30 November 2009

Happy Birthday Mr.Twain

Some of my favorite quotes from the Sage of the South:

"Don't let schooling interfere with your education."

"Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper."

"All generalizations are false, including this one. "

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured."

"In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards."

"It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."

An interesting piece commemorating Twain's birthday may be read here at The American Thinker.

Post coming soon . . . Pot & Kettle Critics

26 November 2009

"Best Of " Thanksgiving Post

Both state and federal governments in the United States ought to take a very simple lesson from America's first failed experiment with socialism.

The Pilgrims are generally credited with starting the Thanksgiving tradition (actually, the first Thanksgiving was in Virginia). What many people forget to attribute to them, however, are business and political practices that would've set America's future on a much different path. America, in fact, would be a very different place today, if not for the actions of one brave man.

It is common knowledge that the Pilgrims settled in America in 1620 for religious freedom. Driven by a desire to worship their Creator free from the decrees of mother England, they risked all they owned to establish a colony at Plymouth and further of the gospel of Jesus Christ. William Bradford left no doubt as to the Pilgrims' intentions:

"…they cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good foundations, or at least of making some way towards it, for the propagation and advance of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world, even though they should be but stepping stones to others in the performance of so great a work."

Bradford was born in the small English village of Austerfield in 1590. His parents died when Bradford was a young child. Bradford's grandparents, along with some uncles, raised the young orphan and taught him the trade of "husbandry." William was a sickly boy and, in addition to studying history, philosophy, theology, Latin, Greek and Hebrew, the young lad looked to the Scriptures for comfort. Bradford embraced Christ and, as he grew, he increasingly came under the influence of the Separatists. Despite the disapproval of his family, Bradford fully accepted their beliefs. He united with the Separatists and, due to the persecution in England; he fled with the sect to Amsterdam in 1608. It was from Amsterdam, at the age of 30, that Bradford and the Pilgrims decided to strike out for the New World.

The Pilgrims knew that the new Colony would need a means of support—an economy. King James I of England also knew this. As the late and renowned free-market economist Kirk Russell noted:

"When the Pilgrim leaders sought from the king of England, James I, his permission to settle in America, James asked his chief secretary, 'What profit might arise in the part they intend?' 'Fishing,' the secretary replied. 'So God have my soul,' declared King James, 'tis an honest trade. 'Twas the Apostles' own calling.'"

So the Pilgrims' plans were to catch fish, dry them, and ship them back to England—hopefully at a profit. This group of highly intelligent and highly motivated men presented their plans to a group of British merchants known as The Virginia Company. The Pilgrims were able to secure from these merchants an investment of 7,000 English pounds—a large sum of money in those days. With this money, the Pilgrims were able to purchase supplies, seed for crops, tools, and also hire a ship to carry them across the Atlantic—the Mayflower.

On December 16, 1620, the tiny ship loaded with "tools and weapons, a stock of dried and salted foods, a few goats, pigs, and chickens" landed at Plymouth Rock. Their hardy Christian faith and work ethic enabled them to hang on with tenacity, despite battles with the elements and Indians. The Pilgrims also experienced the devastating "Starving Time" when half of them perished from malnutrition, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. This time of want was due primarily to their unbiblical economic system.

For the first two years of the settlement, the colonists labored under an economic system that they called, "The Common Course and Condition." This was a primitive and simple form of socialism. The family households commonly shared whatever products they could produce. If one family worked diligently, rising early, working hard until sundown, and produced a bumper crop, while his neighbor lay in bed until noon and produced little, they shared equally the sum of both. There was no incentive to work hard and apply one's God-given talents and abilities. This system produced consistent shortages. There was never enough food for everyone. It also produced squabbles among the colonists. There was resentment and envy—predictable results in socialist economies. Fortunately, the colonists had elected a young, but wise and godly governor for the colony—William Bradford. In 1623, Bradford recognized the failure the "Common Course." Bradford would later write that this failed economic system "was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment."

Bradford had a better plan. Each family would be given a piece of land based on the size of their family. Larger families received larger tracts. Each household was allowed to grow corn for their own families and to do with it what they wished. The results were phenomenal.

"This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use."

