories that follow the whims of scholars. unprofitably lead readers in a number of directions, and tell us nothing about Jefferson.

 Second, there is the tendency to read the secondary literature without reading much of Jefferson. This mistake occurs especially on the subjects of race and slavery, where having thoughts of one’s own might be a signal of one’s own racism. On both topics, scholars characteristically remind themselves and other scholars that it is sufficient to glance at Query XIV of his Notes on the State of Virginia,without uptake of Jefferson’s caveat that the views expressed on Blacks are based on limited and biased observations, and to read the writings of Gordon-Reed and uptake her views on both subjects. Jefferson is racist because he owned slaves and freed too few in his life. Furthermore, Jefferson is hypocritical because he politically preached austerity but lived high on the hog and because he preached small government and strict constructionism but went forward with the Louisiana Purchase without constitutional sanction. The result of too much immersion in the secondary literature at the expense of reading Jefferson is scholarly moribundity. I have in my own years of Jeffersonian study found that many of the “contradictions” we find in Jefferson evanesce when one takes Jefferson at his word.

 Third, there is aversion or unwillingness to engage critically with others in the secondary literature. In essays and biographies on Jefferson, there is all too little critical engagement with the writings of others. The unfortunate result is a scholarly inertia in the field of Jeffersonian studies, which is somewhat of a fetid mishmash. Just about anything goes and there is little, if any, forward movement. It is one thing to recognize the right of authors to express idiosyncratic views on some issue, but that not to say that all such idiosyncratic views carry the same weight. Some views are not well supported by evidence and those views ought to be weeded out through scholarly critical appraisal. They are not.

 Last, there is failure to read what Jefferson read and what shaped his thinking, other than the political literature to which Jefferson had access and that Jefferson assimilated. Jefferson was widely read. He studied the sciences, religion, law, philology, morality, political thinking, and the arts, inter alia—viz., anything that might improve the human condition.

 It is said by a grandchild that he was more often seen with a book by a Roman or Greek author than any other author. Authors such as Homer, Tacitus, Seneca, Cicero, Epictetus, and Demosthenes shaped his thinking more than others and lack of acquaintancy with that literature—especially in the original language—and with Greek culture and Roman culture leads to misapprehension of Jefferson’s political, educational, and moral views. I shall go so far to say that anyone who wishes to be a competent Jeffersonian scholar should be trained also as a Classical scholar.

 Again, there is Jefferson’s empiricism. He was a dyed-in-the-wool empiricist in the manner of Bacon, Locke, Kames, and Hume and lack of acquaintancy with philosophical empiricism often leads to egregious errors—especially when it comes to apprehension of Jefferson’s views in Notes on the State of Virginia. Empiricism in the manner of Bacon and Newton—e.g., use of hypothetic-deductive reasoning, appeal to simplicity, detailed description without critical commentary—appear in abundancy in the book, especially in the early naturalistic queries. Again, no one without amply acquaintancy with philosophical empiricism—e.g., Newton’s Principia Philosophica and Stewarts’ Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind—ought to enter seriously into Jeffersonian studies. That is why Jefferson is often said to be wishy-washy and confused in his Notes on the State of Virginia, when he claims that he is not afforded evidence sufficient to confirm a hypothesis or decide among competing hypotheses—e.g., the strange existence of petrified shells in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky in Query VI.

 Also, Jefferson took morality very seriously. I have argued in several publications that he was preeminently a moralist. His moral views were shaped not only mostly by ancient virtue ethics, but also by the New Testament, the moral-sense and moral-sentiment literature of his day like Kames’ Principles of Morality and Natural Religion and Hutcheson’s A Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy, religious sermons like those of Rev. Bourdaloue and Rev. Massillon, novels like Cervantes’ Don Quixote, poetry like Shakespeare’s plays and Homer’s Odyssey, and utopian literature like Mercier’s L’an 2440. His moral views were also the grounding of his political views, as the aim of a Jeffersonian republic was not only efficient governing, but also a happy and thriving citizenry in conformance with political liberalism—what I call liberal eudaimonism.

 In sum, Jeffersonian scholarship is not a fool’s errand, but it is extremely arduous. It requires that a scholar be of large erudition and widely read in all, or almost all, subjects that Jefferson studied. When the groundwork is done, one might find that Jefferson was a man who was in vital respects much simpler, and less perplexing, than scholars typically portray him.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

On the New Zealand Massacre

Bill Muehlenberg (Culture Watch) Mar 15, 2019--

 Two mosques in Christchurch were targeted by gunmen with multiple fatalities. As I write it seems that around 50 people may have been killed and many injured. This is a horrible day for New Zealand and we need to keep all the victims and their families in our prayers.

 One 28-year-old man, who has been identified as Brenton Tarrant from NSW, Australia, seems to have videoed the attack. Sadly it is making the rounds on the social media. It is claimed he did this in protest against Islam, Western immigration policies, and related grievances. We will learn much more about him and any others involved in this in due course. It is still early days yet as to who exactly was involved, and why.

