New Prager University Video: Were the Middle Ages Dark?

The latest course from Prager University:

There is no period in history more misunderstood than the Middle Ages. Providence College Professor of English, Anthony Esolen, vividly demonstrates why the “Dark Ages” would be better described as the “Brilliant Ages.”

New Prager University Video: Separation of Church and State

The latest from Prager University:

“The Separation of Church and State.” Probably no phrase has had more impact on American history in the last fifty years than this one. Where did it come from? Who coined it? And, what does it mean? Distinguished law professor, John Eastman, has some surprising answers.

New Prager University Video – Did FDR End or Extend the Great Depression?

The latest from Prager University:

President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” has long been credited with rescuing the nation from the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Lee Ohanian, Professor of Economics at UCLA, challenges this conventional wisdom in a provocative examination of FDR’s economic policies.

New Prager University Video: The President Who Shrank Government

New from Prager University:

In terms of reducing the size of the Federal government, which 20th century President most advanced the cause? Most people today would probably answer, “Ronald Reagan.” Well, they would be wrong. In fact, it was a little-known President…one with a very “cool” name.


Calvin Coolidge was the single most effective politician in 20th century America at shrinking government and enlarging liberty and thus prosperity. Watch our newest free 5-minute video course to find out how he did it. With his famous Coolidgism, ““It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones,” Silent Cal was courageous, refusing in most instances to give handouts and subsidies, and rightly trusting that people left to their own devices were the best guarantors of wealth creation.

New Prager University Video: The Moral Case for the British Empire

Is there a moral case to be made for the British Empire? To even ask the question at your typical university would be to invite derision. That’s a shame because the British Empire’s legacy is one Western Civilization should be proud of. We’d be living in a much less free and prosperous world without it. Historian HW Crocker III explains why in this eye-opening Prager University course.

What Aren’t Your Kids Learning About America?

Conservative critics of left-wing bias in public education have noshortageofhorrorstoriesto make their point, such as Tanya Dixon-Neely, the North Carolina teacher who is keeping her job despite getting caught on tape in May berating a student for criticizing Barack Obama and telling the class they could get arrested for bad-mouthing their presidents.
But the more pervasive danger to future generations’ political understanding is subtler than outright indoctrination. Even when teachers aren’t out to push an agenda, social studies courses tend to take a superficial approach that may relay key historical events adequately, but provides only the most superficial understanding of the theories and values behind them, if at all.
Don’t believe me? Here are a few simple questions you can ask your kids to judge for yourself just how well served they’ve been in their Social Studies classes:
1.) Who was John Locke, and what did he contribute to the Founding? Despite dying seventy-two years before the Declaration of Independence, the great English philosopher could be thought of as the first Founder, since his writings established the natural right and social compact theories at the Declaration’s heart. Thomas Jefferson’s formulation that “ all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” and “that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” is basically the Cliff Notes version of Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government, which proposed consent as government’s only moral justification because nobody has a divine claim over anyone else, protecting individual rights as government’s just purpose, and developed a rational basis for objectively defining what is and is not a right.
2.) What is the significance of the Federalist Papers? Written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay to persuade the new nation to adopt the Constitution, there is no more authoritative guide to our government—and yet, to most students, it’s a footnote at best. They’re denied some of the Founders’ most important lessons, like Federalist 10on the dangers of faction (groups “ actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to…the permanent and aggregate interests of the community”), Federalist 45 on the difference between federal and state roles (“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite”), Federalist 51 on human nature’s implications for politics (“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary”), or the papers’ extensive analysis of the vital difference between direct democracy and the constitutional republic America was designed as. The Federalist Papers reveal that there’s careful thought and important purpose behind every aspect of our Constitution, yet the average high-schooler is likely to graduate with the impression that constitutional mechanics like the Electoral College, separation of powers, and bicameralism were either mere products of sectional compromise or the outdated fallacies of old, white elites.
3.) How did the Founders treat slavery? Conventional wisdom paints the Founders as simply hypocrites who proclaimed liberty for themselves while denying it to blacks. But while the stain of slavery on our history is real, our forefathers’ indifference on the subject is not. Slaveholders held enough power to keep the practice alive, but the Founders overwhelmingly opposed and condemned it. Consider the Three-Fifths Compromise. Everybody knows the constitutional provision that counts slaves as three-fifths of a whole person for purposes of apportioning House seats, but how many know that it was the slaveholders who wanted their slaves to be counted fully, so they could reap the benefits of additional Congressmen who would vote with pro-slavery interests, like the preservation of slavery, fugitive slave laws, and support for slavery in the territories? By counting them as three-fifths, the framers of the Constitution gave slave states lessinfluence over Congress than counting slaves fully would have, without completely alienating their willingness to ratify the Constitution. In fact, the compromise actually gave states an incentive to free their slaves: if their slaves became free men, they’d get more representatives.
Public schools may teach kids the whos, whats, wheres, and whens of American history and politics, but not the whys—an inexcusable inadequacy that denies them what they need most to become civic-minded adults, and demands much greater attention in America’s education debate.

