Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Arc of History

You have heard the quote from Martin Luther King, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice".  When he used it, he put it in quotes.  It  had been used by many people, but originated in a longer form by Theodore Parker, an abolitionist.  That might have made sense originally at the time of the Civil War, but after World War II and the rise of totalitarian governments, I would say the moral arc of the universe is bending towards Totalitarianism.  Here is a description of Totalitarianism:  "Totalitarianism is a ... mode of government that prohibits opposition parties, restricts individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life."

You can see that Hitler and Stalin traditionally fit this role, but when you think of the mind control practiced by radical Islam and its practice of killing all opposition, I think it is fair to put radical Islam in the same category as Stalinist Marxism: another totalitarian form of government.  Both the radical Islamists, like ISIS, and the Stalinist Marxists believe history is on their side and their victory is inevitable.

Here is a quote from the forward to Rise of Isis by Jay Sekulow:  "the Enlightenment dream of inevitable human progress grounded in the claim that we are all born free and equal in dignity and rights premised on hope that the arc of history bends toward justice, is now in tatters. This outcome fundamentally challenges Americans’ endless pursuit of individualism and tolerance. Readers of this book will discover that in our postmodern era, certain things are indeed intolerable. The failure to face the facts richly addressed by the authors of The Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore, exposes democratic nations to the rising danger that they—perhaps misled by the persistent fecklessness of the United Nations and other institutions, which refuse to recognize the obvious threat to Western civilization posed by radical Islamist jihadists—will capitulate to the prospect of appeasement, disaster and death."

The quote is from Harry G. Hutchison, J.D., law professor at Regent University.  I agree with Professor Hutchison.  Based on my observations, the arc of history bends towards Totalitarianism.

I think Ronald Reagan said this in a number of speeches:  "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."

The arc of history might bend towards Totalitarianism, but we can stay free in America if we are vigilant.  However, how safe can we be if too much of the world ruled by totalitarian governments dedicated to destroying our liberties?

Robert

The Reagan speech was "Encroaching Control," March 30, 1961.  It was an address to the annual meeting of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDouNtnR_IA
You can access the entire forward written by  Professor Hutchison at this website: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2498269

Friday, January 4, 2019

Qualities for a President to Have

A college professor devised a list of qualities for assessing the effectiveness of U.S. Presidents:
  1. Public communication
  2. Organizational capacity
  3. Political skill
  4. Vision
  5. Cognitive style
  6. Emotional intelligence
Professor Fred I. Greenstein  mentioned these in his book, The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to Barack Obama, 3rd Edition.  Of these he said emotional intelligence was the most important quality.  Dr. Greenstein said emotional intelligence could be measured by “the president’s ability to manage his emotions and turn them to constructive purposes, rather than being dominated by them and allowing them to diminish his leadership.” [1]

President Eisenhower was disparaged by the U.S. press, but Dr. Greenstein studied him and discovered he was very effective as a president.  You can read the professor's obituary [1] to hear more about Eisenhower.  That is quicker than reading his book, The Hidden-Hand Presidency: Eisenhower as Leader.

You can also learn a lot about Eisenhower by reading the book Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower's Final Mission by Bret Baier.  Besides describing how Eisenhower conducted business in the White House, the book gives nice, succinct biography of Eisenhower.

Encouraging good leadership is a key part of the Texas Ascendancy Campaign.  You can read related articles about leadership here:  Summary of Leadership Articles.  Our country desperately needs better leadership, and this need has been with us for years.  I started this Texas Ascendant blog back in 2008 after the financial crash of 2008 with better leadership as a primary goal of this effort.

From an individual perspective, the qualities for assessing the effectiveness of U.S. Presidents gives us ideas on qualities we might all want to include in our plans for personal growth.  From a larger perspective, as we seek to improve our pool of potential leaders we can consider this list in grooming and selecting our future leaders.

Robert

Reference
1. Obituary for Fred Greenstein: in the New York Times:  "Fred Greenstein, 88, Dies; Political ‘Psychologist’ Assessed Presidents"
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/14/obituaries/fred-greenstein-dead.html