 I and all people of good will fully and unequivocally condemn this attack. Without question those who are responsible for this should face the full force of the law. There is no place for such violence and there is absolutely no justification for this attack. I take it that New Zealand does not have the death penalty, but if it did, these individuals would fully deserve it.

 Those responsible for this were fully given over to evil, and it is appalling that they could get away with such reprehensible acts. If anyone who is a friend or colleague of mine in any way supports this, applauds this, or cheers this on, they are NOT my friends and colleagues. If I find anyone on the social media who is a friend of mine who supports this, they will be swiftly unfriended.

 I have never condoned a tit-for-tat response here, nor advocated for violence and murder, and will keep working to share my concerns about some of these things in a peaceful manner. Legitimate concerns about runaway immigration, creeping sharia and the like are fully fair and need to be heard. But resorting to what the jihadists do daily is not the way to proceed.

 Indeed, it is at this point that we need to be reminded of some home truths. It is perfectly clear that this sort of violence and terrorism is perpetrated on a daily basis against Christians, Westerners and others by Muslim attackers all around the world.

 As one example, a new report notes that 11 Christians are killed every day for their beliefs, mostly by Muslims. It looks at the ten most dangerous nations for Christians, and finds eight of them are Islamic nations. 

 But because such killings and attacks are so utterly common and routine, there is next to no media coverage of them, nor much outrage about them. Moroever, every time another Islamic jihad attack occurs, especially in the West, everyone seems to bend over backwards and claim this has nothing to do with Islam and we should not even speak about Islam. They say the Muslim religion should not be tarred and feathered because of the actions of these terrorists.

 Invariably we are told that these killers were lone wolves, that they had no connection with others, and that they have nothing to do with any ideology or religion. Invariably we are also told that they were mentally ill. Invariably we are told that Western culture in some way was the cause of such attacks.

 Yet even in these early stages, we can see how the leftist media will be operating: they will put this attack down to right wing views, to Christianity, to anti-immigration groups, to the conservative alternative media, and so on. It will be open season on anyone and anything even remotely resembling a conservative, a Christian, or those who have expressed legitimate concern about border policies, unchecked multiculturalism, stealth jihad and the like.

 Already I have heard journalists at New Zealand press conferences asking, “Have we been paying too much attention to Muslim terrorism?” Incredible. Anywhere from 200 to 600 million people have been murdered in the past 1400 years in the name of Islam.

 So now we get an evil fool doing this at some mosques, and we are now just supposed to forget all about the other terrorism, and pretend that Islam is a religion of peace? Yes non-Muslims can and do commit acts of horrible violence and terror, but not even bloodthirsty ideologies like godless communism came close to killing as many people in terms of sheer numbers.

 Again, the media, most political leaders and most experts are already speaking of how Muslims are living in fear, and are talking as if they experience such fear every day. Um, they have NOT been the main victims of terrorism acts. They have been the main perpetrators.

 And as mentioned the blame game is already happening. As just one example, one social media post said this was directly due to the words and policies of people like Pauline Hanson and Fraser Anning. Already we have talk about stricter gun control. Already we have those wanting to clamp down further on conservative sites, and so on.

 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already referred to the assailant as “an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.” Already there are those who are speaking of Christians and conservatives and white supremacists, etc., and how they are part of the blame here. Never mind that it seems that on Brenton Tarrant’s social media pages he spoke of being into paganism and Odin worship, etc.

 One person on the social media has reminded us how a tragedy like the 1933 Reichstag Fire in Germany helped prepare the way for the Nazis to consolidate their power even further. The arson attack happened four weeks after Hitler was sworn in as the German Chancellor, and he swiftly used it to clamp down on his ideological foes.

 Sadly we have enough examples of this happening with the left whenever something like this happens. They are ever ready to demonise their political opponents and become opportunists to push their agendas. Watch for more of it to happen in this case. And in the meantime, most folks will continue to wonder why we seem to have so many double standards here.

 For example, we have just learned on the media that one apparent Muslim terrorist who had planned to bomb an entire plane might be given a free pass: “An Australian-Lebanese man in custody on terrorism charges in Lebanon will be freed on bail this week, after the Australian Government agreed to hand over crucial documents. Amer Khayat, 41, is accused of plotting to blow up an Etihad plane on a flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi in July 2017 using two bombs — one hidden in a meat grinder and another hidden in a Barbie doll.”

 All such killing and attempted killing must be fully and soundly condemned. But the actual historical record here is all one-way traffic. Most acts of terrorism conducted around the world are Islamic attacks. Since 9/11 alone there have been nearly 35,000 deadly Islamic terror attacks. These hard truths also need to be kept in mind as we mourn with our overseas neighbors.

 I close where I began. We need to keep in prayer all those so terribly impacted by all this. No person should have to experience this sort of horror. I for one will pray for the victims and their families, and I hope you will join in with me.