While under the original system, the women of the colony had complained that they were "oppressed." The Pilgrims experience proved that a biblically based economic system could provide liberty and a "family-friendly" means of production: "The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn." Bradford had recognized that "the primary agency of economic planning is the family, as the primary owner of property." Bradford realized that the family and ownership of the means of production were an unbeatable economic formula. This recognition caused the economy of the fledgling settlement to flourish and when 60 more settlers arrived in 1623, there was more than enough food for them as well. And despite continued challenges from Indians, pirates, and sometimes harsh weather conditions, the little colony prospered as God blessed their steadfast faithfulness.

Bradford's unwavering faith in God amazed even the Indians. During one particularly dry season, the colonists had no other option but to pray for rain. Bradford would later write how God abundantly answered that prayer:

"The rains came, without wind, or thunder or any violence and by abundant degrees it wetted the earth and soaked the crops. Within a quick period of time, the decayed corn and other fruits began to wonderfully revive. Even the Indians were astonished to behold the transformation. And afterwards all through the hot summer months, God sent seasonable showers. Through God's blessings, He caused a fruitful and liberal harvest to our comfort and rejoicing."

A group of Puritans would also establish a colony in Salem in 1630 and the economic foundations laid by these two groups would eventually make America the financial powerhouse it is today.

William Bradford went to be with his Savior on May 9, 1657 at the age of 68. The lessons Bradford and the Pilgrims have taught us have allowed them to become "stepping stones to others in the performance of so great a work" and made America the primary source of funding for missionary endeavors around the world. It is a lesson our nation so desperately needs to revisit.

**With the current administration's (and Congress's) obsession with socialism and Mao, the lesson here is even more appropriate today.

25 November 2009

Thanksgiving & Upcoming Posts

I want to wish all my readers a blessed Thanksgiving. Tomorrow I will post a "best of Old Virginia Blog" due to the holiday. And, some time over the holiday weekend, I will post some thoughts in response to Professor Brooks Simpson's comments (and what I see as inconsistencies both in his post and some of the comments that followed) at Civil Warriors over an exchange we had a couple of weeks ago.

Most Americans Disagree With The Elites

Not that I'm surprised . . .

"Sixty-three percent (63%) of U.S. voters say political correctness prevented the military from responding to warning signs from Major Nidal Malik Hasan that could have prevented the Fort Hood shootings from taking place."

Story here.

24 November 2009

The Coming Storm?

"Rather than finding common ground and forging alliances, Baby boomer culture warriors upped the ante. The extreme wings of the Democratic and Republican parties gained control of the dialogue. Neo-conservatism has dominated the thinking in the Republican Party while ultra-liberals have dominated the Democratic Party. The culture has deteriorated, with the media perpetuating a nihilistic, selfish, materialistic attitude among the citizens. TV and movies have portrayed lives of the dregs and lowlifes of society as desirable and normal. The lives of washed up rock stars, drugged out TV personalities, vapid housewives, and brainless house flippers passes for entertainment in today’s society. Getting rich by any means necessary has been glorified . . . The nation and its people are now destined to experience a terrible winter on par with the Civil War and World War II, with no safety net."

This is an extremely interesting--and sobering--article. Of course, I don't necessarily agree with everything the author has written, but I still highly recommend you read it. Don't pre-judge it by the introduction.

23 November 2009

Museum Of The Confederacy Christmas E-Card

I sent this one to myself. ;o)

You too can spread some Confederate Christmas cheer. Click here. Merry Christmas y'all.

How Far Will Some Academics Go?

Just how far will some academics go to push their agenda? Apparently, pretty far.

". . . the emails seem to indicate scientists modified data to fit the anthropogenic global warming theory, tried to silence dissenting opinions and reflect a concerted effort to restrict access to climate data possibly by deleting it."

More here.

I wonder if they recommend jail for those who dissent?

"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry." ~ Thomas Paine


And this from the WSJ:

"Yet even a partial review of the emails is highly illuminating. In them, scientists appear to urge each other to present a "unified" view on the theory of man-made climate change while discussing the importance of the "common cause"; to advise each other on how to smooth over data so as not to compromise the favored hypothesis; to discuss ways to keep opposing views out of leading journals; and to give tips on how to "hide the decline" of temperature in certain inconvenient data." (More here.)

"Unified view", "Favored hypothesis", "Keep opposing views out", . . . Hmmm . . . my, my that does sound familiar, doesn't it? Is this problem systemic in academia or limited to the discipline of "political" science? Just asking.