The Historical Malpractice of Equating Gay Marriage and Interracial Marriage

All liberal rhetoric has two basic goals: pander to some class-, sex-, or race-based voting bloc, and defame whoever disagrees with liberals. Nowhere is this more evident than in the same-sex marriage debate.

Perhaps in response to African-American pastors’ backlash against President Barack Obama’s endorsement of redefining marriage, the Left has resurrected the argument that opposing same-sex marriage is no different than forbidding interracial marriage, making today’s conservatives no better than yesterday’s racists. Today we remember with shame our ancestors who senselessly kept white and black lovers apart, the argument goes; how are those trying to prevent gay marriage any better?

It’s a powerful question—to those who don’t know anything about either the marriage debate or the history of anti-miscegenation (interracial marriage) laws. Fortunately, a little knowledge is more than enough to expose this attack for the cheap demagoguery it is.

For starters, race is a superficial characteristic having nothing to do with marriage’s meaning, while gender has everything to do with it. Men and women uniquely complement one another both as lovers and as parents, because theirs is the only pairing that naturally creates children and gives children what they need for a well-rounded upbringing. Children need role models of both genders in order to understand themselves and relate to the opposite sex. They need one parent to reinforce their sex’s strengths and another to temper its weaknesses. They need a mother’s disposition to nurture and a father’s emphasis on discipline. Numerous studies confirm this. Moms and dads come in all skin colors, but only women can be mothers, and only men fathers, which gives traditional marriage a clear rationale: binding together naturally procreative couples for the sake of their potential children.

Conversely, anti-miscegenation wasn’t motivated at all by substantive concerns about marriage’s function; it was merely one front in a much broader campaign to keep the black population oppressed and the white gene pool pure.

Marriage defenders’ motives couldn’t possibly be further from those of segregationists, and neither could the impact of their policies on the group in question. Defining marriage as a man-woman union simply means the state won’t issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That’s it. No prohibition whatsoever on cohabitation, sex, benefits (which can be addressed without redefining marriage), contracts, or even wedding ceremonies. The central motivation of marriage redefiners isn’t to correct a tangible injustice, but to win government endorsement for gay relationships—in other words, they’re driven by the subjective value they place in marriage’s symbolism.

The effects of the anti-miscegenation laws that once plagued interracial couples, on the other hand, were all too tangible. While some states simply denied their relationships formal recognition but otherwise left them alone, many criminalized—and punished—cohabitation, sex, and the performing of wedding ceremonies between whites and non-whites. Indeed, consider the incident that sparked Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 Supreme Court decision that struck down anti-miscegenation. Richard and Mildred Loving married in the District of Columbia, moved to Virginia, and were indicted. The judge gave them a choice: spend a year in prison, or get out of Virginia.

Jail time? Forced eviction from a state? Where in any of the thirty-eight states that reject same-sex marriage do gay couples face anything of the kind?
The comparison between same-sex and interracial marriage is historical malpractice of the worst order, a malicious lie that not only derails an important cultural conversation but also insults those who faced true bigotry in this country. This superficially clever smear might be a hit among clueless college kids receptive to whatever boosts their own sense of superiority, but liberals may see it backfire among voters with longer memories.

Around the Web

Your daily does of Remedial History, Religion Edition: “Four Myths about the Crusades.”

It seems Canada’s got its own counterpart to the great Lila Rose, seen here debating the role of graphic abortion images in public use. I’ve got mixed feelings on the subject – on the one hand, the local pro-life activism I’ve been involved with hasn’t used such images because we figure that level of shock isn’t the best way to introduce ourselves to strangers who didn’t ask to be made sick just for, say, crossing the street or visiting a county fair. On the other hand, I absolutely think they serve an important role: pro-aborts shouldn’t be able to hold or defend their position without being made to confront its true horror.

I first lost respect for noted character assassin Rob Taylor when he smeared Robert Stacy McCain as a rape apologist by taking Stacy’s admittedly ill-considered quote “you buy the ticket, you take the ride” out of context and put a wildly-hostile spin on Stacy’s intentions. So imagine my amusement when I read this debate on the Casey Anthony case, in which Taylor – based on the standards of fair interpretation he himself has established – suggests the Duke Lacrosse players deserved to be falsely accused of rape and smeared as racist predators, simply because they engaged in other sleazy behavior. Put a fork in this guy, his credibility’s done.