20 November 2009

14th Annual Civil War Seminar - Liberty University

March 26-28, 2010

Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr.
Key Note Address

Kent Masterson Brown
John Hunt Morgan

Scott Patchan
Phillip Sheridan: The Man Behind the Myth

Dr. Brian Wills
Nathan Bedford Forrest

Eric J. Wittenberg
Custer and the Calvary Actions at Gettysburg

Jeffrey Wert
JEB Stuart

Horace Mewborn
John Mosby

Clark Hall
The Battle of Brandy Station

Dr. Brenda Ayres
Flora: Mrs. J.E.B. Stuart

Steven Alexander
George Custer During the Latter Part of the Civil War

Delanie Stephenson
Libbie Custer: In the
Shadow of Her Husband

Rev. Alan Farley
Period Church Service (Sunday, March 28, 2009)

More details here.

A Judeo-Christian Nation - What A Miracle

Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes

19 November 2009

Celebrating America & My Ancestors

And Happy Birthday to my Scots-Irish, Monacan Indian bride.

15 November 2009

Political Correctness Is A Fact - *UPDATED*

Why are some academics so defensive about political correctness? Methinks they protest too much. Dave Barry says they are "intellectually constipated." Perfect.

*Regarding this issue, one of the things that is becoming increasingly clear is the fact "professional" historians don't like the fact that amateurs now have a forum (the blogosphere and more publishing opportunities) to publicly discuss historical perspective, challenge interpretation, and that even an amateur historian can point out mistakes made by the professionals. They fear the walls of their ivory towers have been breached. Some have even suggested those who disagree with their interpretations should be charged criminally. You would have expected those in academia who claim to be the guarantors of free expression and thought to have severely chastized someone who even suggested such a thing. The response was, however, extremely muted. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised.

The fact that some historians don't like the phrase "political correctness" (and even poo-poo the very concept--which is, based on the mountain of evidence, rather embarrassing), is further evidence that they don't like to be challenged. I believe their "concern" over the PC charge is because they are either complicit in the suppression of views and opinions which challenge academia's "official" interpretation of historical facts or, they fear speaking out on the issue in any meaningful way. What might their peers think? Of course, some have actually bought into the whole notion of politically correct history. Also, the PC mentality is often couched and subtle; giving the person plausible deniability.

When reading some of the comments made by the PC deniers, there is always an aroma of condescension directed toward the amateur or non-academic who would dare challenge the views of academia. Reacting to a challenge, the academic is always quick to point out the fact the challenger is a "non-academic" on "non-professional" as though their self-erected pedestal should shield them from having their views challenged and that someone who is not a professional should even be given any credibility. I don't believe they have any idea how condescending and utterly ridiculous such a notion is. I can't help but be reminded of Hans Christian Andersen's The Emperor's New Clothes. Most readers will recall that the story centers around two weavers who promise the Emperor a new suit of clothes that only the "wise" will be able to see. The new suit would be invisible to the "unfit" and those who are "just hopelessly stupid." Sound familiar? But when the emperor first appears in public, it takes a child to have the courage to shout: "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" Arrogance and fear are blinding vices.

Knowledge does not necessarily impart wisdom. Reading, studying, and researching history and applying common sense and life experience to come to an interpretation is not rocket science, though that is what some would want us to believe.

12 November 2009

Lt. Colonel Allen B. West On Political Correctness

Retired Lt. Colonel Allen B. West has written a thought provoking piece about the tragedy at Fort Hood and the connection to political correctness.

"There may be those who feel threatened by my words and would even recommend they not be uttered. To those individuals I say step aside because now is not the time for cowardice. Our Country has become so paralyzed by political correctness that we have allowed a vile and determined enemy to breach what should be the safest place in America, an Army post. We have become so politically correct that our media is more concerned about the stress of the shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan. The misplaced benevolence intending to portray him as a victim is despicable. The fact that there are some who have now created an entire new classification called; “pre-virtual vicarious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)” is unconscionable."

You can read the rest of Lt. Colonel West's comments here.

Lt. Colonel West is a native Southerner and the same man who was reprimanded and fined for firing his pistol near a terrorist's head in order to get him to reveal information that ultimately saved the lives of men under West's command. He retired after the incident. He is an old-school American patriot and a hero who loves his country. If I had a son serving in the military, I'd want him under the command of a man like West. He was defeated in a run for Congress in 2008, but is running again in 2010. I predict he will win. I'm also predicting he will become a national figure. I'm supporting his candidacy and hope my readers will as well. He has a blog.