San FranSicko’s war on crisis pregnancy centers heats up, with a new law against false advertising (which will be very fairly interpreted, I’m sure) and an asinine lawsuit against a crisis pregnancy center for false advertising because….their name pops up when you Google “abortion.” All in favor of either kicking California out of the country or revoking their statehood…..

Brian Stewart talks defense spending at the Corner. Funny how the only area liberals are willing to cut is the one that actually is the federal government’s constitutional business, isn’t it?

At the Risk of Ticking Off Some of My Fellow Right-Wingers…

…check out this quote from Abraham Lincoln, which encapsulates a tendency among libertarian/paleocon circles that I’ve always found off base:

What is the particular sacredness of a State? I speak not of that position which is given to a State in and by the Constitution of the United States, for that all of us agree to—we abide by; but that position assumed, that a State can carry with it out of the Union that which it holds in sacredness by virtue of its connection with the Union. I am speaking of that assumed right of a State, as a primary principle, that the Constitution should rule all that is less than itself, and ruin all that is bigger than itself. But, I ask, wherein does consist that right? If a State, in one instance, and a county in another, should be equal in extent of territory, and equal in the number of people, wherein is that State any better than the county? Can a change of name change the right? By what principle of original right is it that one-fiftieth or one-ninetieth of a great nation, by calling themselves a State, have the right to break up and ruin that nation as a matter of original principle? Now, I ask the question—I am not deciding anything—and with the request that you will think somewhat upon that subject and decide for yourselves, if you choose, when you get ready,—where is the mysterious, original right, from principle, for a certain district of country with inhabitants, by merely being called a State, to play tyrant over all its own citizens, and deny the authority of everything greater than itself.

New on NewsReal – Top 10 Parts of the Constitution Twisted or Ignored by the Left

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

The United States Constitution is one of the most well thought-out works ever created by mere mortals. As the Federalist Papers make clear, America’s Founding Fathers carefully considered nearly every aspect of human nature, the demands of freedom, and the nature of government when drafting it, and created a system of government designed to effectively carry out its duties without imperiling liberty, and calibrated to properly balance society’s competing commitments to self-rule and objective morality, to liberty and security, and more. Under the Constitution, the United States became the freest, most prosperous, and most consequential nation in history.

But to the Left, this magnificent document is at best a relic of a bygone era which has outlived its usefulness; at worst the product of long-dead, bigoted elites. Philosophically, they have inherited President Woodrow Wilson’s view that the Constitution was based on a theory of government mankind has since evolved past:

The makers of our federal Constitution followed the scheme as they found it expounded in Montesquieu, followed it with genuine scientific enthusiasm. The admirable expositions of the Federalist read like thoughtful applications of Montesquieu to the political needs and circumstances of America. They are full of the theory of checks and balances. The President is balanced off against Congress, Congress against the President, and each against the courts. Our statesmen of the earlier generations quoted in no one so often as Montesquieu, and they quoted him always as a scientific standard in the field of politics. Politics is turned into mechanics under his touch. The theory of gravitation is supreme.

The trouble with the theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton. It is modified by its environment, necessitated by its tasks, shaped to its functions by the sheer pressure of life. No living thing can have its organs offset against each other as checks, and live. On the contrary, its life is dependent upon their quick cooperation, their ready response to the commands of instinct or intelligence, their amicable community of purpose. Government is not a body of blind forces; it is body of men, with highly differentiated functions, no doubt, in our modern day of specialization, but with a common task and purpose. Their cooperation is indispensable, their warfare fatal. There can be no successful government without leadership or without the intimate, almost instinctive, coordination of the organs of life and action. This is not theory, but fact, and displays its force as fact, whatever theories may be thrown across its track. Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and in practice.

Fortunately, the definitions and prescriptions of our constitutional law, though conceived in the Newtonian spirit and upon the Newtonian principle, are sufficiently broad and elastic to allow for the play of life and circumstance.

Accordingly, the needs of their agenda dictate a variety of approaches to the Constitution, depending on the issue. When America needs to be reminded of its irredeemably-evil history, the Constitution is an abomination. When a certain passage seems useful out of context, it becomes an example of the Founders’ wisdom (and pay no attention to that history book behind the curtain). And when a passage seems to get in the way, it’s time to break out the historical relativism.

No more. This weekend, we’re highlighting ten of the most distorted or ignored passages in the Constitution, listed in the order in which they appear in the text. Let’s get started.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.