11 November 2009

Did Political Correctness Kill Our Soldiers?

Some bloggers and historians mock the notion of political correctness and even deny it's a legitimate issue. Those doing so are either ignorant or sycophants for leftist ideology; using their "expertise" to hide their agenda. Regardless, one should dismiss their "expertise" on any matters involving history and culture as they have no credibility.

Now, an increasing number of commentators, journalists, politicians, and others are speaking out on the recent Fort Hood massacre and how a "PC" mentality very likely contributed to the needless death of our soldiers. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., called this attack possibly "the most destructive terrorist act to be committed on American soil since 9/11." Ignoring what led up to this is, in my mind, criminal:

"A classmate of Hasan, meanwhile, told FoxNews.com that the warning signs were all there — the justification of homicide bombings; spewing anti-American hatred; efforts to reach out to Al Qaeda — but that the military treated Hasan with kid gloves, even after giving him a poor performance review."

And . . .

"There were definitely clear indications that Hasan's loyalties were not with America," Lt. Col. Val Finnell, Hasan's classmate at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. He and Hasan were students in the school's public health master's degree program from 2007-2008."

And . . .

"The issue here is that there's a political correctness climate in the military. They don't want to say anything because it would be considered questioning somebody's religious belief, or they're afraid of an equal opportunity lawsuit."

Read the infuriating details here.

And here. And here. And here.

A very sad state of affairs on this Veterans Day, 2011. Thanks to my stepson, my stepfather, my grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and all who went before them--and with them--all the way back to America's War for Independence and who fought and sacrificed for our Nation and the liberty we enjoy today. God bless their memory.

10 November 2009

2010 Stephen Dill Lee Institute

The Sons of Confederate Veterans has announced their lineup for the 2010 Stephen Dill Lee Institute which will be held at the Music City Sheraton Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. They've lined quite a roster of WBTS scholars to include:

Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo
Thomas Cartwright (Former Director of the historic Carter House in Franklin, Tennessee)
Kent Masterson Brown
Dr. Donald Livingston
Dr. Brion McClanahan
Dr. W. Kirk Wood

The lineup should make for an interesting seminar. Details here.

07 November 2009

Historians Don't Learn From Their Own Discipline

“A free economy will not break down. All depressions are caused by government interference and the cure that is always offered . . . is more of the same poisons that caused the disasters.” ~ Ayn Rand

Of course, Rand was speaking in the wake of the Great Depression. After the market crash, government sprung into action to save the day. The government raised the top tax rate from 25% to 63%, then to 79% and then to 94% and choked off capital formation – the lifeblood of CAPITALism – you see, it is right there in the name. The Government also allowed the money supply to shrink by 1/3rd and spread the Depression around the globe by cutting off trade. That turned a significant recession into the Great Depression. Not so, according to FDR. Roosevelt thundered that ‘The rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence . . . Practices of the unscrupulous money-changers stand indicted . . . in the hearts and minds of men …’ So what was FDR’s answer? The same poison that caused the disaster – government action.

Too bad many historians can't learn from what they spend all their time studying and teaching. That's what happens when you're driven by political ideology instead of facts.

06 November 2009

Moved By Texans

By now, most readers have heard about the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas (named after Confederate General John Bell Hood). Our prayers and thoughts go out to all the families of the brave soldiers who have been so cowardly gunned downed.

In 2007, in celebration of Robert E. Lee's 200th birthday, some Texans came all the way to Virginia to lay yellow roses at Lee's crypt at Lee Chapel in Lexington. I was there and snapped this photograph. Lee once saluted some Texas soldiers by raising his hat and shouthing, "Texans always move them!" Texans always held a special place of affection in the heart of General Lee. Today, as the Nation mourns the loss of our brave Texans at Fort Hood, they hold a special place in our hearts as well and we can say, as did Lee, "Texans always move them!" Their bravery in this sad affair has, once again, moved the hearts of Americans. Today, I return these yellow roses in their memory.

God Bless Texas.

(Click image to enlarge.)

05 November 2009

Site Recommendation

I have been friends with fellow Virginian John Taylor for some time now and we occasionally enjoy lunch together when he visits my neck of the woods. I'd like to recommend John's website for those who are interested in Virginia politics and government. The site is titled "Tertium Quids." The term is "Latin for third way or third entity." And John's organization "is composed of activists across Virginia whose loyalty and commitment are to the founding principles of our republic, rather than to party politics."

I think that philosophy is becoming increasingly cutting-edge in our Nation, with Virginia leading the way as she did at our Nation's founding. The term and philosophy has a long history in the United States dating back to the early 1800's in Pennsylvania and, more predominantly, in Virginia with John Randolph and Thomas Jefferson.

My hope is that this political philosophy will gain greater prominence with the new administration here in Virginia.

04 November 2009

What Say Ye Now Governor Kaine?

When Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Virginia since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Virginia Democrat Governor Tim Kaine went bottom-feeding and uttered one of the most divisive comments I've ever heard: "Ol Virginny is dead." Kaine, drunk on the Democrat's sweep of the state, just could not help himself in trashing the voters of Virginia who had traditionally taken a middle-of-the-road approach to politics--electing conservative and moderates from both parties and earning the reputation as one of the best governed states in the Union.

Was Kaine suggesting that just because Virginia had helped elect the Nation's first African-American President that it was a "new day" in the Old Dominion and that he could proclaim Virginia purged from her past sins of prejudice and slavery? Where was Governor Kaine when, 20 years prior to Obama's election, Virginia elected the grandson of slaves and the nation's first African-American Governor? Where was Governor Kaine when the Virginia Republican Party, in 1988, nominated Maurice Dawkins; the first African-American to run for a U.S. Senate seat since Reconstruction? Did Governor Kaine vote for Reverend Dawkins or, did Kaine support fellow Democrat Chuck Robb and did that mean that Kaine was, at that time, part of "Ol Virginny?" Was Governor Kaine suggesting that, prior to Barack Obama's election, the citizens who had voted him into office were backward and bigoted? What was he thinking?

And what will Governor Kaine have to say now that the Democrats in Virginia, under his leadership as Governor and DNC Chairman, have just had their heads handed to them on a platter? Is "Ol Virginny" alive again Governor? Or is it just possible that you have failed miserably both as a Governor and as DNC Chairman and that Virginians want to put some brakes on the unprecedented growth of government your party is promoting? Is it possible that Virginians voted for Barack Obama last year because they really were hopeful that his message of "hope and change" truly offered something different in American politics? And is it now possible that they're experiencing buyer's remorse as they witness President Obama dismantle our free enterprise system block by block and push his hard left, radical, divisive, socialist agenda? That's not what most Americans believed would be the "hope and change" the President promised during his campaign.

As this is being written, Democrats hold both of Virginia's U.S. Senate seats and the Governor's mansion. However, all three men won their seats campaigning as "moderate" to "conservative" Democrats. Virginia is anything but blue, as most of the pundits declared a year ago. And now, the most conservative Republican ticket in over a decade has swept all three of the Commonwealth's highest offices by margins not seen since the sixties.

Politicians come an go, the pendulum swings back and forth, and those who think they have a permanent grip on power are the ones who are most likely to watch it slip from their hands. That is the lesson of history and one which American politicians never seem to learn. Arrogancy is a blinding vice.

Last night's returns in Virginia & New Jersey should send a very strong message to the Democrats who now hold overwhelming power in Washington. The voters in these elections seem to be saying "You had your chance and you blew it." What happens from now until the 2010 elections should be great political theater. The voters will be watching.

02 November 2009

Election Eve In Virginia

Election Day Predictions: After the "experts" pronounced Virginia a "purple, going blue" state last year, the Old Dominion will return to her conservative roots tomorrow and the conservative party will sweep the state's three highest offices by double digits. Both Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli will be crowned rising stars within the Republican Party and within the surging conservative movement. Chris Matthews' tingle will change to a tinkle (and, appropriately, run in the opposite direction), current Virginia Governor & DNC Chairman, Tim Kaine, will suffer one of the most embarrassing defeats in the recent history of the Democratic Party, and President Obama will smoke more cigarettes (possibly with Virginia-grown tobacco) than usual. The Republicans will also pick up seats in the House of Delegates. I'll sip on some ice-cold apple cider (just a tad hard) and enjoy the show.

I'll have some post-election comments later.